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March 14, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 1:15pm

BlackRock takes $17bn hit on funds with Russia exposure

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BlackRock has incurred a loss of $17bn on its funds exposed to Russian equities following the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, reported The Financial Times.

The firm had more than $18.2bn in Russian assets at the end of January 2021.

Majority of its funds are currently in limbo after the asset manager was forced to freeze them following the market crash and stringent sanctions announced on the country by the US and its allies.

BlackRock suspended all purchases of Russian assets at the end of February, after its holdings linked to the country fell to less than 0.01% of its assets under management.

A spokesperson for the firm cited the markdowns as the reason for the change, rather than asset sales.

The total value of BlackRock’s assets was approximately $1bn on 28 February, according to the person.

BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink was quoted as saying in a LinkedIn post said: “This has been a highly complex and fluid situation, and BlackRock will continue actively consulting with regulators, index providers and other market participants to help ensure our clients can exit their positions in Russian securities, whenever and wherever regulatory and market conditions allow.”

The firm did not reveal the name of the affected funds or the breakdown of the firm’s Russian securities.   

Several other asset managers have decided to write down their funds with Russia exposure.

Last week, a report by Bloomberg said that US investment manager Pimco is bracing for potential losses linked to its billion-dollar exposure to Russian debt as the country edges towards sovereign default.

Janus Henderson, Ashmore, and Western Assets funds are also said to have exposure to Russian debt.

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