The coronavirus will likely leave a permanent mark on the world’s largest asset management company, and CEO Larry Fink isn’t thrilled about it.
“I don’t believe BlackRock will be ever 100 percent back in office,” the New York company’s billionaire chairman and chief executive revealed on Thursday. “I actually believe maybe 60 percent or 70 percent, and maybe that is a rotation.”
Fink, made the remarks during a virtual appearance at the Morningstar Investment Conference on Thursday morning. And while he was blunt about the realities of a post-COVID workplace, he warned that having more than a quarter of his employees managing the firm’s $7.4 trillion in assets from their basements and bedrooms could have a deleterious effect on the company, headquartered in midtown Manhattan.
“Cultures were not meant to be done in a remote fashion, and culture is what binds and unifies us,” mused the 67-year-old Fink. “I’m still not sure how well we’re doing on a cultural basis.”
Fink’s concerns echo those of JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon, who has been very vocal about his desire to get the bank’s employees out of their pajamas and back to the office as soon as possible. Dimon has pushed for a return to office work for the sake of productivity, team spirit and the mentoring of junior staff.
But unlike Blackrock, JPMorgan has started ordering employees to return to its Madison Ave. headquarters — a push that hit a bump this week after the bank revealed a staffer there had tested positive for COVID-19.
Wall Street overall appears split on whether and when to get people back in their cubicles.
Goldman Sachs has said it will start moving people back to its offices on a rotational basis this month, while Deutsche Bank notified its New York-based staffers yesterday that it will not ask them to return until July 2021 at the earliest.
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