BlackRock: Here's what to know about the world's largest asset manager

BlackRock: Here's what to know about the world's largest asset manager

A sign for BlackRock Inc hangs above their building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018 | PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

The name BlackRock has been tossed around in Kenyan business circles in the last few days after the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor was quoted saying the American multinational investment firm BlackRock has invested in the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

The Business Daily quoted Dr Kamau Thugge as telling a bankers’ forum that the asset manager had identified Kenya among 10 countries globally with investment potential.

“The other day I met BlackRock Asset Managers. They came to my office and wanted to know how the economy was doing and said they had kept away from Africa for the last four years but now they had identified 10 countries globally where they think they can start investing,” Thugge was quoted as saying.

He said BlackRock has already started investing in NSE’s equities, which have seen increased activity since January after a low 2023.

This is after the firm, which is the world’s largest asset manager, kept off Africa for four years.


BlackRock provides investment and technology services to institutions and retailers globally.

On its website, the company says it manages money for institutional clients like corporate or public pension plans and provides investment solutions that help both professional and personal investors build long-term wealth.

“We make it possible for our clients and the people they serve to save for retirement, pay for college, buy homes, and start new businesses,” the company says.

At the end of last year, BlackRock managed $10 trillion of assets. For perspective, the firm manages assets worth more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of every country in the world, except the US and China.

Headquartered in New York City and with 70 offices in 30 countries, the firm offers a variety of funds and portfolios investing in equities, money markets, and fixed income.

BlackRock has been under the helm of billionaire businessman Larry Fink, who founded the company in 1988.

Its portfolio management software Aladdin handles trillions of dollars in assets and is used by the US’s largest public companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google's parent Alphabet.

A 2020 Financial Times report indicated that some $21.6 trillion on the platform at some point was from just a third of its 240 clients.

BlackRock is also known for acquiring a lot of legacy businesses and fintech start-ups in the finance sector, such as its $12 billion acquisition of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an American infrastructure investment fund dealing in energy, transport and water and waste sectors, in January this year.

The company said it is betting on the global spike in government infrastructure spending, especially on renewable energy.

In 2021, BlackRock acquired another US investment provider Aperio for $1.05 billion, following its 2019 acquisition of eFront, a French management software start-up, for $1.3 billion.

The NSE had yet to respond to Citizen Digital’s request for comment on the nature of BlackRock’s investment and when it began at the time of publication.

Thugge’s comments came just weeks after BlackRock said it was also eyeing India and Indonesia as two Asia-Pacific countries with investment opportunities.

The Reuters news agency quoted a senior official in the firm as saying that the two emerging market countries were advantageous due to their large populations. Still, they said India and Indonesia need to deepen their financial markets, including equity and currency.


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