U.S. Markets open in 5 hrs 49 mins

Why BlackRock Inc’s (NYSE:BLK) ROE Of 11.83% Does Not Tell The Whole Story

Arjun Bhatia

BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK) delivered a less impressive 11.83% ROE over the past year, compared to the 12.81% return generated by its industry. Though BLK’s recent performance is underwhelming, it is useful to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components can change your views on BLK’s below-average returns. Metrics such as financial leverage can impact the level of ROE which in turn can affect the sustainability of BLK’s returns. Let me show you what I mean by this. See our latest analysis for BlackRock

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs BlackRock’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. In most cases, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are many other factors we must consider prior to making any investment decisions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of BlackRock’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 8.94%. BlackRock’s ROE exceeds its cost by 2.90%, which is a big tick. Some of its peers with higher ROE may face a cost which exceeds returns, which is unsustainable and far less desirable than BlackRock’s case of positive discrepancy. ROE can be split up into three useful ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

NYSE:BLK Last Perf Dec 27th 17

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from BlackRock’s asset base. And finally, financial leverage is simply how much of assets are funded by equity, which exhibits how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check BlackRock’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a low 16.44%, meaning BlackRock still has headroom to borrow debt to increase profits.

NYSE:BLK Historical Debt Dec 27th 17

What this means for you:

Are you a shareholder? Even though BLK returned below the industry average, its ROE comes in excess of its cost of equity. Since its high ROE is not likely driven by high debt, it might be a good time to top up on your current holdings if your fundamental research reaffirms this analysis. If you’re looking for new ideas for high-returning stocks, you should take a look at our free platform to see the list of stocks with Return on Equity over 20%.

Are you a potential investor? If you are considering investing in BLK, basing your decision on ROE alone is certainly not sufficient. I recommend you do additional fundamental analysis by looking through our most recent infographic report on BlackRock to help you make a more informed investment decision.


To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.