BlackRock exposes confidential data on thousands of advisers on iShares site

[NEW YORK] BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, inadvertently posted confidential information about thousands of financial adviser clients on its website.

The data appeared in three spreadsheets, linked on one of the New York-based company’s web pages dedicated to its iShares exchange-traded funds. The documents included names and email addresses of financial advisers who buy BlackRock’s exchange traded funds (ETFs) on behalf of customers. They also appeared to show the assets under management each adviser had in the firm’s iShares ETFs.

The links were dated Dec 5, 2018, but it’s unclear how long they were public. The documents were seen by Bloomberg and removed Friday.

One of the spreadsheets appears to list more than 12,000 entries of advisers and their sales representatives at BlackRock. On another, the advisers were categorised in a variety of ways such as “dabblers” or “power users”. A column noted their “Club Level” including the “Patriots Club” or “Directors Club”.

“We are conducting a full review of the matter,” spokesman Brian Beades said in a statement Friday. “The inadvertent and temporary posting of the information relates to two distribution partners serving independent advisers and does not include any of their underlying client information.”

BlackRock, which oversees assets of almost US$6 trillion, is the world’s largest issuer of ETFs.