Then and Now – BlackRock

Then and Now – BlackRock

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to another Then and Now post, a continuation of my series where I revisit some older blogposts and either rip them to shreds (because my thinking has totally changed on such subjects, including key stocks) or I’ll confirm my position on some specific stocks or ETF investments.

You can read about my previous Then and Now posts on certain stocks (the good, and the not-so-good!) during this post. Some DIY stock selection does come with risks!

Today’s post is about my ownership in a significant multinational investment company: BlackRock.

Then and Now – BlackRock

Unlike some other stocks in my portfolio, I actually haven’t owned BlackRock (BLK) for very long.

Enbridge (ENB) was my very first individual stock, purchased a long time ago….

Since that ENB purchase, I’ve loaded up on Canadian bank stocks, telco companies and utilities over the years. I’ve also purchased industrial companies like Canadian National Railway (CNR) and Waste Connections (WCN), among others, not focused on income but for price growth. 

I’ve also purchased a few individual U.S. stocks over the last 15 years as a DIY investor, for growing dividend income but also price appreciation. Some examples include:

My 10-year+ ownership in Procter & Gamble (PG:US)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ:US) – my longest running U.S. stock in my portfolio.

I started writing about my ownership in BlackRock many years ago, in various articles on my site and that stock-press has ramped up in recent years as I share more about my portfolio and why. 

For those that don’t know, BlackRock (BLK:US) is the world’s largest asset manager but they’ve had a tough stock price run of late. Last year (2022), BlackRock’s stock price was down a bundle just like the broader S&P 500 index was. It hasn’t quite rebounded to date…more below. 

Fast forward to this year (at the time of this post), the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are up quite significantly while BlackRock remains somewhat flat.

Then – BLK

After focusing on building my DIY portfolio of Canadian “TULF” stocks, and beyond owning PG and JNJ in the early days as a DIY investor, I was looking at expanding my USD stock portfolio – and BlackRock came to the top of my list in early 2016.

I made my initial purchase, then, just over $300 USD per share. 

I bought BLK for my RRSP since I appreciated the dividend then, the opportunity for the company to grow its dividend over time, and potential share price appreciation as well – as the world’s larget asset manager.

Since my initial purchase in 2016, BLK has delivered albeit a bit less than I thought it might!?

Now – BLK

Over the years, I’ve been slowly adding to my BLK position, with more purchases in 2017 and 2019 specifically.

I had good intentions of adding more BLK to my porfolio in 2021 but my goodness, I could not justify (nor afford) the stock price when it was approaching $900 USD per share.

I own BLK for income stability inside my RRSP that should help fund future semi-retirement income needs as I slowly drawdown that account.

BLK now pays out a $5.00 USD dividend per share and that dividend payment should grow by 5-10% per year, over the coming years based on analyst projections.

Then and Now - BlackRock

Source: BlackRock site.

Then and Now – BlackRock summary

When it comes to longer-term returns, it is my hope that BLK will continue to largely keep pace with the broader index, like the S&P 500 returns, represented by low-cost ETF that BlackRock offers: IVV.

Just for interest sake, I’ve compared BLK vs. IVV vs. low-cost ex-Canada ETF (that I own) XAW below:

Then and Now - BlackRock post 

Source: Portfolio Visualizer.

Given the current circumstances of many beaten-down U.S. equities, I think the case can be made that BLK remains not only a very solid business investment for the decades ahead but also an investment that represents some value right now.

Check out more selected Then and Now posts and stock ownership decisions below:

I posted my update with TD Bank here.

This was my update about owning Telus. 

Check out my fall 2022 update with Waste Connections (WCN)

I’ve owned Canadian National Railway (CNR) since 2016.

I started to own Canadian Apartment REIT (CAR.UN) in 2013 – and still own it.

I’ve owned Fortis (FTS) stock for many years, and still do at the time of this post. 

Do you own BLK? Have you considered owning it? Why or why not?

Thanks for reading,


My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

14 Responses to "Then and Now – BlackRock"

  1. I owned BlackRock for quite a few years but sold it at a profit last year, since I could no longer stomach their ethics (or lack thereof). ESG is a non-starter for me since I want the government to regulate societal issues and for companies to make profits for its shareholders while obeying the laws. There is a lot of “greenwashing” going on in ESG, there are no agreed upon standards and benchmarks. IMHO, companies should serve their shareholders by running their businesses well and not getting involved in social justice issues (i.e. Target, Budweiser) that bring harm to company valuation. Unfortunately, BlackRock has become a far too powerful intrusive agent in the market, and is using its mammoth size to manipulate private companies. I don’t want companies like BlackRock voting the shares they hold within their portfolios on my behalf without any input from me, especially when they force those companies into ESG, causing artificial constraints. Thus, I prefer to own individual company stocks, but not BlackRock or ETF’s. Berkshire is a better choice in my view. I might be leaving money on the table but at least I’m able to sleep at night.

    1. That’s a very fair and honest take, Randy. I loathe (and see) the rise of greenwashing – which is not good for many reasons. The ability to sleep at night, based on your choices, is important for all of us.

      Curious as to your holdings now? What individual stocks do you own and why?


