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BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK)

Q2 2013 Earnings Call

July 18, 2013 9:00 am ET

Executives

Matthew J. Mallow - Senior Managing Director and General Counsel

Gary S. Shedlin - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Managing Director

Laurence Douglas Fink - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee

Mark K. Wiedman - Global Head of Ishares and Managing Director

Analysts

Michael Carrier - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Marc S. Irizarry - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Robert Lee - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division

William R. Katz - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Matthew Kelley - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Kenneth B. Worthington - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Luke Montgomery - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Operator

Good morning. My name is Susan, and I will be your conference facilitator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the BlackRock, Inc. Second Quarter 2013 Earnings Teleconference. Our host for today's call will be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Laurence D. Fink; Chief Financial Officer, Gary Shedlin; and General Counsel, Matthew Mallow. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. Mr. Mallow, you may begin your conference.

Matthew J. Mallow

Thanks very much. Good morning, everyone. This is Matt Mallow, and I'm General Counsel of BlackRock. Before Larry and Gary make their remarks, let me point out that during the course of this call, we may make a number of forward-looking statements, and we call your attention to the fact that BlackRock's actual results may differ from these statements. As you all are aware, BlackRock has filed reports with the SEC, which lists some of the factors that may cause the results of BlackRock to differ materially from what we say today on the call. BlackRock assumes no duty and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements.

So with that, I will get out of the way and let the call begin. Gary?

Gary S. Shedlin

Thanks, Matt, and good morning, everyone. It's my pleasure to be here to present our second quarter results for the first time as CFO of BlackRock. Today, I'll provide some opening comments on our financial performance and also reference selected pages from our earnings supplement, which has been posted on the BlackRock Investor Relations website. I'll be discussing primarily as-adjusted results. These results exclude, among other items, the financial impact of a significant Charitable Contribution in the second quarter, which I will review in more detail shortly. Finally, I'll outline some changes we've made to our earnings release to improve transparency and facilitate a better understanding of the drivers of our business.

As I discussed at Investor Day a few weeks ago, we're focused on 3 key drivers of shareholder value: organic growth, operating leverage and capital management. Despite some market volatility over the last 6 weeks of the quarter, we delivered on each of these drivers, resulting in a strong quarter and continued earnings growth. We generated second quarter earnings per share of $4.15, up 34% compared to 2012. Operating income was $982 million, 18% higher than a year ago, reflecting record base fees in the quarter and continued margin improvement. Non-operating results reflected a $22 million increase in the market value of our seed and co-investments, as well as a $39 million noncash pretax gain relating to the PennyMac IPO, which we disclosed in our first quarter 10-Q. The second quarter as-adjusted tax rate was 27.3%. During the quarter, we benefited from a number of discrete tax items totaling approximately $29 million, which were primarily attributable to the realization of loss carryforwards. For planning purposes, we continue to believe that 31% is an appropriate run rate based on what we know today.

Underpinning our results was continued organic growth, which we achieved despite a challenging market. In the second quarter, we generated approximately $12 billion of net new long-term flows. As Larry will discuss in more detail, these flows continued to demonstrate the diversity of our multi-client platform as our retail and institutional channels drove our organic growth this quarter, offsetting the outflows experienced in our iShares business during the month of June.

Despite the fact that organic growth for the quarter was below our stated target, we've generated approximately $130 billion of adjusted net new long-term business over the past 12 months, representing a 4% organic growth rate. Because 83% of these net flows were generated by our retail and iShares channels, our organic revenue growth was even higher, as these channels have higher effective fee rates compared to the firm's overall average fee rate.

As you can see on Page 10 in the supplement, second quarter revenues were $2.48 billion, up $253 million or 11% from a year ago. Base fees reached record levels on the back of historically strong markets and organic growth. We experienced year-over-year base fee growth across all traditional long-dated asset classes.

In the second quarter, we continued to experience strong performance across a number of our single strategy hedge funds, contributing to a significant year-over-year increase in performance fees. Lower performance fees versus the first quarter were a result of seasonal factors. Given recent market volatility and the majority of funds that lock in the second half of the year, we will continue to update you on performance throughout the year.

Our BlackRock Solutions franchise continued to benefit from robust activity. Revenues in the second quarter were $138 million, up $7 million compared to 2012. Our Aladdin business benefited from continued trends favoring global investment platform consolidation and clients seeking multi-asset risk solutions, while our FMA business saw momentum from ongoing regulatory change, especially in Europe. The Aladdin pipeline remains strong, especially driven by demand from asset managers. And while year-over-year results were impacted by the timing and recognition of certain fees, we continue to expect mid-teens growth rates for the business. Securities lending revenue grew 21% versus the first quarter led by seasonal demand, but declined on a year-over-year basis as a result of spread compression.

Turning to Page 12 of the supplement. Expenses were up $103 million year-over-year driven primarily by revenue-related items, including direct fund expense and compensation. This was a 7% increase from a year ago compared to an 11% increase in revenue over the same period, and resulted in an operating margin of 41.3%, 210 basis points higher from a year ago.

We continue to believe that scale is a critically -- is critically important to our business, and we see scale advantages in a number of areas: growing our passive business, leveraging our brand spend, offsetting technology cost to our Aladdin business and absorbing the increased cost of regulation and compliance. In particular, as we indicated last quarter, we'll continue to invest in our brand, especially when there is an opportunity to deliver important messages at a time when messages will have the most meaningful impact. As such, we increased our brand spend in the second quarter to levels more consistent with the year-ago quarter. We still expect our full-year brand investment to be in line with 2012 levels.

Our margin has recently benefited from positive mix shift and rising global market levels. However, in the last 6 weeks of the quarter, we witnessed outflows in certain high-margin products and the decline in market levels. As we emphasized during Investor Day, we remain committed to dual objectives: running the firm as efficiently as possible, while also investing for future growth. While our margin will fluctuate as a function of mix shift and data, we remain confident that we can maintain minimum margins of 40% and stable market conditions.

We remain committed to using our cash flow to optimize shareholder value with the first priority to invest in our business. In May, we announced the acquisition of MGPA, a private equity real estate investment advisory company. This deal will double the size of our real estate advisory business and extend its reach to Asia Pac and EMEA. The acquisition will not be material to earnings per share and is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Though not included in the current quarter, on July 1, we completed the acquisition of Crédit Suisse's ETF business with assets under management of $16 billion. This acquisition will extend our footprint in the Swiss market and bring a broader range of opportunities to Swiss investors through our iShares platforms, while also adding an array of complementary products to serve our clients across Europe.

Our capital management policy remains consistent. We repurchased approximately $250 million of shares in the second quarter, matching the value of shares we repurchased in the first quarter. As we have previously stated in the current environment, we would expect to continue this level of repurchase for the remainder of the year.

