BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, has warned that Britain leaving the European Union would come with "big risk" and "little reward".
In a paper for clients released this week, senior BlackRock employees, including vice chairman Philipp Hildebrand, chief macro strategist Rupert Harrison – a former adviser to chancellor George Osborne – said that while the asset manager normally does not get involved in politics, they were making an exception for the EU debate: "While it is neither our practice nor our role to wade into political debates, we felt it was incumbent on us to help our clients through the issues – and the choices on the table."
"Our bottom line is that a Brexit offers a lot of risk with little obvious reward," BlackRock wrote. "We see an EU exit leading to lower UK growth and investment, and potentially higher unemployment and inflation.
"Any offsetting benefits look more amorphous and less certain, in our view," they added.
BlackRock's comments were sharply rejected by the anti-EU Leave.EU campaign, which called the asset manager a "crony corporation which bought more access to the European Commission than any other firm in 2015, after increasing its lobby spending ten-fold".
"It's employed by the European Central Bank to advise it on purchasing asset-backed securities – a hilarious conflict of interest, given its status as the world's biggest asset manager," Leave.EU spokesperson Jack Montgomery said.
"Like the disgraced American investment banks bankrolling the Remain campaign, BlackRock is a selfish actor in this referendum, looking out for its own vested interests, not the public interest. Fortunately, it's the public who have the final say in June, not them."