BlackRock, the largest money manager in the U.S. with more than $6.2 trillion in assets, recently hired a Citibank executive to lead its continued foray into wealth management.
Venu Krishnamurthy, who was most recently the U.S. Head of Citigold and Citi Priority client segments, as well as Citi Personal Wealth Management, was named BlackRock’s new Global Head of Digital Wealth, starting on April 30.
In a March 9 memo to employees provided to WealthMangement.com, BlackRock Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldstein formally introduced Krishnamurthy and highlighted his past experience at Citi “leading the national wealth management salesforce, and developing an integrated suite of investment products and services.”
Krishnamurthy was also previously the global chief financial officer for Citi’s private bank based in London, and the chief operating officer of its Global Wealth Management business, based in Singapore. He began his career as an engineer at IBM, but also had stints at Softbank’s eVentures fund and with management consulting firms McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group.
“This is a pivotal moment in the wealth management industry and for the role that BlackRock is playing and will continue to play,” Goldstein wrote to employees. “With Venu’s background and expertise, we are excited to have him lead the team in expanding our reach to more distribution partners, financial advisors, and ultimately to help them better serve their clients.”
The Digital Wealth group Krishnamurthy will lead at BlackRock was created in October 2017 out of a collection of existing wealth management businesses and tools owned by the firm. The group includes Advisor Center, iRetire, TeamWorld, and FutureAdvisor, the robo advisor it purchased in 2015.
At the time of the deal, FutureAdvisor said it managed roughly $600 million in assets. BlackRock did not share the amount FutureAdvisor currently manages.
BlackRock has also steadily been offering more products and services to advisors and retail investors. Last year it partnered with Betterment and Riskalyze’s white-labeled Autopilot product and began offering the firm’s investing strategies in automated portfolios.
In addition to creating its Digital Wealth group and partnering with other wealth managers to offer them products, BlackRock has also invested in wealth and investment management companies. It recently announced it had made an anchor investment in Acorns, an app that allows rookie investors to put spare change from everyday purchases into diversified exchange-traded fund portfolios. The amount BlackRock invested was not disclosed.
In 2016, it also made a substantial investment in iCapital Network, a digital alternative investments platform, with a member network of more than 1,300 users from registered investment advisory firms, private banks, independent broker/dealers and family offices.