Before I turn it over to Larry, I want to address the impact of PennyMac on our quarter results and some changes to our earnings release. Between 2008 and 2012, BlackRock made a series of investment in PennyMac, a leading national mortgage lender and servicer. In May, PennyMac completed an initial public offering. BlackRock was not a seller in the IPO. However, as a result of the IPO, we recorded a noncash, non-operating pretax gain of $39 million related to the carrying value of our equity method investment, which is included in our as-adjusted results.

As Larry will discuss more fully, subsequent to the IPO in June, BlackRock made a Charitable Contribution of approximately 6 million units of our PennyMac investment to a new Donor Advised Fund. The fair value of this contribution was $124 million and is included in G&A expense on our GAAP income statement. In connection with the Charitable Contribution, we also recognized an additional noncash, non-operating gain of $80 million, and recorded a net tax benefit of $57 million. Among other items, the financial impact of the entire Charitable Contribution has been excluded from as-adjusted results. Page 28 of the earnings supplement details the financial impact of both the PennyMac IPO and related Charitable Contribution. Going forward, BlackRock will continue to account for our remaining 20% PennyMac holding as an equity method investment.

Finally, as some of you may have noticed, we have made some changes to our earnings release. Given the diverse nature of our multi-client platform, we feel that our AUM inflows are best viewed and analyzed through a comprehensive lense. With that in mind, we have added incremented AUM disclosures by client and product in order to provide greater transparency on our business drivers, including the addition of average AUM data based on relative month-end averages. Given this additional disclosure, we have also decided to discontinue the reporting of our net new business institutional pipeline. This decision is not meant to signal any change in the outlook for our institutional business. In fact, our pipeline at July 11 was $49.3 billion, up $13.9 billion from April 11, with a mix of business largely in line with prior quarters. We trust these changes will facilitate a better understanding of our overall business.

And with that, I'll turn it over to Larry.

Laurence Douglas Fink

Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Gary, and thanks for joining, everyone -- us today on this call. But before we start, I'd like to reiterate how excited I am to have Gary on board. He's been a close partner of mine and adviser to BlackRock for many years, and it's great to have him as a full-time member of our team.

Let me begin with a little market context. What started out as a relatively steady first 2 months of the quarter for markets took a turn in late May following a series of global events, all within a concentrated period of time. The Fed's comments on May 22, suggesting a change in narrative, a change in the idea of tapering their bond purchasing program led to markets aggressively selling off to the long end of the curve. What we witnessed to see also is a rapid sell-off from leveraged investment products. The same time, growing uncertainty surrounding Japanese policy makers going all-in on our stimulus efforts, triggered approximately a 20% 3-week sell-off in the Nikkei after a very large run-up. And finally, continuing market worries about Chinese growth and emerging market capital flows sparked a downturn in emerging markets. These events drove a material uptick in market volatility, and we saw different types of investor react in different ways, highlighting the stability of BlackRock's multi-client platform. In fact, we saw very little in the ways of changes from our largest institutional clients as we remain committed to their long-term investment objectives.

We did see a market change in trading-oriented investor behavior, particularly with respect to long-duration fixed income and emerging market equity exposure, as those clients used liquidity in our iShares products to reposition their portfolios. Many of these macro and policy concerns that attracted attention in the markets remain, along with the ongoing political uncertainty of the Middle East, are likely to continue to drive global capital market volatility. However, I remain just as constructive on a long-term upside of the U.S. equities as I have been over the last 2 years.

We've spoken frequently about the benefits of our diversified business model at BlackRock, and we saw strong evidence of that again this quarter. Generated record long-term base fees of $2.1 billion and long-term net inflows of approximately $12 billion, taking our flows to $51.4 billion year-to-date. We benefited from the diversity of the client segments we serve, the diversity of our product set and the diversity of the geographies in which we operate.

During the quarter, we had 11 funds across retail, and iShares generated more than $1 billion in flows. These funds did not include our traditional growth engines, Global Al and Equity Dividend, which I believe showcases BlackRock's highly scalable product breadth, which -- with representation across all major classes, client segments and importantly, geographies.

In recent quarters, iShares delivered a substantial portion of BlackRock's overall organic growth. This quarter, it was our Retail and Institutional businesses driving growth and offsetting iShares' outflows. Positive net flows in the quarter were led by multi-asset products, unconstrained fixed income and retail alternatives, 3 key areas of focus where we've been investing to building market-leading position. Our flows also reflect the benefit of our broad platform and BlackRock's global reach, with positive contributions from both our active and passive franchises and strong flows in our EMEA and Asia Pacific regions.

Before I walk through the results, I'd like to take a minute to discuss the macro trend that has been a key driver of flows at BlackRock, and I think will continue to drive BlackRock's upcoming quarters. This is about the growth -- Great Rotation. The Great Rotation in equities has been much discussed. We are seeing a rotation at BlackRock, but it's not from fixed income into equities, it's a rotation within fixed income. Over the past several quarters, we've been warning our clients about the asymmetric risk in their fixed income portfolios. The 30-year bull market, which I was witnessing through my career, in fixed income products has meant that more than a generation of investors had never seen the losses in their fixed income portfolios.

In the past few months, obviously, that's started to change. 10-year yield spiked more than 100 basis points from the lows of early May through the first week of July, and the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index fell nearly 5% during the same period.

There is a Great Rotation. We believe, it's going to be out of core Barclays Aggregate-type products, the types of products that have been benefiting from duration extension in the past but are now sources of increased risk. We expect to see flows moving into more flexible, nontraditional fixed income products. Industry flows into flexible bond products across the industry has increased sevenfold year-to-date versus the same period last year, while flows in more traditional bond categories has fallen as great as 80%.

We built BlackRock on our reputation in fixed income. We let that performance get away from us in 2008. And we spent a great deal of time on rebuilding that -- the performance platform at BlackRock. And we fixed the business over the past few years, and I'm proud to say that we're well positioned today in fixed income space, more than we've ever been, and we're now ahead of most of our competitors.

As of the end of June, we're outperforming in a number of key fixed income areas. We've seen strong recent outperformance in our Total Return Fund, which is a top decile for the 1-year period, and should prove to have a better defensive position relative to our peers. Our Low Duration Bond Fund is a top quartile for a 3-year period of time is in the sweet spot for yield-starved investors searching for some strong performance with minimum duration risk. And perhaps, most importantly, our unconstrained Strategic Income Opportunity fund, or SIO, is in the top quartile for 1- and 3-year period. SIO is designed to provide yield, capital return and downside protection in diverse interest rate environments. They took in more than $1.6 billion in the quarter, now has -- for $6 billion in assets. We're very encouraged by the retail adoption of this product. As we introduced the fund outside the U.S. and to institutional investors, SIO is well positioned to be one of BlackRock's largest and most important products in the coming years.

