conspiracy theories

FACT CHECK: BlackRock does not ‘own’ all businesses worldwide

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FACT CHECK: BlackRock does not ‘own’ all businesses worldwide 
The US investment company BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, managing about $10 trillion in assets, but these are owned by its clients, not the firm

Claim: US investment company BlackRock owns all the businesses in the world.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video was posted by a Filipino YouTube channel with 384,000 subscribers which purports to be an investigative outlet with a religious slant. As of writing, the video has 5,027 views and 280 likes.

The title of the video bears the claim: “Pinaka-powerful na kumpanyang hawak ang lahat ng negosyo sa buong mundo at Pinas, baka [pati] buhay mo” (The most powerful company that controls all the world’s businesses, maybe even your life).

Misleading claims: Contrary to the claim, the US investment company BlackRock does not “own” all the businesses in the world. While the firm does hold significant shares in several of the world’s biggest companies – particularly major American corporations like Apple – BlackRock uses the assets of its clients to make these investments. This means that the shares are owned not by BlackRock, but by its clients.

“BlackRock itself is not a shareholder,” a company spokesperson told Reuters. “The owners of these securities are our clients, through their investments made on their behalf via the funds managed by BlackRock.”

The company itself claims: “The assets under management (AUM) are owned by clients. They are generally held by third-party custodians selected by – and with contractual obligations to – these clients….As such, asset managers do not have physical control or direct access to clients’ assets.”

What is BlackRock?: BlackRock is an American multinational investment company founded by businessman Laurence Fink with seven other partners in 1988. Since its founding, the company has rapidly grown by acquiring clients and several asset management companies, as well as through strategic movements in the stock market.

The company also owes much of its success to the creation and use of its analysis system Aladdin, which helps the company analyze various economic factors, such as global economy data, stock market prices, and historical trends, to help its asset managers optimize clients’ investment decisions. 

Largest asset manager: The video claims that BlackRock became the largest and most powerful company in the world in only three decades since its inception; this claim is both unsubstantiated and inaccurate. Instead, BlackRock can be more accurately described as the world’s largest asset manager, with the company reporting a record $10.5 trillion assets under management in the first quarter of 2024. 

According to Forbes’ 22nd annual Global 2000 ranking, financial holding company JPMorgan Chase topped the list of the world’s largest public companies, with its market capitalization of $550 billion market cap and $4 trillion in assets. The Forbes list ranks the largest companies in the world based on the following metrics: sales, profits, assets, and market value.

Debunked by other sources: BlackRock has been the subject of many conspiracy theories in the past few years, with most of them fear-mongering about the company’s supposed control of the global economy. Such misleading claims have been debunked by organizations such as Reuters and AFP Fact Check. – Miguel Batallones/

Miguel Batallones is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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