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BlackRock joins forces with Microsoft to build new retirement platform

BlackRock has teamed up with Microsoft to build a platform to help people make better decisions for retirement planning.

While the plans are US-based currently, the difficulties of planning and funding retirement are worldwide.

The technology will bring together BlackRock’s investment capabilities with Microsoft’s technology strength with the goal to take advantage of both and make it easier for people to save for retirement and achieve the lifetime income they need through employer workplace savings plans.

Microsoft says the relationship between each company will aim to give people a clearer picture of how their contributions will translate to long-term income.

BlackRock intends to offer the platform in conjunction with “next-generation investment” products it will both design and manage for US workers.

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Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella says: “Together with BlackRock we will apply the power of the cloud and AI to introduce new solutions that address this important challenge and reimagine retirement planning.”

BlackRock chairman and chief executive Laurence Fink adds: “Retirement systems worldwide are under stress, and providing financial security to retirees has become one of the most defining societal challenges of our time.

“BlackRock has a tremendous responsibility to help solve this challenge, and we recognise the need to act now. Working with Microsoft will enable us to build a powerful solution for millions of hardworking Americans.”

Finance and Technology Research Centre director Ian McKenna says: “Such major players in their respective fields collaborating shows how quickly the established order in financial advice might be disturbed. While launching in the US initially, the UK would be a natural next step. Both organisations have significant operations here and we use, substantially, the same language, this is usually a significant consideration for American corporations when they look to extend services internationally.

“The challenge to adviser firms is to work out how they can work with such new initiatives to evolve their propositions, rather than compete with them.

“Developments like this make it essential that all adviser firms have a clear roadmap of how they will put technology at the heart of everything they do over the next few years. The most successful propositions in the near future are likely to be automation complimented by a human touch.”

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