Blackstone launches branding push to attract non-institutional investors

The move comes a week after a Bain & Co report found low levels of brand awareness of alternatives firms among HNWIs.

Blackstone is upping its brand recognition game in a bid to attract more individual investors.

‘Build with Blackstone’, the firm’s new tagline, will be part of a campaign that “signals the firm’s commitment to delivering for institutional and individual investors by building strong businesses in dynamic sectors”, according to a statement seen by Private Equity International.

The campaign was developed to codify Blackstone’s brand and identity as it grows its investor base and private wealth offerings, Arielle Gross Samuels, global head of marketing at the firm, told PEI.

“As we go to market and reach new investors, we want to make sure that our brand is better understood. ‘Build’ signals transformational value creation, and ‘with Blackstone’ signals a partnership in our ever-expanding network and ecosystem,” she said.

“This ‘builder’ mindset is instilled in everyone at the firm,” Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and chief executive of Blackstone, said in a statement. “Together we are building financial security for investors, building strong businesses across our portfolio and building meaningful careers for our talented people around the globe.”

The alternatives giant’s push comes amid a heightened awareness that private equity’s brand awareness could be improved among non-institutional investors. A Bain & Co survey of 418 high-net-worth individuals, released last week, found that none of the market’s leading private equity firms came to mind when asked to name some alternative investment managers.

Providing private markets access to individual investors has been one of Blackstone’s strategic growth areas. In fact, a goal of the private equity giant’s private wealth team is to reach $250 billion in private wealth assets under management by 2027, PEI reported previously. The firm has spent years building an engine to tap wealthy individuals and offering products including its non-listed real estate investment trust BREIT and non-listed credit vehicle BCRED. It also runs BXPE, an investment programme, which is designed to offer eligible individuals access to Blackstone’s $289 billion private equity platform.

Individual investors hold nearly half of all global wealth but only account for 16 percent of private capital assets, according to a recent report from Bain & Co. The alternatives AUM of private wealth investors is expected to grow from $4 trillion in 2022 to $13 trillion in the next 10 years, Bain’s analysis shows.

Seeking exposure to individual investors and adding capabilities to support these efforts is a priority for firms, yet even those with established relationships with banks and financial advisers need to do more on brand recognition, Bain’s report pointed out.

Blackstone COO Jon Gray noted on the firm’s fourth quarter and full-year 2022 results call in February that the individual investor channel is “another tool in the firm’s toolkit” to help it get to its $150 billion fundraising target. Roughly $3 billion of the $43.1 billion the firm raised in the fourth quarter came from this investor base, he said. The firm had a goal of reaching $1 trillion in assets under management by the end of 2022 and closed the year slightly shy of that mark at $975 billion.

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