Northern Trust has entered into a strategic alliance with BlackRock to deliver enhanced operations, data, and servicing capabilities to mutual clients.

The move is part of Northern Trust’s continuing strategy to provide integrated products, services and technology across the entire investment lifecycle, it announced.

These new capabilities, delivered through Aladdin, BlackRock’s investment management and operations platform, provide clients with increased efficiency, interoperability and transparency across the back, middle and front office, Northern Trust said.

The relationship with BlackRock currently supports mutual clients and is an extension of Northern Trust Whole Office, an approach that integrates Northern Trust’s global asset servicing platform with innovative partners, facilitating client access to new technologies, services and solutions.

Pete Cherecwich, president of corporate & institutional services at Northern Trust, said: “Our Whole Office ecosystem delivers global asset owners and asset managers scale, efficiency, flexibility and optionality, ultimately enabling more informed investment decision making.”

Rob Goldstein, BlackRock’s chief operating officer and head of BlackRock Solutions, said: “The current climate has once again demonstrated the importance of data symmetry and streamlining communication across the investment lifecycle from the asset manager to the asset servicer.”

“BlackRock and Northern Trust are committed to providing increased transparency, accuracy and operating model flexibility for our mutual clients, leveraging our joint capabilities through Aladdin Provider,” he added.

The partnership will provide the following solutions:

  • Outsourced trade execution for asset managers and owners, and a digital and service platform for global asset allocators;
  • Currency management and FX algorithmic trading;
  • Integration with industry trading platforms;
  • Collateral optimization, risk analytics and digital innovation for asset servicing.

“We are following a very clear strategic pathway. We will continue to enhance our capabilities and add future functionality through a combination of buy, build or partner with best-in-class providers to benefit our global asset manager and asset owner clients,” Cherecwich said.

He added that the partnership is “offering a best of all worlds proposition: we don’t need to own every underlying technology or capability. We embrace the integration of partner technology solutions and services with Northern Trust’s proprietary infrastructure to help our clients drive their businesses and ultimately optimize performance.”

Finance groups sign up for tobacco-free pledge

Amundi Asset Management, in conjunction with insurers Crédit Agricole Assurances and CNP Assurances Group, in addition to French retail bank Crédit Agricole, have signed the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge.

Launched 18 months ago by Tobacco Free Portfolios with 93 founding signatories with combined assets under management of $6trn (€5.4trn), it now has 137 signatories across 22 countries, with combined AUM of more than $10trn.

Yves Perrier, Amundi’s CEO, said: “Amundi’s global approach to ESG is best in class. We nevertheless embark targeted exclusions on controversial sectors, such as certain armament and coal.”

He said that in October 2018 the firm decided to “give a strong signal to the market by capping the ESG rating of tobacco companies to E, that is the second worst grade before full exclusion on our scoring scale.”

Amundi’s policy applies to the entire tobacco sector, from suppliers to cigarettes makers to distributors, he added. “Today, we decided to go one step further and exclude cigarettes makers from our actively managed open-ended funds,” he said.

The first adopters of the Pledge Stamp include ABN AMRO, AMP Capital, AP4, Australian Ethical Investment, AXA Group, BNP Paribas, Care Super, Carmignac, Cbus Super, Elevate Super, First State Super, GuildSuper, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, HESTA, Local Government Super, Natixis, NGS Super, Skandia, Storebrand Asset Management, TelstraSuper, VicSuper, among others.

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