Laurence Fink, center, with UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. Fink earned two degrees at UCLA before beginning his groundbreaking career in finance.
Laurence D. Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, was awarded the UCLA Medal, the campus’s highest honor, in recognition of his service to the community and his legendary career in business and finance.
Fink, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and his M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson School of Management, built what was once a small fixed income boutique into a global asset management firm with more than 12,000 employees in 27 countries. He took the company public in 1999 and led a merger with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers in 2006, which doubled BlackRock’s asset management portfolio. It now manages more than $4.6 trillion in assets.
Following the Merrill Lynch merger, BlackRock was contracted by the U.S. government to help clean up the financial meltdown of 2008. One year later, the firm purchased Barclays Global Investors, making BlackRock the world’s largest money management firm. BlackRock also is one of the world’s largest responsible investors, with $225 billion in mandates that explicitly address social, ethical or environmental considerations.
“Larry is a great role model for engaged citizenship and philanthropic leadership in the community,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said during the award presentation, which was held March 7. “He’s admired by educational, civic and political leaders throughout the country and around the world.”
The UCLA Medal is given to those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement and whose bodies of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA. Recipients have included President Bill Clinton, UCLA alumnus and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, basketball coach John Wooden, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, and UCLA alumna and astronaut Anna Fisher.
Prior to founding BlackRock in 1988, Fink was a member of the management committee and a managing director of First Boston Corporation. He joined First Boston in 1976 and quickly became one of Wall Street’s first mortgage-backed securities traders. He was named CEO of the decade by Financial News in 2011 and one of the world’s best CEOs by Barron’s for nine consecutive years.
In 2008, Larry and his wife, Lori, donated $10 million to endow the Laurence D. and Lori W. Fink Center for Finance and Investments.
“Larry has had an iconic impact on the worlds of finance, philanthropy and academia,” said Judy Olian, dean of UCLA Anderson. “He is admired by the global financial community as much for his analytical brilliance as for his integrity, which are the reasons this award is most deserved.”
Fink is a member of the UCLA Anderson Campaign Committee and a recipient of the management school’s 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award. He also is on the New York University board of trustees and co-chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center board of trustees. He serves on the boards of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foreign Relations and Robin Hood, the New York City charitable organization, and is an executive committee member of the Partnership for New York City, which engages the business community in efforts to advance the city’s economy.