The group is listed on the stock exchange and has a valuation of 914,000 million dollars and last year had an attributable profit of 5,286 million dollars.
The business with which BlacRock has grown the most in recent years is the sale of investment funds that replicate the evolution of indices (index funds), under the iShares brand. This type of product makes it possible to invest with very low fees. It is the world’s largest provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with more than 400 products and more than two trillion dollars of assets under management.
The second largest group in the asset management industry is Vanguard, which specialises exclusively in index funds (both conventional and exchange-traded funds). The firm manages $7.5 trillion (6.6 trillion euros). Its corporate structure is completely different from that of BlackRock.
Vanguard is not publicly traded. Its founder, John Bogle, wanted from the beginning to create a management company that would reduce investment costs as much as possible (hence its commitment to index funds) in order to universalise these services as much as possible. The company’s owners are its own funds so, indirectly, the fund’s shareholders are the owners of Vanguard.
The firm believes that this avoids conflicts of interest between owners who would like to grow even at the cost of harming small investors. Vanguard has hardly any advertising expenses and its management structure is much leaner than that of other firms.
The asset management podium is occupied by the world’s largest private banking giant, the Swiss bank UBS, with 3.7 trillion euros of assets under management. In this case, the figure includes both its mutual fund business and the money it manages from its clients’ portfolios through discretionary management contracts. It also has an important corporate banking business (advising large companies on debt issues, mergers and acquisitions, etc.) and a retail banking business in Switzerland.
The Frankfurt giant
The other European company that appears among the big ones is the German insurer Allianz, with 2.52 trillion euros in assets under management (7th position). The Washington-based company owns the fund manager Pimco (based in California, USA, and specialising in fixed income). If the business of its subsidiary is added, Allianz would be in third position, with 6.2 billion euros, very close to Vanguard.
The rest of the list is made up entirely of other U.S. fund managers. Like Fidelity Investments, a publicly traded company owned by the Johnson family. If the US company is added to the business in other countries (Fidelity International, an independent firm), the group would be close to four billion euros.
The firm State Street Global Advisors also appears, which owns the world’s largest exchange-traded fund, the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), which accumulates assets of almost 300,000 million dollars in a single vehicle.