Ukraine reconstruction bank ready for action this year, says BlackRock

By Victoria Waldersee, Megan Davies and Stefania Spezzati

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – A Ukraine reconstruction bank being set up by Kyiv with help from BlackRock and JPMorgan Chase should be ready to take action within the year, BlackRock Vice-Chairman Philipp Hildebrand told Reuters at an interview in Davos.

The asset manager was assisting in discussions to seek sovereign money from development banks or principal donor countries to mitigate risk for private investments, Hildebrand, a member of the company’s Global Executive Committee, said.

Kyiv engaged BlackRock and JPMorgan last year to help set up a fund to raise public capital that could attract private investment for Ukraine’s reconstruction, estimated to cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

“We want to be ready to deploy with at least soft commitments from donor countries,” Hildebrand said, adding risk would need to be brought down to OECD levels for BlackRock assets – consisting of pension funds – to be mobilised.

“That money cannot be invested in very high risk enterprises,” he said.

The U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery Penny Pritzker, who attended a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s on Tuesday, said there were still many questions “about what’s possible today versus what’s definitely possible in the future when you’re postwar”.

Pritzker highlighted the fund being raised by JPMorgan and BlackRock, saying they had indicated they had “early interest from some forward-leaning investors who are willing to maybe take more risk than, let’s say, an established pension fund.”

“And then there’s certainly individual investors who are quite interested,” Pritzker told Reuters.

Earlier, Zelenskiy’s office said he had met JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other senior JPMorgan executives, BlackRock’s top management, executives from Bridgewater Associates, Carlyle Group, Blackstone, Dell and ArcelorMittal in Davos.

“It is important for us to attract private capital to the reconstruction of Ukraine. We hope that JPMorgan will help attract a large number of global investors and corporations,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Megan Davies, Stefania Spezzati and Jeffrey Dastin; Editing by Alexander Smith)