So across the board, we're well positioned to benefit from the changes in fixed income. We've developed strong offerings across unconstrained, across floating rate, alternatives and multi-asset categories. For example, this quarter, we launched the Asia Floating Rate Income Fund, which is designed to protect against rising rates, and we saw more than $300 million inflows. In the alternative space, we saw $1.1 billion of U.S. retail flows in our Global Long/Short Credit Mutual Fund, a product designed to eliminate interest rate risk and provide credit-driven solutions. Our Multi-Asset Income Fund, or MIA -- MAI, has been a strong fixed income substitute. It's 5-star, go-anywhere income solution that continues to see strong momentum, taking in more than $1 billion for the second consecutive quarter.

As investors begin to more fully appreciate the risk in their fixed income portfolios, we have the solutions our clients need, we're well positioned to reap the benefits of the rotation within fixed income. The types of outcome-oriented solutions I just discussed have been a key driver in our retail and institutional client businesses, which generated healthy flows despite the challenging investment landscape.

In retail, our diversified platform continues to deliver result. This quarter, we generated $5.1 billion in net inflows, with key themes of income, alternatives and outcome-oriented solutions, driving positive results across all geographies. U.S. retail and high net worth had long-term net inflows in the second quarter of $3.5 billion. I just mentioned SIO, MAI and our Global Long/Short Credit Fund, all which netted north of $1 billion in net flows in the quarter. Alternatives are rapidly moving into the mainstream as the funds we launched in the past 2 years have more than $2.5 billion in AUM, having raised $1.1 billion in our second quarter. During the quarter, we also launched the Emerging Market Allocation Fund, an innovative actively managed product, leveraging our 12 separate emerging market teams that create product breadth that few, if any, of our competitors can match.

International retail, we saw long-term net inflows of $1.6 billion, reflecting global consistency in targeted growth areas, including strong multi-asset, fixed income and alternative flows. Multi-asset net inflows demonstrated increasing interest in our Global Allocation, Managed Volatility and Dynamic Asset Allocation offerings, as retail investors look for us, at BlackRock, to provide them solutions to address the market volatility.

Let me turn to fundamental equities. It still is a mixed story. However, we're pleased with the strong start we're starting to -- we're seeing in some of our new managers in U.S., fundamental equities and across the board. And our Basic Value Fund, a great example of the turnaround, over 275 basis points of outperformance in the past 6 months.

Our European equities continue to strengthen, led by our top-decile performing -- performance across a number of our funds, including our euro market fund, offset by outflows and our natural resources where we had a dominant position and remain to be dominant, but where we're seeing outflows in commodity-like type products. And we saw outflows in our U.K. equities.

What I'm particularly pleased -- being set up when we see a refreshed inflows, and that is in our Emerging Market equities. One of our new managers, has been with us close to 2 years now, is Andrew Swan, who continues to outperform, beating his benchmark by more than 300 basis points year-to-date.

Our Global Allocation fund, which has performed very, very well while managing risk exposure, for the last rolling 12 months, it earned over a 12% return to our investors.

Let me turn to institutional, where we generated $7.8 billion in long-term net new business. Flows are driven largely by a combination of continued shift to passive and demand for multi-asset solutions. The tone of our conversation with institutional clients remained positive, as evidenced by clients adding to positions amidst all this market volatility. This also speaks very loudly how our clients are looking for BlackRock for helping them to provide solutions. And in that sense, we are seeing bar belling that continues to be a dominant theme, with large, strategic clients investing in both equity and fixed income index mandates alongside alternative solutions to achieve uncorrelated returns.

Institutional active products saw positive flows for the first time in 8 quarters, with $1.3 billion in net inflows. Strong multi-asset flows offset fundamental equities and active currency challenges. We benefited from our proactive plan dialogue around regulatory changes, as implementation of RDR-like regulation in Europe drove a large, highly customized multi-asset strategy, an advisory win for the quarter.

We expect to see more types of opportunity working alongside our distribution partners as they try to respond to RDR, and we believe we will see more sub-advisory type of relationships as that continues.

Once again, our key growth subsegments, specifically defined contributions and official institutions, continue to be strong contributors. We generated $4 billion in our target date LifePath product in the quarter, with now nets over $7 billion in new flows. We also saw more than $6 billion of flows from official institutions, primarily into path of equity mandates.

We continue to evaluate ways to connect our products and clients for the overlay of risk management through BlackRock Solutions at our Aladdin platform. Our Aladdin business continues to grow with multiple successful implementations and an expanding client base, much of which is in global in nature. As Gary mentioned, we continue to expect mid-teen revenue growth in our Aladdin business. We signed a record number of advisory assignments in Q2, and we continue to see opportunities to have clients use Aladdin, especially now with the new regulatory environment we're all living in.

We also announced that during the quarter, the alliance with MarketAxess, which will allow our clients to tap into a deeper liquidity pool for U.S. credit from the Aladdin platform. We remain well positioned across BlackRock Solutions and our financial advisory business continues to showcase the differentiated and strong multi-client platform.

We were recently retained in 2 new assignments that speak to our unique analytical capabilities. The first is the assignment on behalf of Her Majesty's Treasury to provide advice on Royal Bank of Scotland; and the second is a significant country-wide banking diagnostics. We are proud to be a trusted adviser for global leaders when they face -- faced with issues involving significant financial complexities. And we also work very closely with all the regulators related to the implementation in terms of new focuses on risk management leverage ratios. And we believe with this greater and greater scrutiny, more and more clients are going to be looking for Aladdin as a source of risk management tools.

Now let me turn to iShares. As what Mark Wiedman, who runs our iShares business, told you at Investor Day, iShares are used in both as an investment vehicle, but also it's used as an exposure tool by our clients. Amidst market volatility in June, we saw clients again turn to iShares to express their views, in this case, on emerging markets and long-duration fixed income.

In the 3 weeks following May 22, clients redeemed nearly $15 billion in iShares. The ability to exit quickly, the ability to exit efficiently and in bulk, is part and parcel of our value proposition to an important client segment, a trading-oriented investors. These investors prefer iShares as the broadest, most liquid suite of ETFs. They use iShares when they want to take on fresh risk, as they did earlier in the year and the fourth quarter of 2012, and when they want to exit, as they did following the Fed comments on tapering.

The consequences is that our quarterly flows and our flow market share will be volatile. Since quarter end, the flows have reversed, with more than $6 billion of inflows through yesterday and more than $30 billion of net flows year-to-date. In fact, despite the volatility we saw in June, we are running at the same rate of growth as we did last year, as last year, we saw a summer swoon in our ETF market. So we love our position in our business and we expect this as the same type of future.

