ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Philipp Hildebrand, former head of the Swiss National Bank, will join BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager at its office in London in October. Hildebrand, who quit his job as Switzerland’s central banker in January after questions were raised about his wife’s currency transactions, earlier accepted a post as a lecturer at Oxford University.
Hildebrand’s position as vice-president at BlackRock with responsibility for relationships with institutional clients outside the US has prompted considerable speculation among financial media:
Reuters – “The appointment reflects BlackRock’s ambition to raise its profile in Europe’s fragmented funds industry, where it competes with scores of firms that have a tight hold on their domestic markets via relationships with local banks. It also fits with the New York-based investment house’s efforts to forge a reputation for advising governments and regulators, a role often played by big investment banks such as Morgan Stanley.”
Bloomberg – BlackRock founder “Fink has started a campaign to make BlackRock better known, and he has been asserting the firm’s views on pivotal issues including money-fund rules and the dangers of complex exchange-traded funds, sometimes at odds with firms such as Fidelity Investments and Societe Generale SA. He’s seeking to become a champion of corporate governance, urging 600 companies where BlackRock has its biggest stakes in to adopt shareholder-friendly practices. BlackRock has also advised governments including those in Ireland and Greece since the start of the European sovereign debt crisis. The firm worked for other government agencies in Europe after the financial crisis in 2008, including Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.”
Financial Times – It not only marks Hildebrand’s return to the world of finance but “It also highlights BlackRock’s growing ambitions and clout in the financial system, as the group responds to the recent financial crisis to expand. BlackRock has leapt ahead of many rivals in recent years to become the world’s largest asset manager, with some $3.68tn of assets. It has become a key adviser for governments and private sector companies in managing distressed assets.”