P3YP10YP3YfalseFY0001393818Following the conversion to a corporation, Blackstone also had one share outstanding of each of Series I and Series II preferred stock, with par value of each less than one cent. After initial issuance, there have been no changes to the amounts related to Series I and Series II preferred stock during the period presented.During the period presented, Blackstone also had one share outstanding of each of Series I and Series II preferred stock, with par value of each less than one cent.Other represents the summarized financial information of equity method investments whose results, for segment reporting purposes, have been allocated across more than one of Blackstone’s segments.In December 2020, Blackstone acquired DCI, a San Francisco based systematic credit investment firm. Provisional amounts of Intangible Assets and Goodwill for the acquisition of DCI were reported for the year ended December 31, 2020, which resulted in a $21.5 million increase in Intangible Assets. During the year ended December 31, 2021, Blackstone obtained additional information needed to identify and measure the acquired assets, which resulted in a $11.3 million increase in Intangible Assets. Intangible Assets related to the DCI acquisition are primarily comprised of contractual rights to earn future fee income.Unobservable inputs were weighted based on the fair value of the investments included in the range.The Issuer has issued long-term borrowings in the form of senior notes (the “Notes”). The Notes are unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of the Issuer. The Notes are fully and unconditionally guaranteed, jointly and severally, by Blackstone, Blackstone Holdings (the “Guarantors”), and the Issuer. The guarantees are unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of the Guarantors. Transaction costs related to the issuance of the Notes have been deducted from the Note liability and are being amortized over the life of the Notes. The indentures include covenants, including limitations on the Issuer’s and the Guarantors’ ability to, subject to exceptions, incur indebtedness secured by liens on voting stock or profit participating equity interests of their subsidiaries or merge, consolidate or sell, transfer or lease assets. The indentures also provide for events of default and further provide that the trustee or the holders of not less than 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Notes may declare the Notes immediately due and payable upon the occurrence and during the continuance of any event of default after expiration of any applicable grace period. In the case of specified events of bankruptcy, insolvency, receivership or reorganization, the principal amount of the Notes and any accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes automatically become due and payable. All or a portion of the Notes may be redeemed at the Issuer’s option in whole or in part, at any time and from time to time, prior to their stated maturity, at the make-whole redemption price set forth in the Notes. If a change of control repurchase event occurs, the holders of the Notes may require the Issuer to repurchase the Notes at a repurchase price in cash equal to 101% of the aggregate principal amount of the Notes repurchased plus any accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes repurchased to, but not including, the date of repurchase.The Issuer has a credit facility with Citibank, N.A., as Administrative Agent in the amount of $2.25 billion with a maturity date of November 24, 2025. Interest on the borrowings is based on an adjusted LIBOR rate or alternate base rate, in each case plus a margin, and undrawn commitments bear a commitment fee of 0.06%. The margin above adjusted LIBOR used to calculate the interest on borrowings was 0.75% as of December 31, 2021 and 2020. The margin is subject to change based on Blackstone’s credit rating. Borrowings may also be made in U.K. sterling, euros, Swiss francs, Japanese yen or Canadian dollars, in each case subject to certain sub-limits. The Credit Facility contains customary representations, covenants and events of default. Financial covenants consist of a maximum net leverage ratio and a requirement to keep a minimum amount of fee-earning assets under management, each tested quarterly. The outstanding borrowings were repaid by Blackstone on January 14, 2022. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, Blackstone had outstanding but undrawn letters of credit against the Credit Facility of $10.1 million and $10.0 million, respectively. The amount Blackstone can draw from the Credit Facility is reduced by the undrawn letters of credit, however the Credit Available presented herein is not reduced by the undrawn letters of credit.Represents borrowing facilities for the various consolidated Blackstone Funds used to meet liquidity and investing needs. Certain borrowings under these facilities were used for bridge financing and general liquidity purposes. Other borrowings were used to finance the purchase of investments with the borrowing remaining in place until the disposition or refinancing event. Such borrowings have varying maturities and are rolled over until the disposition or a refinancing event. Because the timing of such events is unknown and may occur in the near term, these borrowings are considered short-term in nature. Borrowings bear interest at spreads to market rates. Borrowings were secured according to the terms of each facility and are generally secured by the investment purchased with the proceeds of the borrowing and/or the uncalled capital commitment of each respective fund. Certain facilities have commitment fees. When a fund