BlackRock CEO: “At BlackRock we are forcing behaviors… you have to force behaviors”
It has been called the “fourth branch of government.” There’s a good chance you have never heard of BlackRock, the world’s most influential financial company with $9 trillion in assets under management as of June 2021. That’s more than the gross domestic product of every country in the world, except for the US and China.
BlackRock’s influence spreads far and wide. BlackRock has also invested billions of dollars in sustainable startups with a focus on climate change, green energy, and vehicle electrification. BlackRock chairman and CEO Larry Fink once wrote in his influential annual letter to CEOs that the company will not invest in companies that are not committed to climate change and social purposes.
Last year, 19 Attorneys General singled out BlackRock for its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) activism. “We do not . . . dictate to companies what specific emission targets they should meet or what type of political lobbying they should pursue,” the company responded in a letter dated August 4th. But Fink is known for “forcing ESG behavior on companies.” He once said that companies “have to force behavior.”
Fast forward three years later, Fink doubles down, adding again that companies “have to force behavior.” When asked during an interview about investment criteria for the firm, Fink responded, “The behavior is going to have to change…this is something we’re asking companies. You have to force behavior. At BlackRock, we are forcing behaviors.”
Responding to the comment, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Fink’s comment is concerning.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 5, 2023
BlackRock made headlines in 2021 after the company spent $6 billion to buy single-family homes and turn them into rental properties, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. In most cases, BlackRock even paid more money above the sellers’ asking price, killing the dream of homeownership for the middle class.
In just 33 years, BlackRock has grown from nothing to becoming the world’s largest and most trusted asset manager and the company that owns the world. The firm has also become an increasingly influential Wall Street player in Washington, DC, and a revolving door between finance and politics. Today, at least three of BlackRock’s leaders now hold prominent roles in President Joe Biden’s cabinet.
Given the company’s habit of forming shadow cabinets ahead of presidential transitions and its involvement in the new Federal reserve programs, Bloomberg went as far as calling BlackRock our “fourth branch of government.”
BlackRock was co-founded in 1988 by a very well-connected billionaire by the name of Larry Fink, who has been described as “a defacto middleman and lynchpin between Washington, DC, and Wall Street.” The firm operates globally with 70 offices in 30 countries and clients in 100 countries.
During the financial meltdown of 2008 when the government bailed out too-big-to-fail Wall Street giants like Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac – who did our government hire to perform a post-mortem analysis and clean up the mess? You guessed it, BlackRock. The firm was awarded key government contracts to help with the meltdown with no competitive bidding while being enveloped in secrecy.
In other words, Larry Fink was hired to be the manager of Washington’s bailout of Wall Street, even though BlackRock is one of the biggest shareholders in the same banks that they were helping to bail out.
In 2020, who did the money printer of the US, the Federal Reserve, hire to manage their scheme to buy corporate bonds? (Basically, they were bailing out corporations that had too much debt or needed to borrow money). You guessed it, they went right back to BlackRock. Even though again, the same corporations BlackRock was helping to bail out, were the same corporations they owned some of the biggest stakes in.
Our friend, Jake Tran, sums it up perfectly. Here is how he describes BlackRock founder;
“And yet, despite all his considerable power, the general public has practically never heard of Larry Fink. With BlackRock barely coming into the public eye during the recent claims that they’re buying up single-family homes. That’s because Larry is smart – he’s intentionally kept it that way He’s spent the last 33 years building BlackRock into the biggest asset manager in the world, with over $9 trillion dollars under their management.”
Today, BlackRock’s clients include the retirement accounts of average everyday people in the form of pension funds, they also have sovereign wealth funds as their clients, other central banks, college endowments, “Fortune 500 companies”, and millions of individual investors. BlackRock is also one of the top shareholders of many of the biggest tech stocks including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and even other major banks like Wells Fargo and Chase.
In 2019, people petitioned BlackRock for being among the top shareholders of oil and coal production and heavy pollution industries. However, that changed in 2020. As we reported back in February 2020, the firm made its push into Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing. BlackRock also created a foundation to advance a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
In the video below, Jake takes us through the journey of how the company started and how it becomes the most powerful company most members of the public probably never heard of.