But importantly, we look to longer horizons. Over quarters and years, our market share of assets have been stable, and in 2012, for instance, we grew in line with a global industry with 27% AUM growth and a 14% organic growth. The flows in the second quarter reflect the fact that iShares delivered the liquid market exposure that our clients' expect. This is true even in the products that experienced the most selling pressure, including emerging market equities and fixed income ETFs. EEM, our flagship emerging market fund, traded a record $5 billion in a day, all in the secondary market without any creations or redemptions. Similarly, for the first time, we saw a $1 billion plus trading [ph] day in our leading U.S. corporate ETF like HYG and LQD.

So overall, our product performed in a challenging period, but we welcome continued dialogue around the mechanics of ETFs. We are constantly working with market makers and exchanges to ensure that ETFs are working appropriately. As the market leader in the industry, we believe we have a responsibility to lead the charge on market practices and investor education, not just with respect to iShares but in the ETF market globally at large.

Turning to the business results for global iShares, we ended the quarter with $1 billion in net inflows. We've seen a healthy start in the third quarter with $6.2 billion in net inflows through July 16. iShares base fees of $723 million represents a 21% year-over-year increase. Fixed income outflows was $1.5 billion, driven a rotation out of the long-duration fixed income. We also experienced outflows in our commodity-like products of $2.2 billion, in line with the macro pressures in that segment.

Equity net inflows in our ETF products was $2.7 billion, showcasing the breadth of our offerings, as outflows in emerging market products were offset across the franchise. A key driver in our new flows was our minimum volatility equity suite where we saw -- launched a new marketing campaign during the quarter. This set of products offers investors equity exposure with flatter peaks and valleys. It's an innovative solution that we developed in-house, and we raised more than $7.6 billion since the launch of this product only 2 years ago.

Let me just also add, regionally, iShares results were supported by strength in Europe and Latin America, offsetting the weakness I talked about in the United States. EMEA iShares retained its leading position with $2.5 billion in net inflows. Flows were led by equities with $2.2 billion in net inflows. We actually had our 25th consecutive month of positive ETF fixed income flows in India.

Overall, we remain very pleased with the direction of our iShares business. However, we must remain aggressive in pursuing new opportunities through both product innovation and tapping into new market segments. Let me give you 3 examples. First, we launched -- we recently launched our fixed income iSharesBonds series targeted towards traditional fixed income investors. Second, we launched our Core Series products, which we designed for the buy and hold segment, and we delivered $3.6 billion of net positive flows in the quarter. And third, last quarter, we announced our long-term strategic alliance with Fidelity to provide access to iShares in the self-directed segment. And that partnership is off to a great, great start.

In summary, iShares provide solutions both for investors focused on liquidity and those looking to build long-term portfolios using beta products. We believe that we continue to be in a secular bull market for ETFs, and that as a market leader, we will both drive the growth and benefit from the growth of the market.

I'll wrap up my comments with a few other significant events that occurred during the quarter. Our brand campaign continues to drive increased awareness and recognition, and we backed that up with targeted marketing towards our key investor segments and products. We're helping our clients to answer the question to what to do with their money, and we're focusing their attention on the solutions they need to be successful in the current investing environment. We're also trying to remind our clients that their objectives is, in most cases, about retirement. And the noise we saw in the last 6 weeks truly has little consequences in terms of their long-term objective needs. And as I said earlier, we have not seen investor behavior change by what I call our traditional long-term clients. And I think our ad campaign is helping our clients understand that we need to be focused not on the noise of the day but on the objectives over a long cycle.

As Gary discussed, during the quarter, we used a portion of our ownership stake in PennyMac to fund a philanthropic entity by seeding the Donor Advised Fund. As a leader in our community, as a leader in the industry, we're committed to be -- to the well-being of our communities where we live and work. This new charitable initiative will deepen our commitment to public responsibility that has always been fundamental to our business. We expect the fund to be operational in early 2014 and it will be a cornerstone of BlackRock's philanthropic efforts, including, among other things, helping to promote financial education for low-income families and individuals. I'd like to personally congratulate and thank Stan Kurland and the entire PennyMac team for the work they've done in building that business and creating value that will benefit BlackRock shareholders for the years to come.

Finally, in June, we hosted our Inaugural Investor Day. Our goal was to provide more exposure to the depth and talent of our team and provide a deeper dive into the growth prospects for the firm. I've been fortunate to be surrounded by a talented and dedicated global team for many years, and that team is a key driver of our performance and growth. As a result, as this quarter shows, even in periods of volatility, we have a platform designed to deliver for both clients and shareholders.

We are well positioned to benefit from long-term market trends, including the rotation within fixed income space with our unconstrained alternatives and multi-asset offerings, as well as a continued shift to passive in the use of beta products to generate alpha with our iShares business. We will continue to strive to stay ahead of secular changes and put our clients in a position to meet their investment goals. We have an exciting opportunity in front of us to execute on the growth plan we laid out a few weeks ago. I believe that growth plan is intact, and I believe we will continue to drive the types of rates we discussed in much more detail during Investor Day. I would like to thank everybody in all the hard work for all the employees.

And with that, I'll open it up for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Michael Carrier with Bank of America.

Michael Carrier - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Larry, just one question on the fixed income business. You gave a lot of detail. Just in terms of BlackRock, how you guys are setup from a fixed income product mix, what's your offering when you look at the mix of, say, like the core products versus the -- what you characterize as either the alternative or the flex products? And then also just from like a fee perspective. If we continue to see more of that shift over time, what tends to be the fee rate in those products versus some of the more core products?

Laurence Douglas Fink

On the unconstrained type of product, the margins are -- or the fees are higher than our core products, but I won't say dramatically higher. And as we see more and more growth in that, obviously, we'll look to change that. But right now, the fees are higher than our core products. And as I said for the -- our 1- and 3-year period of time after fees, we've outperformed our peers in that. So that's one positive thing. We're going to have a lot of clients who are not going to be able to move out of core. And we still -- we have great performance in our core offerings also. It is my view that more clients should be moving more towards more the unconstrained type of products, and I do believe you're going to see more and more investors move in that. Let me just also add, 2/3 of our fixed income assets are held by institutional clients, and they're generally slower in terms of movement. But I do believe that the dialogues we're having, more and more institutional clients are asking the question, how should they be looking at their fixed income portfolio. As I said in my prepared speeches, we had a 30-year bull market, people were very accustomed and very convinced that having their assets in a core product was a foundational component of their fixed income allocation. I think that is being -- that will change over time. I think we'll be a big beneficiary of that change. But as I said, institutions are slow to adapt. They have to work with the consultants, and I don't mean that in a negative way. They take -- they have to act as a fiduciary, making sure they're -- they need to make sure they're meeting the needs as a fiduciary. But importantly also, many of our fixed income investors, whether they're insurance companies or other types of organization, they are looking to match their assets to their liabilities. And so a lot of fixed income investing is liability-based investing. And those types of investors, you're not -- they're going to be -- they're not unhappy with rising rates if their liabilities are moving alongside with that. So that's why we're here to say there's going to be a rotation, but it -- and it could be large in some segments of fixed income owners and in some segments, it is going to be much less.

