BlackRock vs. Mercer: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

BlackRock excels in broad investment management solutions, while Mercer offers personalized financial and human resources consulting. Find out more.

Summary 

  • BlackRock is the biggest asset manager globally, with $10.47 trillion in assets under management. 

  • In comparison, Mercer is 76th on SWFI's list of Top-100 Largest Fund Managers. 

  • Over 190,000 financial advisors in the United States use BlackRock to build their client portfolios. 

  • Mercer is represented internationally, with the firm employing over 20,000 employees in 130 countries. 

Mercer vs. BlackRock: what’s the difference?   

Mercer and BlackRock are big names in financial services, but they focus on different areas and have different target audiences. Mercer specializes in investment consulting, human resources (HR) consulting, and health benefits solutions. The firm provides financial advice through its financial advisors, charging fees according to the different services. Mercer customer service is tailored to meet client needs in HR and economic consulting. 

BlackRock, on the other hand, is the world's largest asset manager. It offers investment management, risk management, and advisory services to financial advisors and other financial professionals. BlackRock charges fees for managing various investment funds, and it has a strong network of financial advisors. Additionally, its customer service is known for being highly professional. 

What are BlackRock and Mercer’s specific investment strategies?  

BlackRock and Mercer offer investment strategies using different approaches. For instance, BlackRock's financial strategies are broad and data-driven, while Mercer's are more customized and consultative. 

As a major asset manager, BlackRock focuses on broad investment management services, including ETFs, mutual funds, and risk management products. Their strategies often involve leveraging technology and data analytics to optimize portfolio performance. 

Mercer, however, emphasizes personalized investment consulting. Mercer financial advisors develop tailored investment strategies for their clients, often focusing on pension funds, retirement plans, and other institutional investments.  

What fees can I expect from BlackRock and Mercer?  

When working with BlackRock, fees include management fees for mutual funds and ETFs, which are typically a percentage of assets under management (AUM). Depending on the investment products chosen, additional BlackRock fees might include dual-priced trading fees and commissions. BlackRock's fee structure is designed to be transparent and competitive. 

Mercer fees, on the other hand, vary based on the personalized services they provide. They might charge consulting fees, performance-based fees, and fees for specific financial advisory services. Additionally, Mercer fees can include non-trading fees and administrative costs tailored to the client's particular needs. 

Both firms charge fees typical for investment firms, such as management fees, trading fees, and possibly inactivity or non-trading fees. Still, Mercer's fees are more customized and based on their advisory and consulting services. 

Is BlackRock or Mercer better? 

Deciding if BlackRock or Mercer is better depends on your specific financial needs and goals. Both firms are reputable in the financial services industry, but they offer different strengths and focus on specific target audiences. For instance, BlackRock is famous for its broad, data-driven investment management. At the same time, Mercer is appreciated for its tailored, consultative financial and HR solutions. 

Below are some of the pros and cons of each firm: 

Pros of BlackRock 

  • Extensive range of investment products like ETFs and mutual funds. 

  • Data-driven and solid investment strategies. 

  • An extensive network of experienced financial advisors.  

  • Transparent fee structure. 

Cons of BlackRock 

  • Primarily focused on large-scale asset management. 

  • Fees can accumulate with various investment products. 

Pros of Mercer 

  • Customized investment and financial consulting services. 

  • Specializes in pension funds and retirement planning. 

  • Personalized financial advice from skilled advisors. 

  • Comprehensive HR and employee benefits solutions. 

Cons of Mercer 

  • Fee structures are complex. 

  • It may be more suited for institutional clients rather than individual investors. 

Mercer or BlackRock: which should I choose? 

If you're looking for broad investment management and a wide range of funds, you should opt for a BlackRock financial advisor. Opt for Mercer’s financial services if you need specialized financial advice, pension planning, or HR consulting. Your specific financial goals and needs will determine which firm fits you better. 

In addition to comparing fees, investment strategy, and various pros and cons, here are some other questions you should ask yourself when choosing between BlackRock and Mercer: 

How do Mercer and BlackRock remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions? 

Mercer and BlackRock stay competitive by consistently leveraging technology and data analytics, offering innovative financial products, and tailoring services to client needs. They continuously adapt their strategies to market trends, ensuring effective risk management and optimal investment performance. 

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Mercer excels in personalized customer service, focusing on tailored advice and client-specific needs. BlackRock provides professional support with an expansive network of fiduciaries.  

Can I access my Mercer or BlackRock accounts through their websites and mobile apps? 

Mercer and BlackRock clients can access and monitor their accounts through the respective firms' websites and mobile apps. BlackRock has apps for investment management, while Mercer provides apps for HR and financial consulting, ensuring clients can manage their accounts conveniently.  

Find the right financial advisor 

BlackRock and Mercer are leading financial services firms with distinct strengths: BlackRock excels in broad investment management, while Mercer financial advisors offer personalized financial and HR consulting. Each firm has its benefits and drawbacks, but they both offer online and mobile account access. While these firms are more geared toward large-scale investments, they still assist private clients. 

If you're looking for the right advisor for personalized financial guidance, Unbiased can match you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor that best suits your needs. 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.