Blackstone’s journey to $1 trillion and the potential next PE firm

Blackstone's journey to $1 trillion and the potential next PE firm

From Corporate Advisory to Private Wealth: The Rise of Blackstone


Blackstone, the renowned multinational investment firm, has surpassed the trillion-dollar mark in assets under management (AUM), a significant milestone that sets them apart in the financial industry. How did they achieve this feat? Let’s dive into the factors that propelled Blackstone’s growth and explore their strategy for scaling within various segments.

Thinking Outside the Traditional PE Box

CEO and cofounder of Blackstone, Steve Schwarzman, attributes their success to a strategic approach that goes beyond traditional private equity (PE) investments. From the beginning, Blackstone aimed to broaden their scope and establish a diverse range of asset management businesses. They started by venturing into corporate advisory before swiftly moving into private equity, followed by expansions into hedge fund of funds in 1990 and private wealth in 2011. This forward-thinking approach and long-term performance have been fundamental in Blackstone’s achievements.

A Boon in Real Estate

While Blackstone initially thrived through their private equity business by acquiring and revitalizing struggling companies, their entry into the real estate sector in 1991 proved to be a game-changer. Blackstone became the world’s largest corporate landlord, a testament to the company’s expansion and diversification beyond their traditional domains. This move into real estate provided significant additional growth for Blackstone.

The Rise of High Net Worth Individuals

In recent years, Blackstone has strategically shifted its focus towards attracting high net worth individuals as investors. While private equity firms traditionally relied on large pensions and endowments for capital, Blackstone recognized the potential of individual investors with substantial wealth. Their willingness to tap into this market has played a pivotal role in propelling their asset growth.

Blackstone’s head of private wealth, Joan Solotar, predicted in 2018 that retail investors would account for half of the firm’s AUM within five to ten years. In line with this, Blackstone revealed that they raised $50 billion in equity capital from individual investors in 2021 alone. As of their latest earnings report, approximately a quarter of their total AUM comes from individual investors through their private wealth business. This focus on the individual investor market has been a significant driver of Blackstone’s recent growth and is poised to continue expanding as they tap into the vast potential of this market segment.

The Competition and Future Outlook

Blackstone’s success has undoubtedly caught the attention of other private equity firms. Apollo Global Management, Blackstone’s closest competitor, is rapidly gaining ground, with nearly $600 billion in AUM as of Q1 this year. PitchBook’s private equity expert, Duncan Clarke, predicts that Apollo could reach the trillion-dollar mark within the next three to four years, and potentially even faster if their assets appreciate. The competition among private equity firms is healthy, akin to having four fast-food restaurants on the same intersection – it brings more traffic and stimulates growth in the industry.

While Blackstone celebrates its unprecedented achievement, the challenge lies in sustaining this momentum and continuing to grow. As they become larger, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the same pace of expansion. However, given Blackstone’s track record of innovative thinking and their ability to adapt to market trends, it’s plausible that they will find ways to overcome future challenges and stay ahead of the game.

In conclusion, Blackstone’s ascent to over $1 trillion in AUM is not a stroke of luck but the result of a well-executed strategy. By diversifying their business segments and embracing opportunities beyond traditional private equity investments, Blackstone has positioned itself for remarkable growth. Their expansion into real estate and focus on high net worth individuals have been pivotal in achieving this milestone, and they continue to foresee opportunities for further scaling within specific segments. As they forge ahead, it will be intriguing to see how Blackstone maintains its impressive trajectory and solidifies its position as an industry leader.

See you tomorrow, Anne Sraders Twitter: @AnneSraders Email: [email protected]