Jacinda Ardern visits the offices of BlackRock

Please share this story - thanks

During her visit to the US prime minister Ardern took time out to visit the big city offices of BlackRock in New York.

BlackRock is an American multinational investment management corporation. Founded in 1988, initially as a risk management and fixed income institutional asset manager, BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with US$10 trillion in assets under management as of January 2022. BlackRock operates globally with 70 offices in 30 countries and clients in 100 countries.

The Global Head of BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship team of 31 specialists based in five key regions internationally is Kiwi Michelle Edkins. On her LinkedIn page she says her work includes engaging companies on how well they manage the significant environmental and social impacts of their businesses.

“In addition, I am an active participant in the public corporate governance debate and regularly speak and write on the importance of good stewardship for company performance,” she states. ” I am a member of BlackRock’s Global Operating, Human Capital and Government Relations Steering Committees. I am involved in a number of public and private initiatives in the field of corporate governance and stewardship.”

Edkins, now based in New York, went to Epsom Girls’ grammar school (1985-86) and then Otago University, from 1989 to 1991, to study economics.

BlackRock has sought to position itself as an industry leader in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). The company has faced criticism for worsening climate change, its close ties with the Federal Reserve System during the COVID-19 pandemic, anticompetitive behavior, and its unprecedented investments in China.

Due to its power, and the sheer size and scope of its financial assets and activities, BlackRock has been called the world’s largest shadow bank. In 2020, U.S. Representatives Katie Porter and Jesús “Chuy” García proposed a U.S. House bill aiming to restrain BlackRock and other so-called shadow banks. On March 4, 2021, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren suggested that BlackRock should be designated “too big to fail“.

BlackRock was scrutinized for allegedly taking advantage of its close ties with the Federal Reserve System during the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts. In June 2020, The New Republic wrote that BlackRock “was having a very good pandemic” and was casting “itself as socially responsible while contributing to the climate catastrophe, evading regulatory scrutiny, and angling to influence a Biden administration.”

Please share this story - thanks