BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, handling more than $6 trillion, is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to shore up the investing dollars of the millennial and Gen Z generations. Having already made inroads in the robo-advisor business in recent years, BlackRock is coming for your nickels and dimes next.
BlackRock announced Wednesday that it has led a $50 million investing round in microinvesting site Acorns. BlackRock declined to say how much it had specifically invested in Acorns. The personal finance app allows customers to automatically invest spare change from everyday purchases, such as those made via credit card transactions, in exchange-traded funds from BlackRock and Vanguard. BlackRock's chief marketing officer, Frank Cooper, was also given an "observer seat" on the start-up's board.
Acorns said the investment options available on its platform will remain the same. To date, Acorns has signed up more than 3.3 million investment accounts, and also offers an automated retirement account.
"Acorns is a pioneer in creating innovative ways to engage investors in a mobile-first world. By deepening our understanding of how their customers use investment technologies, we can apply those learnings across BlackRock to evolve the products we build for our distribution partners," said Rob Goldstein, BlackRock's COO, in the deal announcement. "Through micro-behaviors the next generation of investors can take achievable steps towards building their well-being," he added.
Noah Kerner, CEO of Acorns, referenced the recent annual letter from BlackRock founder and CEO Larry Fink in the release, saying, "I can't think of a better collaborator on this journey."
In the letter, Fink voiced a strong view on how the lack of adequate or underfunded retirement plans can negatively influence world events: He tied the recent rise of populism around the globe directly to insufficient savings.