Michael Carrier - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Okay, that's helpful. And then just as a follow-up, you mentioned some of the volatility in May and June and how the ETFs performed. Just on the fixed income side, you mentioned the relationship with MarketAxess, you guys announced something with TradeWeb. Just during that same period of time in May and June, just given the regulations, dealers holding less inventory, any insight in terms of, as a big fixed income player, how the markets performed? And based on those relationships, what you guys are trying to do longer term?

Laurence Douglas Fink

Sure. That's not related to iShares. I mean, but one thing is very clear, that people are using -- I think one of the big trends that I think even surprise me, many investors use iShares in fixed income for beta exposure. Sometimes some investors used to use some form of derivatives and swaps and other forms of options, now they're using ETFs. So that's one of the things that was designed. There was no question during, I guess, those few moments during late June. There were periods of pretty poor liquidity in the fixed income markets, especially in credit. I'm not particularly alarmed about this. I think the Street has done a very good job to try to manage their balance sheet issues, managing their leverage ratio issues, managing their capital issues. We, as long-term investors, are going to have to deal with this. This is why, I believe, more and more fixed income will be traded on electronic platforms in the coming years, and I think we'll find a new source of liquidity. But in the short run, there are bouts of illiquidity, that's the entire market. And I just want to underscore the cash part of the market, the ETF component of the market, I mean, we saw periods of time of illiquidity. But as I reflect now in less -- in more calm periods today, what I'm particularly surprised at how well the exchanges and the market participants of fixed income ETFs performed. As I said, we saw $1 billion of flows in one day, the creates and redeems worked very well. There was periods of time during the day where there were appearances of discounts, but all that was, was a indication of where the cash market was going. And obviously, there is many cases in which, in global bonds, where markets were closed overseas and the ETF market from that close looked like a discount, but it was really telegraphing where the markets were going to go the next morning. And so we were -- I mean, we were very pleased with how they performed. Nevertheless, as the market leader, we are doing whatever we can to assure as great a market liquidity as possible. It is our responsibility to educate and to inform to making sure that we have a more liquid market. But the overall fixed income market is going through this evolutionary change now as Wall Street is relying less on balance sheet, spending much more time on flow. They're dealing -- they're developing their own electronic trading platforms, MarketAxess is another one. And as long-term investors, this is something we're all going to have to live with and adapt.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Marc Irizarry with Goldman Sachs.

Marc S. Irizarry - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

So just following up on fixed income allocations from institutions, just in terms of going from maybe core to non-core products, how are fixed income ETFs playing into those discussions? And just following on, on some of the discussions around the -- what sounds like sort of market dislocations, if you will, that were temporary versus sort of tracking our long-term for fixed income. Maybe you could talk about sort of the market share opportunity?

Laurence Douglas Fink

Mark Wiedman's here, and he's going to be able to answer that question in a lot more granularity than I can. So Mark, why don't you answer that?

Mark K. Wiedman

Marc, there are 2 things, I think, implicit in your question. Let me address them separately. The first is about growing adoption by what I would call fixed income specialists of fixed income ETFs. So historically, the users of fixed income ETFs have been wealth managers and asset allocators. I call them generalist investors. And that's where the bulk even today of our fixed income ETF holdings are. What's the big transformation that's occurring is we're seeing fixed income specialists who control, I don't know, 98%, 99% of the global fixed income assets, actually starting to use fixed income ETFs in their portfolios. For liquidity purposes, they're using them for tactical positioning. It's our aspiration with the iSharesBond launch that we actually penetrate beyond the tactical position into longer buy-and-hold segments, whether they'd be an insurance, or bank, or corporate balance sheet, or individuals around the world. So that's the broad trend, and we see it every day. It gets a bit masked when you see people flowing out of an asset class because it looks like they're exiting the ETF. What they're doing is using the ETF, and again, those tactical traders, for the exact purpose for which they bought it, which is the ability to get out quickly when they want to. The second question you're addressing is the -- I think, Larry used the appearance, I think that's the right word of a gap between the underlying and the ETF price. And I think the issue here is volatility you can see versus volatility you can't. What ETFs do is they shine a light on intraday volatility in the underlying asset class, the cash market, the underlying securities. And so an optical gap can open up in the short term versus net asset value, which is the industry convention by which, for example, even ETFs report the value. But it's important to understand that's because the NAV depends on historical pricing. It's a disciplined conservative tool for valuing securities at the last known transaction price. The problem is in fast-moving markets, those prices go stale. So if you're talking about, let's take the example of overnight equities, emerging market equities or Japanese equities, for example. The ETFs will keep repricing based on news during the day. And we've seen this historically in 2011 after the nuclear disaster in Japan, we saw it recently with the sell-off in Japan, that our leading ETFs for Japan, EWJ, keeps trading as if it's a continuous market with the Nikkei in Tokyo. So that's the first part. The second thing is on the bonds, is understand that the prices in the NAV are recorded at historical last transaction. What that means is that, for example, in our high-yield ETF, the leading one, HYG, 30% of the underlying securities are priced at a security -- at NAVs 3 months or more old, 30% of those prices are 3 months or more old. That's the industry convention, it's how we price our ETFs for disciplined conservative valuation practices. But it creates optical illusions versus the underlying cash markets, because there are securities in which there actually just haven't been transactions. So that's the basic issue. We believe our securities have performed -- actually, our ETFs in particularly high-yield and emerging market performed better than they ever have. And that's why our clients are actually happy to be using them and that's why we're happy to be -- that's our key takeaway.

Marc S. Irizarry - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then if you can just give some color on your EM -- on active EM business both in equity and debt. Obviously, we saw -- we've seen a pretty good bout of volatility here. Are you sensing or seeing from your clients any change in thinking about being active in EM versus passive in their allocations toward EM?

Laurence Douglas Fink

No, I think that those are who are -- a core group of our investors believe that active management EM is part of their core philosophy, and this is why we've been so aggressive in building our EM fixed income team and our EM equity team. And EM and also, as I suggested, our EM alternatives. What we did, we have a $500 million win in our EM fixed income team. This is on the active side. As I talked about Andrew Swan in terms of his outperformance in a component of that. But there are another core group of investors, and some of them, official institutions. They're investing in EM principally through a beta product. And so our job, as I've said for many quarters, is to provide an active solution and a beta solution. But Marc, I have not seen any dramatic shift out of beta into active or vice versa. I think those who are -- who believe in active will continue to invest in active, and those who believe in -- who want exposure and they're not as concerned about excess performance they're going to go into beta.

Marc S. Irizarry - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then just, Larry, on the active equity business, the flow trends, they look like they decelerate or improved sequentially a little bit. How much of the improvement is sort of redemptions slowing versus wins in active equity? Are you seeing sort of the end of the bout of redemptions, or is it gross sales are picking up or...

