Investment giant BlackRock in UK comms agency hunt

The largest asset manager in the world is holding a multi-agency pitch for its entire UK media relations and corporate and financial comms requirements.

UK agency search: BlackRock
UK agency search: BlackRock

US investment giant BlackRock, which bought Barclays Global Investors (BGI) in December 2009,currently retains Maitland, while FD has continued to work on the BGI side of the business.

It is thought as many as 12 agencies have been contacted to pitch for the business, with Maitland and FD believed to be on the long list.

A number of industry sources speculated that the account would be worth a substantial six-figure sum, likely to be upwards of £250,000 a year.

The brief encompasses BlackRock’s entire product range across both its own branded range and that of BGI, including the iShares exchange traded funds range. The successful agency will work on corporate positioning and financial and corporate media relations in the UK.

One top agency source noted that the pitch process was part of BlackRock’s aim to increase its presence as a thought leader in the financial sector, given its position as the globe’s leading money manager. The source commented: ‘BlackRock is aware it does not have the leadership or profile for a business of its size.’

BlackRock’s £8.2bn take-over of BGI has created a company with combined assets under management of US$3.15 trillion across equity, fixed income, cash management, alternative investment and property.

BlackRock will see changes to the in-house comms team in addition to the agency pitch, with Rebecca Nelson, a director in the EMEA media team believed to have resigned. She previously led media relations for BGI.

The winning agency will report to Emma Phillips, director of the EMEA media relations team, who is heading European comms for BlackRock with support from its New York office.

The firm has already handed a retained brief to Citigate Dewe Rogerson in France.

BlackRock and the current agencies Maitland and FD declined to comment.

Last week, BlackRock announced that profit after tax topped analysts’ expectations by rising to $342m, compared with $218m in the same period last year.

However, the firm saw a 6.3 per cent drop in clients’ funds under management during the last quarter.

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