      1. Hi Mark, thank you for My Own Advisor, I really appreciate you and the valuable service you have provided over these past years! BTW, Paul (July 18) made some excellent points upon which I concur, and I liked your response to him. Thanks for your response to my first post; to answer your questions, Mark, my largest holding is BRK-B. I like it because it has many of the benefits of a managed mutual fund (without the management fees), it is managed by an incredibly competent team, and because it has been consistently profitable. Berkshire’s culture is one that avoids reporting for the sake of it, and Warren Buffett believes ESG reporting falls under that umbrella. I wish all corporations would remember their primary audience is the shareholder, not special interest groups, so they would run the company efficiently and competently, and not have to be “looking over their shoulder” for the next social trend. Social issues [ESG] are the mandate of government, not corporations. Governments make laws and companies follow them. The cost of tracking ESG measures internally, from suppliers, and contractors for production of voluntary annual ESG reports must be astronomical … is that cost rewarded by better outcomes for the shareholder? … [I would be surprised but am willing to be wrong on this]. Mr. Buffett said: “Most ESG requests come not from shareholders, but from third party organizations, and, as an organization, Berkshire is more inclined to respond to shareholder needs.” My 2 major disappointments about the trend toward ESG is there are no agreed-to standards or benchmarks (which leads to an awful lot of greenwashing, for example even some companies that are growing monoculture palm oil plantations in areas where diverse native tropical forests once grew can receive fairly high ESG scores). Also, too many companies are being forced to enrol in ESG programs, not because the majority of their shareholders want it, but because huge institutions like BlackRock and Vanguard, etc. are mandating it. I would feel better if BlackRock, et. al., would seek approval from their shareholders prior to forcing ESG mandates (and other social issues) onto its suite of portfolio investments. I think the original intent for ESG was honourable but it seems we have put the cart before the horse – we need to set achievable and agreed-to industry-wide standards and achievable benchmarks before implementing ESG. Additionally, I hold shares in Costco and Constellation Software Inc. which are not ESG companies, but most of the companies I invest in such as Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Hydro One, Canadian Natural Resources, National Bank, RBC, etc., etc. are enrolled in ESG programs. The difference (albeit rather subtle), is I get to have a say as an individual shareholder with each of those. It would be democratic if it were not for the big funds voting huge blocks of their customer’s shares to overwhelm the outcome. If individual shareholders choose to vote affirmative for ESG and that affects share performance they rightly get the benefit or loss. When mutual funds and ETFs force companies to enrol then the shareholders are not being represented. This is a huge topic, difficult to give justice to in a forum like this, and I recognize I am probably in the minority. Thank you, Mark, for providing a platform for discussion. 🙂

        1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Randy.

          First up, I appreciate your kind words. It’s fun to run the site and engage with others.

          Second, happy to engage in any respectful dialogue here. This forum is built for that.

          Third, kudos on your largest holding. Seems very wise to me. BRK-B is basically a small index fund.

          As for ESG, I believe the framework has a lot of merit but greenwashing is a real thing and increasingly, some companies are doing it well – sadly. I also believe in the spirit of ESG but not for a political or shareholder tool. The market will do what the market will do – weed out poor companies that do not deliver value that are engaged with ESG principles or not IMO.

          This is absolutely a huge topic, fully agree, one that one comment or two on a blogpost can’t possibly cover. ESG or otherwise, I do believe in transparency, saving our planet where we can and being better stewards of our natural resources more and more, and good governance. Whatever we want to call it. 🙂

          I appreciate your detailed and thoughtful comment.

  2. Hi Mark, personally I am against ESG. I invest for the returns from companies not for them to promote environmental, social, and governance issues. For these items I would rather control my support outside of my investing. I think people can absolutely support environmental causes for example, but this should be up to the individual, it shouldn’t be forced on companies to do. Companies should do what they do best whether that be manufacturing, sales, promotion, research, etc. I’ve actually volunteered my time to go out and clean up parks and plant trees. For diversity, I think companies should hire the best people, they shouldn’t hire someone just to fill a quota. I know if I have to have an operation I would prefer to have the best surgeon available. As it turns out, I actually did have eye surgery and I did have one of the best eye surgeons in Toronto, an Indian woman. She was hired because of her qualifications not to fill a quota and I was very pleased to have her as my eye surgeon.

    1. Thanks, Paul. I’m all for hiring the best people, for the necessary role. I do not believe in quotas for the sake of quotoas either but where I’m coming from, including my related work, we need to reconcile the deeds associated with many historical lacks of opportunity…

      I prefer that companies offer individuals, including their employees, opportunities to support the environmental and social causes that are dear to them. So, to your point, it’s not forced on companies to do. Companies should be forced to thrive or fail based on the quality of their goods and services.


      1. Hi Paul,

        For ESG, search for “blackrock ESG controversy” in google.

        Aladdin mostly provides an application allowing using your telephone to open your garage door instead of a remote.

        Hikvision looks like a provider of surveillance equipment for the Chinese government.

        I don’t understand the link between these two companies and BlackRock.

          1. Hi Grant,

            Can you elaborate or at the very least provide a summary of what are your concerns with BlackRock?

            Since I neither own BlackRock nor have them on my acquisition radar currently, I don’t intend to spend time researching them. Please state explicitly what are your concerns.

            No, “Do your own research” doesn’t cut it with us.

      2. All good, I replied to Grant as well. Not strictly for vs. against, just curious where folks stand.

        I personally believe ESG / ESG reporting will be more important vs. less moving forward. I’ve thought this way for many years now.

  3. HI MARK….I would never invest in BLACKROCK even if you could guaranteed me a 1000% return on my investment
    Because the following: ESG, Aladdin, Hikvision and the list goes on
    They are extremely dangerous to the very fabric of our society as we know it today
    if you can sleep well investing in this ideology good for you

    1. Well, most investors own BlackRock via indexed funds, just not directly.

      Related to ESG, are you for or against? Not debating, just curious.

      As per CEO:
      “LARRY FINK: I could see a world in five years where ESG is meshed in everything we do. And I believe that’s where it’s going.”

      Thanks for your comment,


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