Laurence Douglas Fink

I think a lot of the redemptions are the component of when we transition our managers, we expect large outflows. And so some of -- so obviously, that's behind us. Our investors are starting to see the positive turnaround. We have probably more dialogue than ever before. Some of our trends, we are seeing continued flows in European equities where we have a 5-, 3- and 1-year track record that's in top quartile. And so we're -- so some of it is a combination of both. But the other thing that we're seeing -- we continue to see more and more interest in multi-assets where clients are looking for equity exposure but in a more of a multi-asset type of strategy where you could navigate around. So -- and the other thing is it's undeniable, our scientific active equity team has had great results. I expected to start seeing more inflows, but we're not seeing any outflows as you suggested. So I think it's fair to say our -- the outflow drag is probably behind us, and now it's opportunity.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Robert Lee with KBW.

Robert Lee - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division

Quick question, just going back to the capital management, really on the debt side. I'm just curious, how are you thinking about managing kind of the debt side of the ledger? I mean, I think you had around $750 million of some notes that matured. I mean, should we expect that the objective is to kind of chip away at outstanding debt over time as part of the capital management strategy?

Gary S. Shedlin

Rob, it's Gary. So our next maturity is in December, so we're basically a little more than a year away from that, and that's about $1 billion. So we're obviously monitoring. There's the constant tradeoff -- I'd say there's 2 trade-offs. One is basically trying to basically get a feel for, obviously, where we think rates are going to go and spreads over the next 16 months, so we're going to be very mindful of that. But we're also mindful of the negative carry. So we're going to try and balance base -- both of those items in terms of trying to have an outlook and understand the negative carry. But we're certainly not going to play that too cute. So whether it's next month or it's 6 to 8 months from now, that remains to be seen based on our continued analysis, but we're very mindful of it.

Robert Lee - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division

Yes, I know you don't -- you guys didn't provide the balance sheet, but -- and I could be mistaken. I guess, I thought you may have some floating rate notes that matured back in April or May, and I'm just kind of curious how you...

Gary S. Shedlin

Those were pre-refinanced last year at the time of the Barclays buyback.

Robert Lee - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division

Okay, great. Another follow-up question on Aladdin. Just want to make sure I understand how some of the new business flows. You talked about having pretty strong pipeline and expecting double-digit growth there. Am I right in assuming that there's some upfront costs as you bring on those mandates so that maybe it takes a while for profitability on the new mandates to flow through in that. With that, and given the strong growth you've had there in the last couple of years, should we really be expecting maybe some acceleration over the coming year or so in the Aladdin's growth?

Laurence Douglas Fink

Well, as we said, both Gary and I said, we expect double-digit revenue growth. Obviously, it's lumpier. So over course of the year, we expect that. We've signed 5 new mandates in the first quarter and 5 new mandates in the second quarter. We have never seen this type of volume. And we are about to sign one of the largest mandates we've ever had. As I said, more and more institutions are looking to take on Aladdin as their risk management solution. And this is asset managers, this is official institutions, insurance companies, and so we continue to see huge upside and opportunity to build Aladdin. We crossed about another $14 trillion mark in terms of assets that we are now analyzing risk on behalf of our clients. It continues to be an industry leader. And I believe as an industry leader, because of the increased regulatory issues that we all have to face, having a risk system that is across product, that encapsulates regional issues, regional differences, compliance issues, it allows investors, especially the more regulated investors, to deal with the regulatory compliance in a far better way that they would have otherwise. Especially in Europe, as you have each country now adapting regulatory issues a little differently. And so the regulatory issues that we are all facing, BlackRock included, is enormous. And if we did not have at BlackRock -- I'm going to speak for ourselves for a second, if we did not have a monoline platform of risk management, risk understanding, a monoline platform of -- in terms of trade entry, trade discovery, inventory management, we would have far more difficulties. And I think one of the reasons why we continue to have better than industry average in margins has been because of having this technology in face of all the regulatory added needs that we have to face. Our competitors who are asset managers, obviously, have the same issues. They are now becoming our clients. They are faced the same issues, and they're trying to achieve the same type of simplicity and operating structure that we have at BlackRock, and we're happy to make them our clients.

Gary S. Shedlin

And Rob, I would just add, just specifically that the year-over-year comparison in terms of it being up 5%, I think was your question, is definitely the result of timing and recognition of renewals and implementation fees. So there's no question there's some timing issues in there. And to Larry's point on the pipeline, I'd say the one really very good piece of news is while we're adding -- we added 5 clients in the first quarter and 5 new clients in the second quarter, the run rate of revenues for that group of clients is increasing fairly dramatically. And in fact, in the pipeline, as Larry mentioned, the run rate of those new clients is even greater than the second quarter.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Bill Katz with Citigroup.

William R. Katz - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

In terms of the money market forum [ph], you didn't really talk -- you touched on it. I know you covered it at the Analyst Day recently, but there's been a little bit more movement maybe by the IRS, and I'm just curious, what's been the feedback from your client base as they've had a chance to ruminate a little bit on some of the proposed change by the SEC, and what might be the behavior around any of these changes?

Laurence Douglas Fink

As I said during the Investor Day, I don't think we're going to see that much change. I think this has been so well telegraphed. If we get the IRS changes as you suggested, we need to deal well with [ph] changes. That's something that's going to be very important. So if we get these changes, which I think are coming forth, we have been working very closely with the regulators. As they finalize this, they've asked for our input as they've asked for other people's input. We've been -- we're providing input to the regulators from input that we have had from our clients. As I said, this is so well telegraphed. We're going to have some clients who are going to have to move probably close -- more to the government-oriented funds because they require some form of guarantee, some sort of backstop, or they -- and they have to have a constant NAV. Some clients are going to be able to adapt to have a floating NAV. And the reality is, Bill, because we publish every day, now, what our NAV is, it really has almost like a implied floating NAV even today. And as our clients are watching, all the clients that are in money market funds are saying how the NAV is staying much more constant. The industry has done a very good job of self-policing itself. And so I think much of this is already in the marketplace. One last thing, we have the final comment letter is due in September. And as I've said, we're getting feedback and we're providing that feedback to the regulators from our clients. But as I said Investor Day, I'm very calm about this.

William R. Katz - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

That's helpful. And then a quick question for Gary. I heard you on the $250 million is a good run rate in terms of repurchased. But with the stock trading where it's at right now and your earnings building, how are you thinking about that on a go-forward basis? And I guess the real question is, as you think about the share count, should we expect that to continue to migrate lower, or will that start to stabilize at this point?

