|Head of Trading andLiquidity Strategies|
|Last year: 9|
With a world-leading $4.3 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, BlackRock is a testament to the power of size and scale: Revenue was up 9 percent, to $10.2 billion, and net income grew 19 percent, to $2.9 billion, in 2013. But the logistical and liquidity challenges of portfolio management and trading can be as daunting as BlackRock is big, and for that the New Yorkbased firm relies on Richard Prager, a font of strategic expertise and a highly respected industry voice on matters related to the postcrisis and postVolcker rule landscape. A former Bank of America Corp. executive who joined BlackRock in 2009, initially in the financial markets advisory group of BlackRock Solutions, the 53-year-old head of trading and liquidity strategies played a key role last year in forging an innovative partnership with MarketAxess Holdings (see Nicholas Themelis, No. 18) that seeks to unlock fixed-income liquidity with a wider set of market participants and trading protocols. He is calling for bigger and more standardized corporate bond issuances to make them more tradable. Recent upheavals are rousing market players from denial, Prager says. Issuers had it easy because of low rates, the sell side had it easy in terms of bringing a record number of new issues to market, and the buy side, you could argue, had it easy for the past 20 to 30 years with a long cyclical move down in rates.
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