Larry Fink, CEO and chairman of the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended the world order that had been in place since the end of the Cold War.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” Fink said in his 2022 letter to shareholders. “It has left many communities and people feeling isolated and looking inward. I believe this has exacerbated the polarization and extremist behavior we are seeing across society today.”
Fink’s letter came a month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with Moscow’s forces bombarding cities across the country and killing civilians unable to escape. The U.S. and its allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia and provided military assistance to Ukraine.
Fink, whose firm oversees more than $10 trillion, said nations and governments have come together and launched an “economic war” against Russia. He said BlackRock has also taken steps to suspend the purchase of any Russian securities in its active or index portfolios.
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to countless stakeholders, including our clients and employees, who are all looking to understand what could be done to prevent capital from being deployed to Russia,” Fink said.
Back in the early 1990s when the world emerged from the Cold War, Russia was welcomed into the global financial system and given access to global capital markets, Fink wrote. The expansion of globalization accelerated international trade, grew global capital markets and increased economic growth, he said.
It was right then, 34 years ago, when BlackRock was founded and the firm benefited immensely from the rise of globalization and growth of the capital markets, which fueled the need for technology-driven asset management, Fink said.
“I remain a long-term believer in the benefits of globalization and the power of global capital markets. Access to global capital enables companies to fund growth, countries to increase economic development, and more people to experience financial well-being,” Fink said.
The CEO said BlackRock is committed to monitoring the direct and indirect impacts of the crisis, and aimed to understand how to navigate this new investment environment.
“The money we manage belongs to our clients. And to serve them, we work to understand how changes around the world will impact their investment outcomes,” Fink said.