borrows, the proceeds are available only for use by that fund and are not available for the benefit of other funds. Collateral within each fund is also available only against the borrowings by that fund and not against the borrowings of other funds.Dividends declared reflects the calendar date of the declaration for each distribution. The fourth quarter dividends, if any, for any fiscal year will be declared and paid in the subsequent fiscal year.Effective June 30, 2021, Blackstone recategorized certain components of its effective income tax reconciliation. Accordingly, certain components related to income attributable to non-controlling interest holders were recategorized from Income Passed Through to Non-Controlling Interest Holders to Other. Prior periods have been recast accordingly. The recategorization had no effect on Blackstone’s Provision for Taxes.Includes income that was not taxable to Blackstone and its subsidiaries. Such income was directly taxable to shareholders of Blackstone’s common stock for the period prior to the Conversion and remains taxable to Blackstone’s non-controlling interest holders.Total Segment Revenues is comprised of the following:This adjustment removes Unrealized Performance Revenues on a segment basis.This adjustment removes Unrealized Principal Investment Income (Loss) on a segment basis.This adjustment removes Interest and Dividend Revenue on a segment basis.This adjustment removes Other Revenue on a segment basis. For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, Other Revenue on a GAAP basis was $203.1 million, $(253.1) million and $80.0 million and included $200.6 million, $(257.8) million and $76.4 million of foreign exchange gains (losses), respectively.This adjustment reverses the effect of consolidating Blackstone Funds, which are excluded from Blackstone’s segment presentation. This adjustment includes the elimination of Blackstone’s interest in these funds, the removal of revenue from the reimbursement of certain expenses by the Blackstone Funds, which are presented gross under GAAP but netted against Management and Advisory Fees, Net in the Total Segment measures, and the removal of amounts associated with the ownership of Blackstone consolidated operating partnerships held by non-controlling interests.The split of clawback between Blackstone Holdings and Current and Former Personnel is based on the performance of individual investments held by a fund rather than on a fund by fund basis.Total is a component of Due to Affiliates. See Note 18. “Related Party Transactions — Affiliate Receivables and Payables — Due to Affiliates.”This adjustment removes the amortization of transaction-related intangibles, which are excluded from Blackstone’s segment presentation. This amount includes amortization of intangibles associated with Blackstone’s investment in Pátria, which was historically accounted for under the equity method. As a result of Pátria’s IPO in January 2021, equity method has been discontinued and there will no longer be amortization of intangibles associated with the investment.This adjustment removes Transaction-Related Charges, which are excluded from Blackstone’s segment presentation. Transaction-Related Charges arise from corporate actions including acquisitions, divestitures, and Blackstone’s initial public offering. They consist primarily of equity-based compensation charges, gains and losses on contingent consideration arrangements, changes in the balance of the Tax Receivable Agreement resulting from a change in tax law or similar event, transaction costs and any gains or losses associated with these corporate actions.Total Segment Expenses is comprised of the following:This adjustment removes Unrealized Performance Allocations Compensation.This adjustment removes Equity-Based Compensation on a segment basis.This adjustment adds back Interest Expense on a segment basis, excluding interest expense related to the Tax Receivable Agreement.Fee related performance compensation may include equity based compensation based on fee related performance revenues.Excludes signed leases that have not yet commenced.Variable lease cost approximates variable lease cash payments.Straight-line lease cost includes short-term leases, which are immaterial.This adjustment adds an amount equal to an administrative fee collected on a quarterly basis from certain holders of Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units. The administrative fee is accounted for as a capital contribution under GAAP, but is reflected as a reduction of Other Operating Expenses in Blackstone’s segment presentation.The Change in Valuation Allowance for the year ended December 31, 2019 represents the change from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019, following the change to a taxable corporation.Represents the add back of Performance Revenues earned from consolidated Blackstone Funds which have been eliminated in consolidation.Represents (1) the add back of Principal Investment Income, including general partner income, earned from consolidated Blackstone Funds which have been eliminated in consolidation, and (2) the removal of amounts associated with the ownership of Blackstone consolidated operating partnerships held by non-controlling interests.Represents the removal of Transaction-Related Charges that are not recorded in the Total Segment measures.Represents the removal of (1) the amortization of transaction-related intangibles, and (2) certain expenses reimbursed by the Blackstone Funds, which are presented gross under GAAP but netted against Management and Advisory Fees, Net in the Total Segment measures. 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Table of Contents
 
