Laurence Douglas Fink (Larry Fink) is an American billionaire businessman who was born in 1952 in Van Nuys, California. Fink, one of three children, earned his baccalaureate and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, with an academic specialization in Real Estate, from the University of California, Los Angeles, in the mid-1970s.
Laurence Fink is the CEO/Chairman of a multi-national investment/managerial company – BlackRock, the largest money-management firm in the world, managing more than $10 trillion across a variety of asset categories. Larry Fink is also a member of Forbes Magazine’s list of billionaires (as of April 2022) and a well-known generous philanthropist who contributes to many causes.
In addition, to being a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations & World Economic Forum, Larry Fink charity contributions have garnered him the following awards –
- The Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement in 2007.
- The Appeal of Conscience Award in 2015.
- The Americas Society Gold Medal in 2015.
- The UCLA Medal in 2016.
- New York City’s ABANA Achievement Award recognizes and honors an individual who has a) exemplified and implemented outstanding leadership in the fields of finance and banking and b) has a commitment to positively influence the valuable relationships that exist between North America and countries in the Middle East (2016).
- The Charles Schwab Financial Innovation Award in 2019.
The Early Years of Larry Fink (1970 – 1988)
Fink began his professional investment banking career working at First Boston. His first position in 1976 was as a trader in mortgage-backed securities, progressing to the manager of First Boston’s bond department relatively quickly. He moved up the First Boston corporate ladder, adding these managerial positions to a long list of accomplishments –
- A First Boston Management and Board Committee Member.
- First Boston’s Managing Director.
- The co-leader of First Boston’s Taxable Fixed Income Division.
- The leader of First Boston’s Mortgage and Real Estate Products Group.
Fink was also responsible for developing the company’s Financial Futures & Options Department. By some industry estimates, Fink’s success at First Boston added about $1 billion to the company’s bottom line, although not every decision was a home run.
Larry Fink hit some career potholes in the 1980s, notably marred with an erroneous interest rate prediction. This adverse experience significantly impacted his decision to establish his own investment company – applying comprehensive risk management strategies to client investments.
The BlackRock Years
Under a corporate umbrella company known as the Blackstone Group, Larry Fink co-developed BlackRock – ultimately becoming BlackRock’s CEO and director. Over the next few years, the Blackstone Group sought and achieved independence by 1998 from the Blackstone Group. A year later, the BlackRock Group went public.
Fink has contributed to some of the most impressive real estate deals and even helped negotiate the NYSE’s CEO resignation in 2003. Additionally, Larry Fink, who regularly appears on the channel CNBC, has participated in the following significant financial events -
- Championed the Merrill Lynch Investment Manager merger, resulting in twice the asset value of the company’s management portfolio.
- In 2006, Fink led the company to the nation’s largest residential real estate deal in American history when BlackRock bought Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village for nearly $5.5 billion.
- The federal government contracted with Fink’s BlackRock to assist with the aftermath of 2008’s financial and real estate meltdown.
- In 2009, BlackRock became the globe’s largest money management company when it bought Barclays Global Investors.
- In 2016, BlackRock had grown to an employee base of 12,000 across 27 countries. At this time, the value of the assets managed by the company exceeded $5 trillion.
- In 2018, Fink was ranked #28 by Forbes Magazine’s list of The World's Most Powerful People.
- During the 2020 pandemic, the US Federal Reserve turned to BlackRock when the real estate and financial markets were disrupted by the COVID virus global outbreak.
- In 2021, Fink received $36 million in compensation from BlackRock.
Larry Fink Charity & Community Involvement
Larry Fink currently serves as a board trustee (and often chairman) on many philanthropic and education organizations. First, Fink is a board member/trustee of the prestigious, private higher learning institution of New York University, including chairing the school’s Financial Affairs Committee. Additionally, he is a co-chair for New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
Fink serves as a trustee/board member for the Boys and Girls Club of New York as well as the Robin Hood Foundation – New York City’s most significant organization that fights poverty throughout the five boroughs.
Laurence Fink is also a longtime supporter/donor to the New York City Police Foundation. This organization offers financial support to the city’s Police Force/Department.
In 2009, Laurence and his wife Lori founded the Fink Center for Financial & Investments at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Fink continues to serve as the Center for Financial & Investments’ board of directors chairman.
Professional Philanthropy - The Fink Annual Open Letter to Corporation CEOs
In December 2016, Fink joined a business forum as a professional financier to provide economic strategic and policy advice.
Fink, in 2018, included in his yearly CEO open letter – a call to action for corporations to increase their role and become more proactive in –
- Helping to improve the environment and fight climate change.
- Working to improve the communities in which they work.
- Developing and increasing their workforce diversity, which is a move that is important because BlackRock is seen as proactively and transparently enforcing important target goals as one of the globe’s largest asset managers.
The 2019 CEO open letter revealed that Fink recognized there was a leadership vacuum, and that CEOs were in the best position to step up and help resolve social/political issues when other solutions were not present.
The 2020 CEO open letter issued by Fink announced BlackRock’s future focus and investments in environmental sustainability. In the yearly letter, Fink noted that this move represented a core goal and was imperative as it was becoming increasingly clear how climate would ultimately become a primary economic driver that has the potential to impact most (if not all) sectors of the economy. He took the time to inform investors that the company, moving forward, would cut professional ties with companies/investments that pose significant environmental risks, including thermal coal, etc.
The Catalyst Fund Dedicated to Breakthrough Energy
BlackRock, in 2021, announced a $100 million commitment (the company’s largest grant to date) to what it termed ‘breakthrough energy’ by establishing its Catalyst Fund. This fund also represents BlackRock's first philanthropic climate commitment. The initial focus of this fund was to help accelerate the development and distribution of these four clean energy categories –
- Direct Air Capture.
- Long Duration Energy Storage.
- Green Hydrogen.
- Sustainable Aviation Fuel.
You can also read:
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith