BlackRock has expanded its partnership with fintech iCapital Network and is planning a series of private asset fund launches targeting wealth managers.
iCapital will help BlackRock manage processes such as subscriptions, capital calls and distributions.
BlackRock, which manages $ 264 billion in alternative investments globally, will make a range of strategies available to wealth managers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America through the platform iCapital alternative investment fund, including the company’s long-term European investment funds.
The head of the makeshift and family offices at BlackRock Alternatives Specialists at Emea West Lockhart (pictured), said Citywire the company hopes to launch a private lending strategy later this year using iCapital’s AIFMD-compliant feeder fund structure. A series of funds focused on private equity and real assets will follow.
BlackRock still decides on feeder fund fees, with Lockhart saying they want to be very competitive in the market.
The asset manager closed its first Eltif, BlackRock Private Equity Partners, after raising € 509m (£ 436m) in April and it continues to take cash for its Private Infrastructure Opportunities Eltif.
BlackRock has been an iCapital partner in the United States since 2016. The new platform is expected to go live in August or September, said Marco Bizzozero, head of international at iCapital.
BlackRock’s increased interest in private markets comes at a time when many asset managers are looking to expand their alternative divisions and broaden the distribution of funds.
Last week, Schroders consolidated its private markets strategies under one brand and unveiled plans for new funds. JP Morgan Asset Management has also launched a new division, called Private Capital, and made a series of high-level appointments.
Lockhart said: “We continue to see a very strong tailwind behind Emea’s private markets which is propelling demand among retail investors. There are a few factors driving it, including low interest rates, a plus. great demand for diversification and hope for higher returns. ‘
Bizzozero added: “For asset managers, this is not only a business opportunity, but also a responsibility. They approach this subject of private markets as a responsibility to ensure that their client also has access to this asset class where most of the value is created. ‘
A private equity impact fund could also be considered for next year, Lockhart said, as BlackRock aims to roll out more sustainability-focused products.
iCapital was founded in 2013 and manages $ 75 billion in global client assets. Over the past year, she announced several partnerships with asset managers and distributors, notably with Allfunds and Nuveen.