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM
10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2021
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                  TO                 
Commission File Number:
001-33551
 

Blackstone Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
20-8875684
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
345 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10154
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(212)
583-5000
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
Title of each class
  
Trading Symbol(s)
  
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock    BX    New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation
S-T
(§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  
    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a
non-accelerated
filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule
12b-2
of the Exchange Act.
 
    Large accelerated filer  
   Accelerated filer  
    Non-accelerated
filer  
   Smaller reporting company  
     Emerging growth company  
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule
12b-2
of the Act).    Yes  
    No  
As of June 30, 2021, the aggregate market value of the shares of common stock held by
non-affiliates
of the registrant was approximately $66.4 billion.
As of February 18, 2022, there were 700,387,302 shares of common stock of the registrant outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
None
 
 

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
 
 
 
 
  
Page
 
 
  
Item 1.
 
  
 
8
 
Item 1A.
 
  
 
25
 
Item 1B.
 
  
 
85
 
Item 2.
 
  
 
85
 
Item 3.
 
  
 
85
 
Item 4.
 
  
 
85
 
 
  
Item 5.
 
  
 
86
 
Item 6.
 
  
 
88
 
Item 7.
 
  
 
88
 
Item 7A.
 
  
 
150
 
Item 8.
 
  
 
154
 
Item 8A.
 
  
 
228
 
Item 9.
 
  
 
230
 
Item 9A.
 
  
 
230
 
Item 9B.
 
  
 
231
 
Item 9C.
 
  
 
231
 
 
  
Item 10.
 
  
 
232
 
Item 11.
 
  
 
239
 
Item 12.
 
  
 
258
 
Item 13.
 
  
 
262
 
Item 14.
 
  
 
268
 
 
  
Item 15.
 
  
 
269
 
Item 16.
 
  
 
284
 
  
 
285
 
 
1

Table of Contents
Forward-Looking Statements
This report may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which reflect our current views with respect to, among other things, our operations, taxes, earnings and financial performance, and share repurchases and dividends. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “outlook,” “indicator,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “opportunity,” “leads” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. We believe these factors include but are not limited to the impact of the novel coronavirus
(“COVID-19”),
as well as those described under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this report, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our periodic filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), which are accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this report and in our other periodic filings. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
Risk Factor Summary
The following is only a summary of the principal risks that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The following should be read in conjunction with the more complete discussion of the risk factors we face, which are set forth more fully in “Part I. Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
Risks Related to Our Business
 
   
Significant setbacks in the reopening of the global economy or reinstatement of restrictions as a result of the ongoing
COVID-19
pandemic may adversely impact our performance and results of operations.
 
   
Our business could be adversely affected by difficult market and economic conditions, as well as geopolitical concerns or other global events, each of which could materially reduce our revenue, earnings and cash flow and adversely affect our financial prospects and condition.
 
   
An increase in interest rates and other changes in the financial markets could negatively impact the values of certain assets or investments and the ability of our funds and their portfolio companies to access the capital markets on attractive terms, which could adversely affect investment and realization opportunities.
 
   
A decline in the pace or size of investments made by, or poor performance of, our funds may adversely affect our revenues and obligate us to repay Performance Allocations previously paid to us, and could adversely affect our ability to raise capital.
 
   
Our revenue, earnings, net income and cash flow can all vary materially, which may make it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis.
 
