The world’s largest asset manager has named new leadership for the globe’s fastest growing financial market as BlackRock named Rachel Lord as its new chair for Asia Pacific on Tuesday.
Lord, who currently heads Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the New York-based firm, will take over from current APAC chief Geraldine Buckingham on 1 May, the company said in a statement.
“The appointment of one of the firm’s strongest leaders to head up our APAC business underscores our commitment to this fast-growing region as a top strategic priority for BlackRock,” Blackrock’s head of international and head of corporate strategy, Mark Wiedman said. “Rachel has piloted growth in assets and revenue in a complex EMEA region undergoing economic and regulatory shifts, while taking BlackRock deeper into local markets.”
Buckingham, who took over Asia Pacific for BlackRock in early 2019 became the subject of controversy later that same year when her husband, Dominic Barton was named Canada’s ambassador to China. The former McKinsey consultant will continue to serve as a senior advisor to BlackRock following the leadership change and will relocate to Beijing where Barton continues to be stationed.
BlackRock noted in the statement that the firm, “regularly moves our key talent into new roles around the world, building a truly global team that can serve clients as a single firm.”
Back to Hong Kong
Lord has been with BlackRock since 2013 including serving as head of EMEA since mid-2017. Prior to joining BlackRock, the University of Leeds graduate spent over four years with Citigroup as global head of corporate equity derivatives where she oversaw the launch of the equity derivatives business in Asia in 2010.
The new role brings Lord back to Hong Kong where she was previously based in during a 13 year stint with Morgan Stanley after starting her career with Australia’s ANZ Bank in London.
“We are rapidly transforming our business to match APAC investors’ aspirations,” Lord said. “Who we are and what we offer must reflect the region and its needs, so the opportunity to accelerate BlackRock’s APAC business over the next decade is a game changer.”
Eyes on the Mainland Market
That acceleration comes after BlackRock last August became the first foreign firm to win approval to set up publicly offered funds in mainland China, a market which has become a major target for global financial services operators.
Lord is expected to oversee BlackRock’s China expansion as the New York-based firm eyes the mainland’s $3.1 trillion asset management market – already the world’s second largest after the US.
During the same month that BlackRock’s wholly-foreign-owned fund management application was approved, a joint venture between the US firm, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and China Construction Bank also won approval to operate a wealth management business on the mainland.
In December of last year BlackRock also added $52.9 million to its supply of capital targetting APAC real estate opportunities.
That latest addition to BlackRock’s Asia Property Fund V came after the company was reported as having raised $500 million for the vehicle by early 2020. The fund aims to acquire commercial real estate assets in Australia, Japan, Singapore, China and Hong Kong.