Since becoming chief operating officer of $4.6 trillion-in-assets money manager BlackRock in July 2014, Robert Goldstein has held on to his previous responsibilities as global head of BlackRock Solutions, the technology arm that includes the Aladdin portfolio and risk management systems business and posted $646 million in revenue last year. Goldstein is currently focused on taking BlackRocks historically institutional technology into the retail realm. The route to mainstream investors goes through FutureAdvisor, a San Franciscobased digital, or robo, wealth manager that BlackRock acquired last September, and distribution partnerships with the likes of LPL Financial and RBC Wealth Management. Weve taken what we believe is the leading platform for digital advice and were institutionalizing it, says Goldstein, 42, who joined BlackRock as an analyst in 1994, moved to BlackRock Solutions at its start in 1999 and has headed the unit since 2009. The regulatory environment is helping support an increasing need for risk transparency across all these end-customer portfolios, Goldstein adds. Were delivering best-in-class portfolio construction, risk analytics and content. He stresses that the New Yorkbased firm is continuing to invest in Aladdin as its core system while also leveraging new technology to open Aladdin and make its data more accessible in this world of everybody being a data scientist. Aladdins revenue jumped to $528 million in 2015 from $474 million the year before, Goldstein says, with more than half of the total coming from global clients, up from 20 percent in 2010. BlackRock has introduced a version of Aladdin for custodians, fund accountants and other service providers; JPMorgan Chase & Co.s securities services business is a new client. Goldstein muses that computing advances could significantly change traditional exception-based work flows, which are designed to identify problems needing human intervention. We never figured out as an industry why the computer cant do it, he says. If technology can identify the problem, why cant it fix the problem?
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