Gary S. Shedlin

I think we're obviously going to continue to try and be as consistent and predictable in terms of our capital management policy, Bill, as we possibly can. As I said, the run rate for the moment, I think we feel very comfortable with the $250 million a quarter. We're going to try and be really systematic about that as opposed to overwhelmingly opportunistic. And so with that, I would expect for, basically, the second, the third and fourth quarter, you'll expect the share count to come down and obviously, generally kind of gets offset in the first quarter of the year based on employee comp issuance. But overall, you're going to see that count continue to come down.

Laurence Douglas Fink

Yes. I -- we have not discussed this with our board. This is a discussion that we would have probably in our later board meetings. But it's very clear that as long as we generate the free cash flow that we are generating, Bill, which obviously will grow as we grow earnings, it would be my expectation the board would authorize us to continue with the process of reducing our share count. But I mean, obviously, that's subject to conversation. And we do have board authorization for, what? 7 million, 8 million more shares outstanding right now. But right now, our board has agreed to the current rate that we are purchasing right now. But just pay attention to our free cash flow, and we don't need to discuss anymore.

William R. Katz - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Okay. Just one point of clarification. The $6 billion that you've got on iShares quarter-to-date, did you provide dynamics to where that's coming into in terms of products? I'm sorry, I might have missed that.

Laurence Douglas Fink

No, we did not. I mean, it's all public data. Mark, why don't you just quickly answer that.

Mark K. Wiedman

It's broadly distributed, I can -- I don't have off-hand the numbers for Core Series by assets. The -- into where they come, but we see -- I give you one example of how the Core Series is achieving its purpose relative to more high velocity trading vehicles. We launched IEMG, which is our low-cost broad EM exposure vehicle. Lower liquidity doesn't have the derivatives ecology of its big sister EEM. IEMG launched in October. It's nearing $2 billion. That money kept flowing in even during massive outflows out of EEM. And what that shows is, there's 2 different segments: there are consistent buyers coming in a trickle, and then you see other buyers or -- and sellers who are moving in and out much faster. So I would say, look at the Core Series for a long-term investment trend, so we can get you that data, it's out there, public. And then for -- you look for more fast money as products like EEM and HYG.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line with Matt Kelley with Morgan Stanley.

Matthew Kelley - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Just 2 quick ones for me. So I'd just be curious to get your comments on the demand for allocation funds from -- segmented into institutional and retail demand. So as you think about financial advisers and you think about institutions, where is kind of the increase or decrease at the margin and pickup in demand? And how your EM allocation fund is fitting in within that so far as well?

Laurence Douglas Fink

You mean the EM [ph] allocation fund part that we announced -- that we discussed? So where we see clients looking for BlackRock to do the allocation, these are generally fiduciary mandates where we are working alongside with them and we are working with them, and we're seeing a rise in fiduciary types of businesses. But I mean, principally, these allocation types of products are retail-oriented products. That's what they're designed for, or that's where we're seeing, in the RIA channel and other channels where clients are looking to have these types of products. In Global Al, obviously, that's a very large scale retail product and it's expanding now in their RIA channel in itself. And so one should not expect large-scale institutional monies moving into these type of products. But for those clients who are looking for investor decisions as a fiduciary, that will be -- continue to be a larger business of ours. In fact, in this week's P&I, there's a whole article about fiduciary business, talking about how that's a growth area in the investment management business. So that's where we're going to continue to see that. And the other area where we see it, Matt, is in our Defined contribution and our LifePath business, where, as I said earlier, we had another $4 billion of growth, $7 billion over the quarter. And this is where we are taking that investment decision or allocation process.

Matthew Kelley - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Okay, great. And then as a follow-up, I saw some news out that BlackRock's considering the launch of a Swiss fund range. So I'm just -- I'm curious and I know that's something you guys touched on in the Swiss market at your Investor Day. So when you think about that, how have you -- what have you set up and what do you still need to set up? Are all the pieces in place, now it's just about kind of execution and distribution?

Laurence Douglas Fink

Mark, I mean...

Mark K. Wiedman

I think what you're referring to is we acquired the Crédit Suisse ETF platform. That gave us a platform in Switzerland. The primary rationale for that was they're offering Swiss ETFs to Swiss buyers who, for tax reasons, can't by UCITS funds. But it's important to understand that gives us a foundation which we will be building on for offering a broader Swiss complement beyond just ETFs in Switzerland.

Matthew Kelley - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Okay, great. And then just to follow up on that. I was actually referring to the broader launch. I'm not sure if that's something you guys can kind of comment on.

Laurence Douglas Fink

Well, in Switzerland, we continue -- we're a big believer in Switzerland. We believe whether it's in Swiss francs, whether it's specifically the investment management platform that we have in Switzerland, our -- I think you're referring to, our Swiss country manager spoke about launching of some Swiss-oriented product, Swiss-based, and that's just a continuation of our desire to build a stronger presence in Switzerland.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Ken Worthington with JPMorgan.

Kenneth B. Worthington - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

First on sort of Barclays AGG versus unconstrained, how much capacity do you think there is in this unconstrained market? It seems very intuitive that you'd see the switch from core to alternative. But I guess, is there enough supply to absorb this meaningful potential demand?

Laurence Douglas Fink

From my perspective, the investment process is no different than managing an Agg. Obviously, it requires more flexibility, a lot more technology, making sure you're managing to the level of risk that you want to take. But there are many competitors in this product. JPMorgan has a great product. PIMCO has a product, our product, so I believe the capacity in the industry is in the trillions. I think this is going to be a very large component of the future bond market, and I look to the key participants to be a big player in it. We just -- we happened, as you've noted in your research report, we have really great 1- and 3-year performance, and we continue to drive great performance in this area and we're continuing to see accelerated flows in these products.

Kenneth B. Worthington - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Great. And then 2Q, I think you opened your prepared remarks, saw 2 very to different markets. April and May was very different than June. And I think it was mentioned that the tone with many clients has not changed. But I assume with some clients, it has changed. I'd say, maybe first, with which clients have the conversation or the tone changed, and what actions do you expect them to take because of the change in rates, particularly on the unintuitive side? You mentioned like Barclays AGG to unconstrained. But I guess, are there other areas where you're seeing leading indicators for change, whether it'd be like dividend stocks or real estate or FX products by retail or institutional. So any other things worth highlighting there outside of the unconstrained versus Barclays Agg?