   
Our business could be adversely affected by the loss of services from our founder and other key senior managing directors or future difficulty in recruiting and retaining professionals.
 
   
The asset management business depends in large part on our ability to raise capital from third party investors and is intensely competitive.
 
   
Changes in U.S. and foreign taxation of businesses and other tax laws, regulations or treaties could adversely affect us, including by adversely impacting our effective tax rate and tax liability.
 
2

Table of Contents
   
Cybersecurity or other operational risks could result in the loss of data, interruptions in our business and damage to our reputation, and subject us to regulatory actions, increased costs and financial losses.
 
   
Extensive regulation of our businesses affects our activities, creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties, may make it more difficult for us to deploy capital in certain jurisdictions or sell assets to certain buyers, and could result in additional burdens on our business.
 
   
Employee misconduct could impair our ability to attract and retain clients and subject us to legal liability and reputational harm. Fraud, deceptive practices or other misconduct at portfolio companies or service providers could similarly subject us to liability and reputational damage and harm performance.
 
   
We are subject to increasing scrutiny from regulators and certain investors with respect to the environmental, social and governance impacts of investments made by our funds.
 
   
Climate change, climate change-related regulation and sustainability concerns could adversely affect our businesses and the operations of our portfolio companies, and any actions we take or fail to take in response to such matters could damage our reputation.
 
   
We are subject to substantial litigation risks and may face significant liabilities and damage to our reputation as a result of such allegations and negative publicity.
 
   
Certain policies and procedures implemented to mitigate potential conflicts of interest and other risk management activities may reduce the synergies across our various businesses, and failure to deal appropriately with conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and adversely affect our businesses.
 
   
Valuation methodologies can be subject to a significant degree of subjectivity and judgment, and the expected fair value of assets may never be realized.
 
   
We may be unable to consummate or successfully integrate additional development opportunities or increase the number and type of investment products, including those offered to retail investors and insurance companies.
 
   
Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.
 
   
Investors may have certain redemption, termination or dissolution rights or may not satisfy their contractual obligation to fund capital calls when requested by us.
 
   
Certain of our investment funds may invest in securities of companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties.
 
   
Investments in certain assets and industries, such as energy, infrastructure and real estate, may expose us to risks inherent to those assets and industries, including environmental liabilities and increased operational, construction, regulatory and market risks.
 
   
Our funds’ and our performance may be adversely affected by inaccurate financial projections of our funds’ portfolio companies, contingent liabilities, counterparty defaults or forced disposal of investments at a disadvantageous time.
Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure
 
   
The significant voting power of holders of our Series I preferred stock and Series II preferred stock may limit the ability of holders of our common stock to influence our business.
 
   
We are not required to comply with certain provisions of U.S. securities laws relating to proxy statements and, as a controlled company, certain requirements of the New York Stock Exchange.
 
   
Our certificate of incorporation provides the Series II Preferred Stockholder with certain rights that may affect or conflict with the interests of the other stockholders and could materially alter our operations.
 
3

Table of Contents
   
We are required to pay our senior managing directors for most of the benefits relating to certain additional tax depreciation or amortization deductions we may claim.
   
If Blackstone Inc. were deemed an “investment company” under the 1940 Act, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
 
   
The price of our common stock may decline due to the large number of shares of common stock eligible for future sale and exchange.
   
Our certificate of incorporation provides us with a right to acquire all of the then outstanding shares of common stock under specified circumstances.
   
Our bylaws designate the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or U.S. federal district courts, as applicable, as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings.
Website and Social Media Disclosure
We use our website (www.blackstone.com), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/blackstone), Twitter (www.twitter.com/blackstone), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/blackstonegroup), Instagram (www.instagram.com/blackstone), SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/blackstone-300250613), PodBean (www.blackstone.podbean.com), Spotify (https://spoti.fi/2LJ1tHG), YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/blackstonegroup) and Apple Podcast (https://apple.co/31Pe1Gg) accounts as channels of distribution of company information. The information we post through these channels may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor these channels, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about Blackstone when you enroll your email address by visiting the “Contact Us/Email Alerts” section of our website at http://ir.blackstone.com. The contents of our website, any alerts and social media channels are not, however, a part of this report.
 
