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Larry Fink to Millennials: Yo...'Sup?

BlackRock is very sick of being asked "New phone, who dis?"

At some point, the thinking goes, Millennials are going to have most of the money and they're going to have to at least think about acting like a "dad" and investing it in the market.

When that fateful day finally arrives, the cool bros at BlackRock will be ready to, like, help them... or whatever.

BlackRock Inc, the world's largest asset manager is acquiring a San Francisco-based robo-adviser, FutureAdvisor, the firm announced Wednesday morning.

See, BlackRock isn't just that massive hedge fund for basic billionaires anymore. It spent somewhere between $150 million and $200 million to demonstrate that it's down with FinTech.

Unlike competitors in this space, BlackRock does not plan to target individual investors with the robo-adviser, which offers portfolio management online.
Instead the firm hopes to use FutureAdvisor to enable banks, brokerage firms, insurers and 401(k) plans to use the company's digital platform to serve mass affluent investors and millennials, Frank Porcelli, head of BlackRock's U.S. wealth advisory unit, said in an interview.

BlackRock is so committed to its new look that it's not even going to use Future Advisor to do what most people would use it for. It's like the financial services version of buying an old tuxedo at a thrift shop and wearing to your job as a barista.

In the end BlackRock is using all the new research on Millennials to make an educated gamble that maybe if these cynical kids won't trust a $4.7 trillion hedge fund, they'll trust a piece of anonymous code owned by that hedge fund.

And to hear Larry Fink tell it, robo-advisers are a must-have in the future of finance.

Speaking at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York in May, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said he believed robo-advisers were going to become an element that every major firm would need to offer.
"Everyone talks about how robo-advisers can't connect with clients," Fink said. "I actually believe those kinds of tools are like an ATM machine. We are all going to have to have it."

BlackRock to acquire robo-adviser [Reuters]


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