Former McKinsey partner Sandy Boss joins BlackRock

07 May 2020 3 min. read
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Global investment manager Blackrock has appointed Sandy Boss as its new Global Head of Investment Stewardship. Boss arrives following spells at the Bank of England, and consulting giant McKinsey & Company, where she was a Senior Partner specialising in investment banking.

BlackRock is a US headquartered investment management corporation, based in New York City. Founded in 1988, it initially served as a risk management and fixed income institutional asset manager, but has gone on to become the world's largest asset manager, with $7.4 trillion in assets under management as of end of 2019.

As the asset management giant steps up its efforts to promote sustainable investing among clients and investee companies, BlackRock has recruited Sandy Boss as its Global Head of Investment Stewardship. Boss takes on the role vacated by Barbara Novick, who is becoming a Senior Advisor. Boss will lead the investment industry’s largest stewardship team – which has more than doubled to 47 people over the past decade – and spearhead BlackRock’s engagement with investee companies, an activity that expanded significantly on Novick’s watch. She will report to Larry Fink, Chief Executive of the New York-listed fund group.

Sandy Boss, BlackRock

Fink commented on the news, “Investment stewardship has always been core to BlackRock and its responsibility as a fiduciary. In recent years, this importance has only grown… Clients’ expectations have sharpened, and our stewardship has become central to how societies around the world judge our social contribution.”

For the last six year, Boss has worked at the Bank of England, serving as an external member of the Prudential Risk Committee. Prior to that, she was a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where she specialised in investment banking and risk. After joining in 1994, Boss held several senior management positions in both the US and the UK, and acted as an adviser to global banks and financial institutions, as well as public sector and industry bodies.

Boss’ appointment comes as BlackRock faces criticism for its mounting influence regarding new environmentally friendly finance rules. Earlier in 2020, the group secured a €280,000 mandate with the European Commission to advise on a project about integrating sustainability into banking regulation – but a number of observers believe this exposes BlackRock to irreconcilable conflicts of interest, as it has a role as a leading investor in large banks and oil companies that will be required to comply with the more rigorous environmental standards which the EU plans to introduce to combat global warming.

The alleged conflict saw a coalition of 92 pressure groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth write to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, urging her to cancel the Commission’s contract with BlackRock. The letter stated BlackRock was “not in a position to offer any kind of credibly neutral expert advice” on environmental issues, while its appointment raised the risk that crucial sustainable banking measures would end up being derailed.