This week, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, made significant strides in its artificial intelligence and Bitcoin ETF efforts as it heads into the year’s end.

Pensions & Investments reported on Dec. 14 that BlackRock has launched an AI tool or “copilot” in a private preview aimed at BlackRock’s eFront users.

The eFront copilot, described in the report as a ‘superpowered chatbot,’ is designed to translate typed questions into easy-to-understand data visualizations. The copilot relies on Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI services and will be followed by several other similar services, including an AI copilot for Aladdin, BlackRock’s portfolio management software.

BlackRock has currently extended the preview to 10 clients of its eFront Insight service, and it is expected to extend access to all 130 of the service’s clients in early 2024. That could make the AI service available to major pension funds, funds of funds, insurers, and other asset owners, according to Pensions & Investments.

BlackRock published another memo laying out its AI strategy one week ago, according to the same report. BlackRock otherwise called artificial intelligence a “mega force” in an outlook report published this summer.

BlackRock has not officially announced the launch. Pensions & Investments instead states that the pilot was disclosed through a memo to Aladdin staff.

BlackRock meets with SEC for a fourth time

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also met with BlackRock over its proposed spot Bitcoin ETF on Dec. 14.

A notice published on the same date indicates that three members of BlackRock met with members of the SEC’s Office of the Chair. The meeting notably included BlackRock’s Head of Digital Assets, Robert Mitchnick.

BlackRock attended three other meetings starting on Nov. 20, 2023. The current meeting had a relatively small attendance: whereas the earlier meetings involved seven to 11 members from BlackRock and NASDAQ, the most recent meeting involved just three members from BlackRock.

Two previous meetings contained attachments indicating that BlackRock and the SEC met to compare in-kind and cash redemption models, which could affect whether certain parties can transact in cryptocurrency.

If the SEC approves a spot Bitcoin ETF, it will be the first available in the U.S. Bloomberg ETF analysts have estimated that there is a 90% chance of approval by Jan. 10, 2024. The SEC has not commented on the likelihood of an approval.



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