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BlackRock Boss Talks Fintech

We are pleased to announce an interview with BlackRock’s MD of retail business in EMEA at our Fin-k Tank event on 6th December.


Michael Gruener has a fairly unique perspective on the emerging Fintech scene across Europe. He expects substantial growth in the digitally advised asset market over the next 5 years and BlackRock is investing in this area. He’s had a ringside seat as multiple European fintechs have courted the global giant, and he is going to share his personal take on what good looks like, and where this market is heading.  Here’s a sneak preview:


Q1: You have looked at multiple fintech start-ups across Europe? What in your personal opinion are the common denominators of the best?


Modularity and flexibility are critical success factors, for three reasons.


Firstly, fintechs with the most exciting propositions provide users with options that can be adapted depending on the part of the journey that they want to digitalise. This can include the front end consumer interface, intelligently automating KYC assessments and AML checks, accurate client risk profiling, the asset allocation process, review of the fund investment list and the reporting engine.

Secondly, this flexibility is especially important in Europe, where we have multiple languages, tax systems, currencies, trading venues, and custodian capabilities to navigate when building an operating platform.


Thirdly, the ability to access and trade the full spectrum of investment building blocks (across active and index products) to meet investor goals is invaluable.


Q2: Can new start-ups make inroads into the investment markets without backing from larger brands?

It’s very difficult to go it alone. Building a sustainable B2C business is challenging primarily because the cost of acquiring each new client is extremely high. There is a lot to learn from those that have gone direct to the consumer, but ultimately fintech firms that can build on an existing network of distribution channels and tap into existing captive audiences will be the winners in the long-run.


Q3: Will robo advice be a material distribution channel for groups such as BlackRock within the next 5 years?

Yes. This is driven by the sheer nature of the investment challenge we are facing in society, when people are living longer and the state and corporates are stepping away without a corresponding rise in education.


It is our belief that what can be digitalised will be digitalised, and we expect digitally advised assets to grow significantly over the next five years. This is why we are investing in this area, and ensuring we’re at the forefront as the market continues to evolve. Morgan Stanley estimates the size of this market in Europe to be 3trn USD by 2025.


The afternoon runs from 2pm to 5.30pm when we break for networking drinks. We also have sessions where HSBC, Nationwide and Santander outline plans and an expert panel tackle the tricky topic of advice. And we’ll be sharing the results of our consumer testing of 8 online investment brands. Check out the full agenda here

Email to register now!