Institutional asset management firm BlackRock and Microsoft have formed a strategic partnership to host BlackRock’s Aladdin infrastructure on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, BlackRock announced today.
The platform brings enhanced capabilities to BlackRock and its Aladdin clients, which include many of the world’s most sophisticated institutional investors and wealth managers, according to the firm.
Aladdin is BlackRock’s end-to-end investment management and operations platform used by institutional investors, including asset managers, pension funds, insurers, and corporate treasurers. It combines sophisticated risk analytics with comprehensive portfolio management, trading, and operations tools on a single, unified platform. Customized for wealth managers, Aladdin also provides a common language across the investment lifecycle and enables a culture of risk transparency among users.
By adopting Microsoft Azure, BlackRock will both accelerate innovation on Aladdin through greater computing scale and unlock new capabilities to enhance the client experience, the company says.
BlackRock adds that it will also leverage Microsoft Azure’s network of global data centers and capabilities to meet the localized needs of Aladdin clients, all while maintaining Aladdin’s highest standards for resiliency and security.
“As both a user and a provider of Aladdin, this decision reflects BlackRock’s ongoing commitment to continuous innovation and scalable operating solutions,” said Rob Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer of BlackRock. “Aladdin infrastructure deployed on Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform will provide BlackRock with enhanced capabilities to deliver the best outcomes for our Aladdin clients.”
Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business, said that by bringing Aladdin to the cloud, Microsoft would support BlackRock in further enhancing its client experience while also enabling continuous innovation in the financial services industry.
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“Together, we will empower an ecosystem of financial services customers running their most critical workloads in the cloud,” he added.
The Microsoft Azure platform helps support the increasing need institutions currently have for integrated and scalable platforms.
It will, over time, enable BlackRock to accelerate innovation and collaboration between Aladdin and providers across the financial services ecosystem.
Collaboration on sustainable finance
In line with both firms’ commitment to sustainability, BlackRock and Microsoft will also work together on initiatives that leverage technology to improve and expand sustainability data and analytics, according to the announcement.
“The lack of standardized, high-quality data remains a significant hurdle in understanding the impact of sustainability-related risk on investment portfolios and company performance. Big data, machine learning and AI can all play a critical role in improving access to and the impact and quality of sustainability data,” it notes.
The two firms will invite collaboration, whether from academics, startups, non-profits, or others, on sustainability-related data, analytics, and technology.
“As a first step, the firms will collaborate on challenge grants for organizations that use data and tech to understand and drive sustainability. The firms will also provide technical expertise, leveraging Microsoft’s scale in computing, big data and AI, and BlackRock’s leading investment and portfolio management solutions to support a better understanding of corporate sustainability behaviour,” BlackRock said.