03.14.2022

Larry Fink on Ukraine

03.14.2022

Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, said on LinkedIn:

I know I speak on behalf of everyone at BlackRock when I say how heartbreaking it’s been watching the unprovoked Russian attack on Ukraine. I’ve been speaking all week with clients, employees and regulators who are united in their grief and shock. One of my colleagues shared the devastating moment she said goodbye to a Ukrainian friend who has returned to defend his homeland, unsure if she will ever see him again. And I know the images of young children pressed against train windows escaping to safety will surely be etched in our memories for decades to come. We stand with the Ukrainian people and condemn the brutal aggression of the Russian government.

This is a horrific humanitarian tragedy, and BlackRock is doing what it can to provide support to our colleagues and their families directly impacted. BlackRock and its people have also rallied to provide financial assistance to Ukrainian refugees on the ground. While we do not have offices or operations in Russia or Ukraine, we are providing support to our employees across Europe who are affected by this invasion.

When the world emerged from the Cold War more than 30 years ago, Russia was given access to global capital markets. BlackRock never opened an office in Russia, but for clients who wanted exposure to the market, we invested in Russian securities.

The invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed Russia’s role in the world. Nations have united in imposing sanctions, which we strongly support. Global capital markets have gone even further. Capital is being pulled by investors and companies that have long done business in Russia. This demonstrates how the capital markets can work constructively to provide capital to those working within the system and quickly deny it to those who operate outside it.

At BlackRock on Monday, February 28, we suspended the purchase of all Russian securities in our active and index funds. We also have proactively advocated with our index providers to remove Russian securities from broad-based indices. Russian securities today account for less than 0.01% of our clients’ assets, mostly in our index portfolios. A number of our major index providers have since announced removal of Russian securities from their indices, which will begin to take effect next week.

The swift and coordinated response by governments, international institutions, regulators, global businesses, and investors has inhibited Russia’s ability to participate in and benefit from the global financial system.

This has been a highly complex and fluid situation, and BlackRock will continue actively consulting with regulators, index providers and other market participants to help ensure our clients can exit their positions in Russian securities, whenever and wherever regulatory and market conditions allow.

It’s my sincere hope that peace in Ukraine can be restored, and democracy and freedom can flourish in Europe once again.

Source: Larry Fink on LinkedIn

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