Even though markets have risen globally and in the U.S. in particular, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink raised concerns that many people are on the sidelines and not benefiting from the stock rally.
“It’s my hope that investors worldwide start recognizing that it was bad to be in cash. We had a three X increase in our equity markets, three X since the financial crisis. There’s more money sitting on the sideline than we have ever seen at this moment,” Fink told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria” in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday.
Fink pointed to France as an example of investors overly weighted in cash.
“France has a specific problem and the president and finance minister are trying to address [it], 72% of French savings is in a bank account,” the BlackRock exec said.
Fink sees investing in stocks as a boost to the economy as well.
“If your retirement is a 40-year obligation that you invested in equities over the long horizon, how much more economic vitality would we have seen worldwide?”
Fink sees fear of the future and issues such as the impact of technology as holding people back.
“If you’re a truck driver and you read all about autonomous trucks you’re going to say, ‘well, oh my gosh, what will happen to me if indeed we do have driverless trucks?’” he said.
According to Fink, individuals have been handed the responsibility to manage their retirement plans without the skills to do it.
“We need to focus on financial literacy. We need to have more of the population understanding their needs. As we moved away from the defined benefit plans to a defined contribution, we put all the responsibility on the individual and we haven’t given them the tools to properly navigate that, and to me that’s a big social problem in the United States and worldwide,” Fink said.
But Fink sees technology as helping investors improve their financial planning skills.
“We believe we can use technology to improve financial literacy and help people navigate the huge obligation of saving for retirement,” he said.