BlackRock to Buy SpiderRock as Firm Expands Wealth Management

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(Bloomberg) — BlackRock Inc. said it’s acquiring SpiderRock Advisors, an asset-management and technology firm, to expand its customized investing strategies to wealthy clients.

The deal will increase BlackRock’s ability to offer tax-efficient investment services — especially those that rely on options trading, BlackRock said in a statement Friday. In 2021, the asset manager made a minority investment SpiderRock, which oversees about $4.8 billion of assets for investment advisers, family offices and other clients.

SpiderRock “can provide advisers with a comprehensive suite of customization capabilities that help solve clients’ unique challenges, such as income generation, downside protection, and tax-efficiency through the use of options,” Eve Cout, head of portfolio design and solutions in BlackRock’s US Wealth Advisory business, said in the statement.

The asset management industry is increasingly seeking to provide strategies to wealth-management clients that respond to personalized investing demands, provide access to private and illiquid assets or limit taxes. After a decade in which investors gravitated to low-cost index funds, managers are emphasizing the benefit that can come from more actively managed strategies in a market with higher inflation and interest rates.

Separately managed accounts are a fast-growing segment in the US wealth industry — with assets expected to increase to about $4 trillion by 2026 from $2.7 trillion in the third quarter of 2023, BlackRock said in the statement, citing data from Cerulli Associates.

The acquisition is part of a series of deals by the world’s largest asset manager to become a one-stop shop for ETFs, mutual funds, financial markets advice and alternative assets. The company bought Kreos Capital last year to fuel its growth in private debt and announced its biggest deal in more than a decade in January, when it said it would acquire Global Infrastructure Partners for $12.5 billion.

The SpiderRock transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, and no financial terms were disclosed.

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