BlackRock Inc. co-founder and Vice Chairman Barbara Novick has shifted her focus from New York's financial community to the power brokers inside the Washington beltway.
Ms. Novick stepped back from day-to-day oversight of BlackRock's massive business development, marketing and client service operations in February last year, but remained active in the firm, tasked by the board with setting up a government relations and public policy effort.
“Because BlackRock was often being mentioned by congressmen in hearings, it was becoming obvious that we were getting big enough to require a Washington presence. Because Congress and regulators are looking at so many regulatory changes that could substantially affect many of our businesses over the next few years, we realized that we have to be there with our feet on the ground,” Ms. Novick said.
The money management industry lacks a single strong lobby group that “truly speaks up for investors,” Ms. Novick said.
As one of the few lobbyists representing an investment management company in Washington, she said her reception has been good from legislators on the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, as well as from regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Labor and the Treasury Department.
“I honestly think we bring a different perspective to the table that Washington doesn't hear often enough,” Ms. Novick said, noting she's been spending about a week per month in Washington. — Christine Williamson