A Joint Venture With India’a Jio
BlackRock continues its aggressive worldwide expansion with the launch of a joint venture with Jio Financial Services of India. The two parties will, initially, commit $150 million apiece to their new platform, which will offer investment services.
According to a Financial Times report on Wednesday, BlackRock seeks to take advantage of the growing popularity of digital assets in India. An area of the market where BlackRock, which recently filed for approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF, has ambitions few other asset managers can match.
BlackRock and Jio’s Partnership
Jio’s owner is the tycoon and multibillionaire Mukesh Ambani. The firm may have been looking for a new partner since decoupling from another Ambani venture, Reliance Industries Conglomerate, the FT report suggests.
But whatever the motives on Jio’s side, the move cannot fail to impress many as the newest step in a plan of sweeping Asia-wide, and global, growth on the part of BlackRock.
Just this past Monday, news broke that BlackRock had made two high-level appointments to spearhead its expansion in China and Singapore.
Mandy Lui came aboard as head of Greater China Wealth, with a purview including Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as mainland China. Dennis Quag became head of Singapore Wealth. The appointments help consolidate a dominant global position, resting largely on an active presence in 36 countries and counting.
Is BlackRock Committed to Responsible Investing?
And, just last week, BlackRock announced that Saudi oil executive Amin Nasser was the newest addition to its board of directors.
As head of Saudi Aramco, Nasser wielded vast influence in an industry many credit with devastating much of the world’s natural environment.
Hence, numerous journals and websites offered up caustic commentary on his joining the board of a firm whose CEO, Larry Fink, supposedly champions socially conscious investing.
A headline in the journal Business Insider summarized the reactions of many: “BlackRock might not be ‘woke’ anymore after asset manager put an oil CEO on its board.”
The Business Insider story commented further:
“[BlackRock’s] decision to name Aramco CEO Amin Nasser to its board Monday provides further ammunition for those critics, signaling that the firm might not be as socially conscious as it says it is.”
This controversy, along with a recent history of scandals and legal troubles, may blunt whatever prestige BlackRock hopes to gain from the forging of its latest cross-border alliance.
And may also significantly complicate efforts to market its spot Bitcoin ETF if, as many expect, the asset manager gains approval from the SEC in coming weeks or months.
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