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BlackRock’s Larry Fink Says War to Speed Shift to Green Energy, Digital Currencies

(Bloomberg) —

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to accelerate the global shift to green energy and the use of digital currencies, according to BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink.

In his annual letter to shareholders, Fink said while the war will “inevitably slow” the move to net-zero in the immediate term, it will speed up the use of renewable energy sources in the longer term.

Larry Fink, chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc., gestures while speaking at the Handelsblatt Banking Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said that the bank’s most radical revamp in years is set to deliver higher returns for investors, even as it grapples with the prospect of lower interest rates and a slumping German economy.

“We’ve already seen European policy makers promoting investment in renewables as an important component of energy security,” Fink, 69, said. “More than ever, countries that don’t have their own energy sources will need to fund and develop them– which for many will mean investing in wind and solar power.”

On digital currencies, Fink said the war will prompt countries to reconsider their reliance on traditional money and payment systems. “A global digital payment system, thoughtfully designed, can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption,” Fink said. 

In a sign of the growing importance of digital currencies, Fink said BlackRock is now studying how they and stablecoins can be used to help clients.

Other highlights from the letter:

  • “Challenging” financial markets have taken a toll on BlackRock shares, he said, adding “as a significant owner of BlackRock shares myself, I share your disappointment in our stock’s performance.” BlackRock is down 20% this year, compared with a 6.5% decline for the S&P 500 index
  • The war is worsening the highest inflation in decades and rising prices will pose a challenge to central banks that “they haven’t faced in decades”
  • While the flexibility to work at home part of the time will continue as the pandemic subsides, Fink said he thinks “working together, collaborating and developing our people in person is essential for BlackRock’s future”

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