BlackRock responds to George Soros’ criticism over China investments

George Soros, billionaire and founder of Soros Fund Management LLC, pauses as he speaks at an event on the third day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON – BlackRock, the world’s largest wealth manager, has responded to billionaire George Soros’ sharp criticism of the company’s investments in China.

Registered mail The Wall Street Journal On Tuesday, Soros described BlackRock’s initiative in China as a “tragic mistake” that would “harm the national security interests of the US and other democracies.”

The comment, titled “BlackRock’s China Blunder,” said the company’s decision to pour billions into the country was a “bad investment” that would likely lose money for its customers.

It comes soon after BlackRock launched a range of mutual funds and other investment products aimed at Chinese consumers. The initiative resulted in BlackRock becoming the first foreign-owned company to operate a wholly-owned company in the Chinese mutual fund industry.

The asset manager told CNBC on Wednesday that its Chinese mutual fund subsidiary launched its first fund in the country after raising 6.68 billion Chinese yuan ($ 1.03 billion) from more than 111,000 investors.

“The United States and China have a large and complex economic relationship,” said a BlackRock spokesman in response to Soros’ comments.

“Total trade in goods and services between the two countries exceeded $ 600 billion in 2020. Through our investment activities, US asset managers and other financial institutions contribute to the economic networking of the world’s two largest economies.”

BlackRock’s investment institution recommended In mid-August that investors even tripled their exposure to China. At the beginning of the year, CEO Larry Fink in a letter to shareholders described China’s market as “a significant opportunity to achieve the long-term goals of investors in China and internationally”.

A BlackRock Inc. sign hangs over their building in New York.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

“The vast majority of assets BlackRock manages are for retirement. BlackRock’s customers around the world – including many US customers – are looking for a wide range of investments, including in China, to meet their retirement and other financial goals, ”the spokesman said.

BlackRock added that it believes it can help China cope with its growing pension crisis by providing expertise, products and services for pension systems.

“We believe that globally integrated financial markets will give people, businesses and governments in all countries better and more efficient access to capital that supports economic growth worldwide.”

“The situation is completely different now”

Soros said Tuesday that BlackRock’s investments in China showed that the company had “misunderstood” Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Beijing cracked down on several companies this year, resulting in a sharp sell-off in Chinese stocks. Soros warned that while the new rules target tech companies, they should also be seen as a sign that Xi will do whatever it takes to stay in power.

“Previous efforts could have been morally justified by claiming they were building bridges to bring countries closer together, but the situation is completely different now,” Soros said. “Today the US and China are in a life and death conflict between two systems of government: repressive and democratic.”

Write for the Financial Times In a separate comment posted Aug. 30, Soros said investors in Xi’s China are facing an “ominous awakening” before adding that Xi’s crackdown on private companies showed he “doesn’t understand the market economy.” .

BlackRock reported on July 14 that assets under management rose to a record $ 9.49 trillion in the second quarter, compared to $ 7.32 trillion a year earlier.

BlackRock’s shares are up over 28% since the start of the year.

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Pretend Android, iOS apps promise profitable investments whereas stealing your cash

Researchers have discovered hundreds of malicious mobile apps that exploit interest in cryptocurrency and stocks to steal victims.

Sophos researcher said on Wednesday A reference to a fake mobile trading app led to the discovery of a server containing “hundreds” of malicious trading, banking, forex and cryptocurrency apps developed for the Android and iOS platforms.

Mobility has meant that stock trading and investment opportunities are now widely available and far more accessible than before. Instead of having your money managed by a specific fund or agency for a fee, users can now select their own investments with a single swipe.

Social media has become a hotbed for pump-and-dump or meme stock chat and trading tips, and cryptocurrency has also become a popular topic of discussion for avid investors.

However, simply downloading a mobile application to explore investment opportunities has also created an opportunity for cyber criminals to take advantage of them.

According to Sophos, the apps found contained fake software designed to impersonate well-known, legitimate and trustworthy brands such as Barclays, Gemini, Kraken, TDBank and Binance.

The operators have created special websites that are linked to each individual app and are tailored to appear as fake organizations in order to improve the software’s obvious legitimacy – and the likelihood that a scam will succeed.

Sophos’ investigation into the apps began with a report on a single malicious app masquerading as an Asia-based trading company, the Goldenway Group.

In this case, the victim was approached through social media and a dating website and lured into downloading the fake app.

Instead of relying on mass spam emails or phishing, attackers can now take a more personal approach and try to develop a relationship with their victim by, for example, pretending to be a friend a potential love match. Once trust is established, they provide a time sensitive financial opportunity and can also promise guaranteed returns and excellent profits.

However, once a victim downloads a malicious app or visits a fake website and provides its details, they are tricked into opening an account or cryptocurrency wallet and transferring money. Scammers then go away with the money and block their victims.

According to Sophos, the apps discovered on the server were transmitted through the same infrastructure and a “super signature process” that was abused to bypass security measures and mechanisms used by official app repositories.

In the case of iOS, the process designed for small app developers to perform legitimate pre-submission test deployments requires a target device to download and install a manifest file in order to accept the package. Then the device ID is sent to a registered developer account. A .IPA package containing the app is then sent to the user for download.

“While many of these Super Signature developer services may be aimed at helping legitimate small app developers, our research found that the malware uses many such third-party commercial app distribution services,” the researchers say. “These services offered one-click uploading of the app installation, where you only had to provide the IPA file. They are promoting as an alternative to the iOS App Store and taking over the app distribution and device registration.”

In some cases, instead of transferring IPA files, distribution services have deleted web clips that added a link to a malicious webpage directly to a victim’s home screen.

When it comes to Android abuse, users are prompted to install and launch an app, create an account, and then start trading. The apps appeared to be real and in some cases included elements like cryptocurrency price tracking. However, wallets are either controlled by cyber criminals or funds required to start trading must be transferred to Hong Kong registered bank accounts.

It appears that Asia is mainly under attack from the network as one of the servers referenced in an app resulted in the discovery of uploaded records including ID cards, driver’s licenses, passport photos and more from nationals in South Korea, China, Malaysia, USA . and Japan.

“We believe the ID data could be used to legitimize financial transactions and receipts from the crooks as confirmation of the victims’ deposits,” says Sophos. “We also found several profile pictures of attractive people who were likely used to create fake dating profiles, suggesting that dating could be used as bait to attract victims.”

Previous and related coverage

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