BlackRock, the world’s largest manager of assets, starting in September has been sending teams of executives to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his officials. In December BlackRock CEO Larry Fink in a phone call reached a tentative agreement with Zelensky to coordinate major reconstruction investment in the war-ravaged country.
A call readout at that time confirmed that the two would “focus in the near term on coordinating the efforts of all potential investors and participants in the reconstruction of our country, channelling investment into the most relevant and impactful sectors of the Ukrainian economy.”
Now multiple meetings later, amid growing visibility, the initiative is being met with a degree of controversy and pushback from some sectors of the Ukrainian public as well as international commentators. This as another high-level meeting took place Friday in Kiev, which included BlackRock’s vice chairman and member of the asset management firm’s global executive committee Philipp Hildebrand.
Bloomberg described the latest meeting as follows:
BlackRock Financial Market Advisory will provide services for the fund, according to an emailed statement from Zelenskiy’s office. The fund will seek private and public capital for projects in Ukraine after active hostilities end.
“We can offer interesting projects for investments in energy, agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, IT and many other sectors,” Zelenskiy said. “We want global partners, who can provide us with large investments to come.”
One international online financial publication took note of a selection of the negative reactions among pundits, including social media statements which said: “Taxpayers pay the war bills, private firms get the profits,” and “Ukraine [is] being privatized and sold off to companies like BlackRock.”