By Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein
Wall Street may hate financial regulatory reform, but lobbyists certainly love it—especially ones working on behalf of giant asset managers PIMCO and BlackRock, which control a total of nearly $5 trillion in assets.
Last year, PIMCO and BlackRock both upped their lobbying expenditures in a big way.
The not-for-profit group OpenSecrets.org reports that Bill Gross’s Pacific Investment Management Company spent $450,000 on lobbyists last year, up from $120,000 in 2010. BlackRock’s spending on lobbyists rose to $2.5 million in 2011, up from $1.45 million in the prior year.
A BlackRock spokeswoman says the increased spending is a reflection that the firm has “more regulatory issues to deal with.” PIMCO didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The asset managers are ramping up their spending on lobbying at a time federal regulators are considering whether to treat the firms as “systemically important financial institutions,” something that could subject both to more oversight going forward. BlackRock, with more than $3.5 trillion in assets under management, has written several letters to regulators arguing that it doesn’t pose a threat to the financial system since it isn’t making leveraged bets with customer money.