BST Awards 2023: Best buy-side investment book of record (Ibor) platform—BlackRock

Product: Aladdin


Buy-side firms are looking to unlock value and scale while uncovering insights across strategies, geographies, and everything in between. BlackRock’s Aladdin platform is designed to unify the investment management process through a common data language, enabling scale, providing insights, and supporting business transformation. The platform offers a core of quality-controlled data that is updated in real time across various downstream applications.

Aladdin delivers a robust, fully integrated investment platform designed to seamlessly support a diverse range of investment businesses. While maintaining the independence and unique needs of each investment business, the platform streamlines the utilization of shared services. This results in optimized operational efficiency and scalable growth.”
Linda Lillard, chief data officer, BNY Mellon Investment Management

The solution  

Aladdin technology is delivered as a unified and centralized platform across public and private asset classes. As an investment book of record (Ibor), it natively calculates real-time positions and cash balances based on a variety of underlying data and activity performed on the system. Additional processes include automated exception-based reconciliations and other operational checks to ensure that investment data is consistent, reliable, and ready to support client investment decisions.

Secret sauce 

BlackRock’s position as a user and provider of the Aladdin platform puts it in a unique position that helps guide its technology/functionality development and the evolution of the platform to keep up with the regulatory landscape. This user–provider model combined with the firm’s continuous investment in the technology, its service model, and partnership approach to client relationships are at the forefront of client and ecosystem collaboration.

Recent milestones

  • Aladdin Accounting: Providing a Ibor–Abor solution that supports investments directly through to accounting, maximizing straight-through processing
  • Cryptoasset support: Aladdin now enables access to crypto assets, bridging the gap between traditional and crypto markets through integration with Coinbase
  • Aladdin Trader: Partnering with broker-dealers and trading venues, users can now directly engage with counterparties by leveraging native fixed-income order and execution management functionality embedded within Aladdin
At BlackRock, clients have always been at the center of what we do. Providing them with a robust Ibor for increased transparency into their investments is key to unlocking growth, in our view. And with recent market events, being able to have this transparency in real time has never been more important so that clients can focus on decision-making rather than reconciling data.”
Brian Licata, managing director, global head of clients for the Aladdin business, BlackRock

Future objectives 

  • Private credit: Aladdin is being enhanced to natively support a private credit Ibor. 
  • AI: Aladdin’s product team continues to explore new technologies like AI to help clients make more informed investment decisions.
  • Aladdin Climate continues to evolve with a focus on enabling flexibility and incorporating client preferences and views into the models. BlackRock will expand its analytics coverage to private markets assets.

Why they won

It took a while for BlackRock to enter the BST Awards winners’ circle, but now it seems the New York-based institutional asset manager and technology firm can’t stop winning. Last year it walked away with this category, while in 2021 it won the categories for the best integrated front-office platform and the best buy-side risk management initiative over the last 12 months. A fit-for-purpose investment book of record is critical for buy-side firms as it provides the front office with fresh, reliable and accurate position-level data and cash balances based on a variety of underlying data, allowing portfolio managers to make the most judicious and explainable investment decisions. It is here where Aladdin, BlackRock’s all-singing, all-dancing buy-side platform, excels. BlackRock is also the recipient of the best buy-side portfolio analysis tool―also courtesy of Aladdin―and the most prestigious category on offer in these awards, the best overall buy-side technology provider for 2023.  


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