The Reckless Growth of BlackRock and Other Asset Management Companies

Social Justice
Policy Brief #142 | By: Abigail Hunt | December 7, 2022

Header photo taken from: Carlo Allegri / Reuters

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For years, Blackrock has irked environmentalists with their business practices, negatively contributing towards the global climate crisis. Here, activists from Extinction Rebellion engage in a protest action to challenge BlackRock as a main player driving deforestation and climate change, outside BlackRock’s London offices in 2019.

Photo taken from: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images

Policy Summary

As of December 2021, BlackRock, an asset management company – and one of the “Big Three” global money managers along with Vanguard and State Street – had more than $10 trillion in assets under management. The company controls so much capital if it were a country its GDP would rival that of the wealthiest nations in the world. BlackRock describes itself as “a global investment manager and fiduciary” and a leading provider of financial technology.  

Founded in 1999, over the past quarter century, the company  has grown to 70 offices in 30 countries. On the BlackRock website, solicitation for their tax-loss harvesting service advises clients to try to save money on their tax bills. In fine print, it reads that as of June, 2022 was the third worst year for stocks and the worst year for bonds in almost a century (since 1926) and warns of risk factors associated with investment. The BlackRock website states 2022 is the second-worst year in history for 60/40 portfolios (60 percent investment in stocks, 40 percent in bonds).

In 2020, CNN Business reported the Big Three are the largest stakeholders in 88 percent of the S&P 500 companies per a study done by the American Economic Liberties Project (AELP). Fox News reports that in October 2022 when a British parliamentary committee asked the company to stop investing in big oil, BlackRock refused – stating that “engineering a specific climate outcome was not in their best interest” – e.g. they lose money if oil and gas loses money. Climate activists with banners, pitchforks, and rocks set up a protest in BlackRock’s New York office, resulting in 10 arrests and no change in BlackRock’s stance on climate issues or their daily operations.

Policy Analysis

BlackRock is a bloated money machine with too much influence. In addition to their disregard of the global climate crisis, Fox Business reports the company is inextricably intertwined with the Chinese Communist government; BlackRock funneled billions in American dollars to China, ignoring the fact that their capital investments prop up an entity responsible for widespread devastation in the form of oppression, abuse, and widespread human rights violations. 

When a single individual or entity has control over a service or industry or when their wealth is so immense it is abhorrent, they cannot be controlled, and we are treading in dangerous waters.

Photo taken from: Proxy Insight, YourStake (.org)

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The global economy must reduce carbon emissions by 50% or more within the next decade to limit average global surface temperature rise to 1.5 ̊C. To be successful, corporations across the energy, utility, automotive, and financial services sectors must rapidly alter their business practices. Unfortunately, BlackRock, the largest asset manager globally, has ignored its own public statements by almost uniformly supporting fossil fuel industry management teams while also voting down many shareholder resolutions intended to address the climate crisis.

Engagement Resources​

Click or tap on resource URL to visit links where available 

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BlackRock website.

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Carla Mozée. US stocks slump as Fed officials see more rate hikes in the pipeline to tame inflation. November 17, 2022.

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Daniel Urie. Carvana, Zulily and Peloton among companies with large layoffs in Pa. in 2022. July 6, 2022.


Theron Mohamed. Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel says the US economy is faltering – and the Fed may cut interest rates to 2% next year. November 22, 2022.


BlackRock tells UK ‘no’ to halting investment in coal, oil and gas. October 18, 2022.

Aislinn Murphy. BlackRock headquarters stormed by protesters, some carrying pitchforks. October 26, 2022.

Audrey Conklin. BlackRock investments in China: Consumers’ Research warning consumers, governments, Consumers’ Research sent a letter to the governors of 10 states. December 2, 2021.

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Nicole Goodkind. Consumers are keeping the economy afloat… for now. November 30, 2022.

Matt Egan. BlackRock and the $15 trillion fund industry should be broken up, antimonopoly group says.

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Graham Steele. The New Money Trust: How Large Money Managers Control Our Economy and What We Can Do About It.

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