ALL RELATIONSHIPS MATTER: BlackRock Introduces Strict Office Romance Policy

Posted on 09/21/2020

BlackRock Inc. is the world’s biggest asset manager with US$ 7.4 trillion in assets under management. Influenced by the “MeToo” movement and a scandal with former executive Mark Wiseman, BlackRock put in a new policy forcing its 16,000 employees to disclose “personal relationships” with all the company’s clients. This is in addition to existing policies which forced the disclosure of relationships with other staff members. Part of the new policy states, “Employees are required to disclose all Personal Relationships with other BlackRock employees or contingent workers; as well as Personal Relationships with employees of a service provider, vendor, or other third party (including a client), if the non-BlackRock employee is within a group that interacts with BlackRock.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Jeff Smith, BlackRock’s global human resources head, was terminated in July 2019 for breaches of the company policy on disclosing relationships. Former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) honcho Mark Wiseman, who ran BlackRock’s active equities business and has been married to one of BlackRock’s country heads (Marcia Moffat), was publicly forced out in December 2019 for failing to disclose a relationship with another woman. Wiseman was once seen as a potential successor to Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink.

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