BlackRock Inc. is the world's largest money manager. The New York-based firm offers investment management, risk management and advisory services to institutional and retail clients. Its investment strategies span equity, fixed income, cash management, alternative investment and real estate. In addition, BlackRock provides market risk management, financial markets advisory and enterprise investment system services. The company recently bought Barclays Global Investors from Barclays PLC, creating a giant money-management firm by adding BGI's line of exchange-traded and actively managed funds. BlackRock also recently bought hedge-fund manager R3 Capital Management LCC.
Though the firm hasn't been immune to the crisis in the credit markets, it has managed to sidestep the subprime mortgage mess. While the firm recently has seen some executives depart, it has a strong bench of top managers.
Founder Laurence Fink is viewed by some as one of the best managers in the industry. The high regard in which the industry holds BlackRock was evidenced by the Fed's choosing BlackRock to manage the billions in loans related to the sale of Bear Stearns and American International Group Inc. assets. It is also one of the nine managers tapped by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to buy toxic securities from financial institutions as part of the Public-Private Investment Program. BlackRock started out as a unit of The Blackstone Group. Bank of America Corp. owns nearly half of its stock and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. owns a third.
The company, which began as a bond investment group, is overhauling the management of its fixed-income group as to help the firm adjust to the scale of its bond business in the wake of its acquisition of Barclays. The cornerstone of its BlackRock Solutions consulting business is a state-of-the-art multibillion-dollar computer system, a risk-management tool that can crunch detailed analyses of bank portfolios. The system enables pension funds and other institutions to assess how far a fund's positions stray from its benchmark index and other measures of risk. One recent smudge on the firm's reputation has been its money-losing investment in the Manhattan Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village housing complex in 2006. The Barclays integration has also created a good deal of stress on the organization, according to The Wall Street Journal.
CEO Larry Fink reportedly is a great Wall Street gossip, so be sure to bring some juicy tidbits to interviews. He's a lifelong Democrat and Street chatter says he could be the next Treasury secretary with his strong reputation and popularity in Washington. Along with Lew Ranieri at Salomon, he helped develop the debt-securitization market in the 1980s.
Speaking of gossip, some intel on co founder Peter Peterson: He was expelled from Massachusetts Institute of Technology for plagiarizing a paper. He eventually graduated from Northwestern University as a marketing major and worked as a department-store toy buyer before switching careers into research which eventually led him to help launch BlackRock.
The company's site says the firm tends to hire at the entry level and build from within.