BlackRock’s Fink Sees U.S. Regulators Shifting Systemic Focus

Regulators seeking to curb systemic risk are starting to follow BlackRock Inc.’s suggestion to focus on products instead of asset managers, according to Laurence D. Fink, chief executive officer of the world’s biggest money manager.

“We’d been a huge advocate and we had many conversations with many regulators about the need to focus more on product regulation,” Fink said today at BlackRock’s investor conference in New York. Recent reports in the press indicate that “regulators are being refocused” on products which have systemically important implications, he said.

While the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a group of regulators led by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, considers whether to designate asset managers for Federal Reserve oversight, which could be costly to the firms, BlackRock has lobbied lawmakers to avoid being labeled a systemically important financial institution, or SIFI.

Fink said last month that products with embedded leverage should be supervised and that leveraged ETFs are a structural problem and have the potential to “blow up” the industry.

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