Larry Fink Sees More Remote Work Hampering Commercial Real Estate

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(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the work-from-home revolution will have lasting effects, including pushing down demand for commercial real estate.

Fink said that after businesses were forced to run from mostly remote setups during the coronavirus crisis, many companies will choose not to bring all their workers back to the office even when it is safe to do so.

“I don’t think any company’s going to go back to 100% of the workforce in the office,” Fink said Thursday at a virtual event from Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative Institute. “That means less congestion in cities. It means, more importantly, less need for commercial real estate. So to me that’s one of the great outcomes of this.”

Global businesses rushed to operate with unprecedented levels of remote work as governments around the world ordered citizens to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has infected 2.69 million people and led to about 185,000 deaths worldwide, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, oversaw about $6.5 trillion at the end of March.

Other comments from Fink on the fallout from coronavirus:

  • Companies will move to insert more back-ups into their supply chains. “That’s going to produce big winners and losers,” he said.
  • The world will be handling the ramifications of virus longer than equity markets may recognize. Despite the recent stock market rally, which has pushed the S&P 500 Index up roughly 9% in April, the global economy is “on the descent,” Fink added. “There’s a disconnect right now, and it doesn’t feel healthy.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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