2018 Annual Report

Better technology. Leading the digitization of asset management.

Asset management is a people business. Each day, people are generating investment insights, empathizing with clients to understand their needs and coming up with innovative solutions that meet those needs. However, when we combine the power of people with the power of technology, we amplify our ability to create better outcomes for clients and shareholders alike.

BlackRock has used technology to manage assets from the very first days of our business. We use it to power more sophisticated risk management, asset allocation and portfolio construction. We use it to interact with clients, partners and vendors more efficiently. And we are driving the digitization of our industry by developing new technology.

Aladdin is BlackRock’s homegrown operating system, connecting the information, people and technology needed to manage money in real time. The platform combines risk analytics with comprehensive portfolio management, trading and operations tools on a single platform to power informed decision-making, effective risk management, efficient trading and operational scale.

Aladdin fosters deeper conversations with clients about their assets and objectives and has helped both drive and support the growth of BlackRock’s asset management practice over time. We also sell Aladdin to institutional investment managers to provide them with the same comprehensive portfolio risk awareness and operational scale. For institutional clients looking for an easier way to manage their cash, we offer Cachematrix, which is also driving broader distribution opportunities for BlackRock’s cash strategies.

As the wealth management landscape evolves, wealth managers and financial advisors increasingly need technology to manage risk, allocate assets and construct portfolios for a broad range of individual investors.

BlackRock provides Aladdin Wealth, which brings Aladdin’s institutional-quality capabilities to wealth management firms and their financial advisors, enabling better portfolio construction decisions and risk management at scale. Beyond Aladdin Wealth, we continue to develop digital capabilities for financial advisors, like Advisor Center and iRetire®, in support of building better portfolios for individual investors.

By providing better technology for the wealth management industry, BlackRock is forging deeper relationships with more financial advisors than ever before, which will drive future asset management flows.

Our employees are using better technology to better serve our clients.
“I work with my clients to understand their strategic priorities and unique investment, operational and regulatory needs so I can be more than their technology provider; I can be their technology partner.

As clients’ investment books become more diversified, they are searching for more efficient ways to manage risks and exposures at both the portfolio and enterprise levels. I help clients make asset allocation decisions by providing them with better transparency into risk and reward tradeoffs.

Aladdin’s portfolio construction tools and multi-asset risk models map every security in a client’s portfolio to a risk factor, allowing clients to stress test their portfolios using historical and hypothetical market conditions. My work in Aladdin enables clients to make the most informed investment decisions.

Just as it does for BlackRock, Aladdin helps my clients simplify and scale their own business.”

- Alisha, Aladdin Relationship Manager

“The digital capabilities we are using on the US Wealth Advisory team at BlackRock are enabling us to have richer dialogues and build deeper connections with more financial advisors than we’ve ever been able to reach before.

We use Advisor Center to help advisors build sophisticated portfolios that they can easily explain to their individual clients. Our tools are powered by Aladdin analytics, enabling financial advisors to make better informed investment decisions and providing individuals with more access to institutional-quality risk managed portfolios.

And we’re creating a digital ecosystem that makes it easy for advisors to engage with whom they want at BlackRock, from specialists on model portfolios to factors, when they want. BlackRock is invested in the success of financial advisors because by helping more advisors build better portfolios, we are helping more end-investors build better futures.”

- Brett, US Wealth Advisory Sales Manager

“Aladdin is the foundation of BlackRock. As an engineer, I work to ensure Aladdin is constantly evolving with the technology landscape and fulfilling its mission of making investment information more transparent and actionable.

Many clients are looking to do more with Aladdin, including building their own applications and trading strategies on top of our platform using APIs. I’m building tools to help us better understand how clients are using APIs and to inform our API product roadmap, so we can enable our clients to do more.

Because BlackRock is also a user of Aladdin, our priorities are always aligned with those of our clients. We are bringing together the best ideas and ensuring that in the face of a rapidly changing landscape, Aladdin stays best-in-class and satisfies the needs of investors for years to come.”

- Abigail, Aladdin Product Engineer

BlackRock generated
$785 million in technology services revenue in 2018, representing an 11% CAGR over the last 5 years.
BlackRock has developed the most comprehensive investment and technology platform so we can build better portfolios that help more people build better futures.
Building better futures.
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Better choices.
Expanding client options.
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Letter to our shareholders

As I reflected on the last year, something felt different about 2018.

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