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World’s Biggest Asset Manager BlackRock Building AI Lab

BlackRock is the world’s biggest asset manager. But as well as being concerned with money and wealth, it’s also focusing on artificial intelligence (AI).

And this week has just seen the investment managers reveal its intentions to build a new AI lab in the heart of Palo Alto, California.

BlackRock was founded in 1988. Its headquarters are based in New York and with more than $5.5 trillion in assets under management, it is the world’s largest company of its kind.

More than 13,000 people are employed at BlackRock, spread across 30 countries around the world.

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The company’s chief operating officer is Rob Goldstein and he says the new lab will “augment our current teams and accelerate our efforts to bring the benefits of these technologies to the entirety of the firm and to our clients.”

David Wright is BlackRock’s head of product strategy in Europe. Here’s what he had to say on the matter: “Big data offers a world of possibilities for generating alpha [market beating returns] but traditional techniques are not good enough to analyse the huge volumes of information involved.”

It’s just one of many moves that have been made by asset managers lately in the bid to try and replace many of our human stock pickers with the likes of AI.

By using machine learning, firms can sift through large amounts of data in no time at all. But, is it really necessary to replace all these human workers? Hiromichi Mizuno is the chief investment officer of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund.

He said: “I believe artificial intelligence will be able to either replace or enhance the asset managers’ work, particularly for short term trading.”

Other investors that are also jumping on the AI and big data bandwagon include the financial services giant, JPMorgan.

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The company very recently sent its global head of equity trading on a mission to discover new AI and machine learning opportunities that will help to accelerate its expansion into data analytics.

BlackRock’s new AI lab will be run by Stephen Boyd. Mr Boyd has been employed as a consultant with the company for 5 years and is, therefore, the right candidate for the role.

The new data science centre is to be run by Sherry Marcus, former chief analytics officer at Millennium Management, and Rachel Schutt, a former chief data scientist at News Corp.

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KC Cheung
KC Cheung has over 18 years experience in the technology industry including media, payments, and software and has a keen interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and its applications in business. Over the years he has worked with some of the leading technology companies, building and growing dynamic teams in a fast moving international environment.
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