Laurence Douglas Fink

Yes, I think when we see these shifts in attitude, when you see 100-basis-point movements in rates, you certainly have an accelerated dialogue with your clients. So even our most deliberative clients who are looking at long-term solutions, they require a lot of hand holding also, and they ask many questions. But overall, as I've said, institutionally, we did not see much behavior change. As I've said and reiterated, the dialogue we're having related to movement out of core products into unconstrained is one consistent dialogue. But I would say 2 or 3 more trends that we had with our clients. One is, we continue to see more questions related to bar belling. The volatility remind clients -- it frightens clients, that markets can move very rapidly, very violently. So bar belling becomes a bigger component of what the clients are asking. They're looking -- as a result of that, we have not seen any slowdown in the use of index products or beta products. We are also seeing more and more clients looking for more uncorrelated type of products, equity, fixed income and other types of products. So some of our alternative products, we have a lot dialogue in that. But the key there, I think, is every time you have these bouts, clients have to relook at how much illiquidity they can afford. And so one of the key things that I think clients -- why they're moving towards more beta products is these bouts of illiquidity frighten them, and you just have more structural liquidity in index-based products. And that trend has not changed. The other thing that -- but on the same side, as the indication of the bar belling, we have more than $3 billion of illiquid commitments in our pipeline. So we continue to see the same type of behavior. But the need for hand holding, the need to talk about long-term solutions became more and more apparent during these bouts of illiquidity and during the great change in rates and the psychology of rates. But we have not seen much behavior change in dividend stocks. I think globally, you still continue to see -- you didn't see any real outflows in dividend stocks as the industry. I think there are great example of showing less beta. They certainly show less beta on the upside and they showed less beta downside during the market setback, and now we're back to almost close to the highs again. Ken, the key for us is to provide consistency in our messaging to our clients. And as I said, our hand holding has to be consistent and we have to -- we have to talk to our clients above the noise. Now in ETFs, I think Mark and his team had -- because Mark and his team deals with a lot of clients who are more in a component of the iShares, it's more of the fast-trading people. His team had to have very different dialogues. So it really -- once again, it speaks loudly of the diversity of our clients at BlackRock, but the core institutional clients' behavior didn't change. Obviously, we saw a lot of hand-holding need in retail. And probably, the greatest hand-holding needs were in the iShares area where we saw the extreme volatility, where people were using these products for beta exposure. And in the case of June, it was negative beta exposure, not positive beta exposure. That's okay.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Luke Montgomery with Sanford Bernstein.

Luke Montgomery - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

You've touched a lot of already on the ongoing debate about whether ETFs help or hurt liquidity during times stress. I think particularly with an asset class like fixed income where underlying OTC liquidity is thin and getting thinner. If I could ask you to be as objective as possible, to what extent would you acknowledge that we're in unchartered territory? This is an open question. And do you think that naysayers make any good points, and what could go wrong here that would damage the reputation of ETF vehicle in the mind of investors, and what keeps you up at night?

Laurence Douglas Fink

This is a great question. I'm going to listen to Mark first and I'll give my response after.

Mark K. Wiedman

I think that I would say the first thing is we have learned we have a lot more work to do in educating clients and other stakeholders about how these vehicles behave, what does the current market price actually represent versus, as I mentioned, the asset values and the like. So a lot of work in educating people how the tools work. The good news is the clients who use the tools are very happy with how they actually perform. So that's the good news. But there's a lot of work in educating a very broad group of people, including clients, about how the actual vehicles work. I think one of the things that I think is underlying is that expectations of market liquidity and ETFs require a little bit of clarification. The minimum liquidity of an ETF is the underlying liquidity of the asset class less arbitrage cost. That's the minimum liquidity. So if the underlying is illiquid, the ETF itself also might be illiquid. But some ETFs create additional secondary liquidity, which Larry mentioned, aggregate [ph] EEM, for example, $5 billion. We see it everyday with our Russell 2000 product, IWM, which trades huge sums every day, which you can never trade in the underlying. So there's additional liquidity creation. Those are the kinds of -- that distinction there, I think it's important for people to understand, so if you're trading in a obscure asset class like some Yemeni securities, you should expect that the ETF will also be illiquid.

Laurence Douglas Fink

We don't trade in those.

Matthew J. Mallow

We don't trade in those. Not yet. Basically that ETF will also be illiquid. It doesn't, by just becoming an ETF, have magical liquidity. I think that key distinction is the number one thing we need to get out there in the marketplace for people to properly understand how these vehicles are supposed to perform.

Laurence Douglas Fink

I would just add, the markets -- there's heightened scrutiny of ETFs right now, which I actually believe is a good thing. There is no question during the moments of stress, there was heightened inquiry related to the flows and the quality of the markets of ETFs. We welcome this type of scrutiny. It's this type of scrutiny that, in my mind, helps us strengthen the market for the future. I am not here to suggest I don't lose sleep over our commitments in the ETF market. It is a large commitment. We have a lot of responsibility for the fluidity of this market, for the success of this market. And I don't take that responsibility lightly, and I know Mark and his team does not take that responsibility lightly. We believe the potential ETFs, as we stated in some of BlackRock research, would be greater than $2 trillion. We believe this will continue to grow. And so that responsibility is only greater to assure that this market performs as we describe. And as Mark suggested, it requires a lot of education. And that -- and education can go only so far. But we need to make sure that our regulators are updated continuously, we have to make sure that all our competitors are taking that fiduciary responsibility as importantly as we do, we need to make sure that the quality of the products can withstand the test of time, the test of bouts of illiquidity and the test of time of variances of the markets. If we can achieve that, the trends that we see by investor behavior, the ETF market will be more than $2 trillion, which is a great opportunity for the entire market. Mark is now telling me $5 trillion.

Mark K. Wiedman

Yes, we're at $2 trillion now globally. We're going to $5 trillion.

Laurence Douglas Fink

Excuse me, I knew where the $2 trillion came from, but up to $5 trillion. And so there's a great opportunity to continue to build that. And as I've said, from our viewpoint, despite the noise, the ETF market performed very well, especially when you consider the underlying illiquidity. And it's so important to note, and I have to reiterate it, because I think that point was not understood. The fact that we were able to trade $5 billion at EEM without creating or redeeming, adds $5 billion of market liquidity. So you didn't have to put $5 billion of stocks into the marketplace. And I think that's a very important component of these products. And I should also remind people, when you have, at the end of the day, big inflows or outflows of mutual funds, you don't have that recreate and redeem, that then results, if there's redeems, that then creates outflows and stock pressure. So let's not think of iShares or ETFs as something very different. It's just flowing 24/7 or during the market time opening, whereas in the mutual fund side, it's at the end of the day. I'm just trying to say, the markets are very similar, one's just more transparent. But having the ability to do that creates and redeem through the market makers is a very powerful differentiating feature.

I think that's the last of the questions, operator, is that correct?

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the allotted time for questions. Mr. Fink, do you have any closing remarks?

Laurence Douglas Fink

No. As I've said repeatedly, what makes me very proud in leading this firm is the diversification of our platform, our multi-client platform having multi-products, global distribution, risk management. In times where we saw big outflows in one business, we saw big inflows in another business, really illuminates how this platform has been built and really allows us to be a very differentiated player in the world of investing. Thank you, everyone. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for all the time you've given us today. Have a good quarter.

Operator

This concludes today's teleconference. You may now disconnect.

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Source: BlackRock, Inc. (BLK) CEO Discusses Q2 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

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