Two companies that own the world

BlackRock and Vanguard are the world’s largest asset managers with a combined R309 trillion in assets under management (AUM), and they own stakes in most of the world’s biggest businesses.

To put their AUM in perspective, it is 40 times larger than South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).

BlackRock was founded in 1988 by a group of investment managers. In 1999, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange at $14 per share.

By then, the company was already managing $165 billion, equivalent to approximately R990 billion at the time.

BlackRock has since seen incredible growth and now has $8.6 trillion (R160 trillion) in AUM.

Vanguard was founded in 1975 by John Clifton Bogle, who is the founder of index fund investing. Index funds are passively managed funds aimed at tracking specific market indices.

Bogle’s main focus was creating funds that charged low fees and mimicked market indices in the long run.

This helped Vanguard grow to its colossal size, with total AUM of $8.1 trillion (R150 trillion).

Today, BlackRock and Vanguard are known for their large number of investment holdings. They are the most prominent and cost-effective players in the passively managed investment sphere.

The two asset managers have their funds invested in all the biggest companies worldwide, with significant shareholdings in these companies.

Vanguard and BlackRock collectively manage $16.7 trillion (R309 trillion), more than half the US debt of $31.6 trillion (R585 trillion).


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