BlackRock Halts Purchases of Russian Securities Across Funds
(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager, halted purchases of Russian securities across its actively managed and index funds following the Ukraine invasion.
The suspension took effect Monday, and the firm is pressing index providers to remove the securities from broad-based benchmarks, New York-based BlackRock said Thursday in an emailed statement.
Russian securities account for less than 0.01% of client assets, mostly in index portfolios, according to the statement from Rich Kushel, head of the portfolio management group, and Salim Ramji, global head of iShares and index investments.
“We 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,” the executives said.
BlackRock, led by Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink, oversaw more than $10 trillion of assets at year-end.
Last week, before the policy took effect, BlackRock made a trade of 12 million pounds ($16 million) in shares of precious-metals miner Polymetal International Plc, based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Shares of Polymetal, which have plunged 86% this year, will be removed from the FTSE 100 index as of March 21.
“This trade would not be permitted by the policy BlackRock instituted on Monday, which we believe reflects BlackRock’s and our clients’ values,” the asset manager said in the statement. “We have been moving as quickly as possible in close coordination with many other parties to meet the needs of our clients in a highly complex and fluid situation.”
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