BlackRock Earnings Call Nuggets: Fidelity Alliance and Aladdin Fees

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Fidelity Alliance

Craig Siegenthaler – Credit Suisse: I just want to dig a little deeper on the new alliance with Fidelity. I’m wondering if you guys know what the level of iShares AUM was on the Fidelity platform as of quarter end. Then, I’m wondering what are your longer term penetration targets for this platform and maybe if we can think about the speed that you expect to gain some share on this platform too.

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Laurence D. Fink – Chairman and CEO: Well, that is not a public piece of information that I can be responsible for discussing that. So, just bear with me on that, but our enthusiasm is quite great with the opportunities we have with Fidelity. The first three years were a success and what our new announcement is to build from that success now, by adding up the 65 ETF iShare ETFs onto the platform. It has given us much greater opportunity to build, greater penetration with their clients and a deeper conversation with their client serving team. I would also add though Craig, this also enriches our relationship in a totality basis, even from their distribution side. It just gives us better opportunity to sell our mutual funds and other products there, so we look at this as a comprehensive relationship, the working relationship with our teams is very strong, but importantly I look at what we’re doing with Fidelity to complement what we’re doing on our core strategy ETFs. This is what we deemed as the most efficient way for us to target a buy and hold RIA channel. This is an area where we said over the last few quarters we underpenetrated. When we announced our core strategy ETFs we said this is the channel we are going to go after, but by enlarging our partnership in a relationship with Fidelity it really enhances our ability to interact with the independent RIA channel.

Craig Siegenthaler – Credit Suisse: Just one follow-up. You had a $112 million of security lending fees in the first quarter, how should we begin seasonal pickup in 2Q due to the timing of the European dividend? I’m wondering will this be a similar year to 2012 when we think about the comparison or are there some key differences?

Ann Marie Petach – CFO: When I look at it, really the fourth quarter and the first quarter sec-lending and both looked very similar to a year ago and looked similar sequentially. So and I would continue to expect a seasonal pickup in the second quarter associated with the dividend fees…

Laurence D. Fink – Chairman and CEO: I would say in the first quarter what we saw was greater. We had more securities out on sec-lending and so the trend was good in terms of utilization. But because of the continued compression in rates we saw less rates. So lending spreads was less but more importantly and this is an important characteristic, we spend so much time. We have a huge team out there trying to look out across all the prime brokers and all the different organizations that are looking to borrow stock. We – I look at not just at our obviously the net interest spread, I think the most important characteristic in the sec-lending is the amount of securities out to borrow and this is the one area that I’m pretty proud of our team and they can share that we have deeper penetration. Hopefully that will continue. I’m not here to tell you the seasonals won’t change, but we most certainly saw more demand.

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Aladdin Fees

Glenn Schorr – Nomura: One quick one on the numbers. You mentioned seven new clients for Aladdin and I think it was $1.3 trillion in process of being brought onboard. I highly doubt that it’s directional, but that would imply about 10% bump to the current base fee run rate in Aladdin. Am I in the ballpark of new fees in that base?

Laurence D. Fink – Chairman and CEO: It’s only a 10% increase in possible assets in that, so that’s we’re getting at. Now it’s less than that. I’m not going to get in that. I’m not going to get into the details, but it’s – one client’s quite large and it has economies of scale and all of that stuff. But it’s a – the range but not there well I cannot give you much detail.

Glenn Schorr – Nomura: Curious, you’ve spoken in the past that the bond ETF penetration is literally about one-tenth the size of the penetration the equity markets has enjoyed. Curious what you’re seeing and expecting there and then if you could talk towards what you’ve spoken about recently in terms of the fixed income ETF in corporate bond and when we might expect that product to be coming out?

Laurence D. Fink – Chairman and CEO: The iShare bond is going to be – is momentarily, we’re not getting into a registration issue. We expect it soon. I’m getting kicked by my General Counsel. Two, it is my view that this is a great opportunity for the market and for us. We’ve had many conversations with many potential investors in those products, the enthusiasm is great but as we saw in most ETF products, it’s a slow grind and people are going to be looking for liquidity and opportunities, and if the liquidity and opportunity are there, then you start seeing a faster ramp-up. So it is momentarily when we launch that, the overall view of ETFs and bonds is as robust as ever. We are very constructive on those products and so, my feelings haven’t changed at all, despite obviously a huge change in momentum from fixed income flows that we witnessed the first half of last year to 90% flows in equities and so I guess, it’s a testimony to the products that these are efficient vehicles for investors, whether you’re looking to rebalance, restructure and so we continue to be in front of clients and with all types of ETF products and we continue to be driving those flows on a global basis. You didn’t ask this question, but if you look at ETF flows as an industry, some of the great flows, as an industry are also when investors are underinvested. So, you see great flows in Japan because of the changes in the economic future of Japan or the hope of a change of economic future and so you have seen it across the industry larger flows in Japanese-oriented, DK-oriented ETFs. As I have said, what we saw also at BlackRock because a renewed interest in Mexico we saw larger than historical flows into Mexico. So this is what – this is exactly how we are trying to position ourselves, having a suite of products that are global in nature and respond to it. This is one of the big reasons why we’re so excited about our inclusion of the Credit Suisse ETF platform. This will give us a great Swiss franc product and as clients are going to look to diversify in currency and in asset categories.

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