Fink Says In-Person Meetings Are Top Priority After Covid
(Bloomberg) -- BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the thing he looks forward to most in the post-pandemic world is meeting with clients again, as the U.S. vaccination campaign continues and companies weigh how to unwind remote-work setups.
In his annual letter to shareholders Wednesday, Fink said there’s no substitute for in-person meetings. His comments add to earlier remarks that he fears corporate culture can erode over time while working from home.
“I miss the personal connections and unexpected ideas that come from meeting face-to-face and sharing a meal together,” Fink wrote. “It’s often through a less structured conversation than one can have on a video call that we learn most about each other and experience intangibles, like culture, that are hard to see through a screen.”
More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, global financial firms like BlackRock are deciding how to safely bring employees back to in-person work settings. Last year, BlackRock executives signaled that the office will remain the primary work location for employees in the long term, and permission to work remotely full-time will be granted selectively.
Other points Fink brought up in his annual letter include:
- The firm’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusion practices, after a series of separate issues were raised over the firm’s workplace culture: “I know our culture is not perfect,” Fink wrote. “In some cases, certain employees have not upheld BlackRock’s standards. I have made it clear to employees that we want to know when that happens, and those individuals don’t have a place at BlackRock.”
- BlackRock wants net-zero emissions across all assets under management by 2050. To that end, it joined the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, an industry group focused on cutting net greenhouse gas emissions among portfolio companies to zero.
- While public companies are rightly in the spotlight for their role in addressing climate change, governments “must play the leadership role in addressing this crisis: setting standards, creating the right incentives, putting a price on carbon and investing in the technology and infrastructure required for the energy transition,” Fink wrote.
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