 
Effective August 6, 2021, The Blackstone Group Inc. changed its name to Blackstone Inc. Blackstone Inc. was initially formed as The Blackstone Group L.P. (the “Partnership”) and converted from a Delaware limited partnership to a Delaware corporation, The Blackstone Group Inc. (the “Conversion”), effective July 1, 2019. This report includes the results for the Partnership prior to the Conversion and Blackstone Inc. following the Conversion. In this report, references to “Blackstone,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” refer to (a) Blackstone Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries following the Conversion and (b) the Partnership and its consolidated subsidiaries prior to the Conversion. All references to shares or per share amounts prior to the Conversion refer to units or per unit amounts. Unless otherwise noted, all references to shares or per share amounts following the Conversion refer to shares or per share amounts of common stock. All references to dividends prior to the Conversion refer to distributions. See “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Organizational Structure.”
Effective February 26, 2021, Blackstone effectuated changes to rename its Class A common stock as “common stock,” and to reclassify its Class B and Class C common stock into a new “Series I preferred stock” and “Series II preferred stock,” respectively (the “share reclassification”). Each new stock has the same rights and powers of its predecessor. All references to common stock, Series I preferred stock and Series II preferred stock prior to the share reclassification refer to Class A, Class B and Class C common stock, respectively. See “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Organizational Structure.”
 
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“Series I Preferred Stockholder” refers to Blackstone Partners L.L.C., the holder of the sole outstanding share of our Series I preferred stock.
“Series II Preferred Stockholder” refers to Blackstone Group Management L.L.C., the holder of the sole outstanding share of our Series II preferred stock.
“Blackstone Funds,” “our funds” and “our investment funds” refer to the funds and other vehicles that are managed by Blackstone. “Our carry funds” refers to funds managed by Blackstone that have commitment-based multi-year drawdown structures that pay carry on the realization of an investment.
We refer to our real estate opportunistic funds as Blackstone Real Estate Partners (“BREP”) funds and our real estate debt investment funds as Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (“BREDS”) funds. We refer to our real estate investment trusts as “REITs,” to Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc., our NYSE-listed REIT, as “BXMT” and to Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc., our
non-listed
REIT, as “BREIT.” We refer to our real estate funds that target substantially stabilized assets in prime markets as Blackstone Property Partners (“BPP”) funds and our income-generating European real estate funds as Blackstone European Property Income (“BEPIF”) funds. We refer to BREIT, BPP and BEPIF collectively as our Core+ real estate strategies.
We refer to our flagship corporate private equity funds as Blackstone Capital Partners (“BCP”) funds, our energy-focused private equity funds as Blackstone Energy Partners (“BEP”) funds, our core private equity funds as Blackstone Core Equity Partners (“BCEP”), our opportunistic investment platform that invests globally across asset classes, industries and geographies as Blackstone Tactical Opportunities (“Tactical Opportunities”), our secondary fund of funds business as Strategic Partners Fund Solutions (“Strategic Partners”), our infrastructure-focused funds as Blackstone Infrastructure Partners (“BIP”), our life sciences investment platform, Blackstone Life Sciences (“BXLS”), our growth equity investment platform, Blackstone Growth (“BXG”), our multi-asset investment program for eligible high net worth investors offering exposure to certain of our key illiquid investment strategies through a single commitment as Blackstone Total Alternatives Solution (“BTAS”) and our capital markets services business as Blackstone Capital Markets (“BXCM”).
“Our hedge funds” refers to our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds, certain of our real estate debt investment funds, including a registered investment company, and certain other credit-focused funds which are managed by Blackstone.
We refer to our business development companies as “BDCs,” to Blackstone Private Credit Fund as “BCRED” and to Blackstone Secured Lending Fund as “BXSL.”
“BIS” refers to Blackstone Insurance Solutions, which partners with insurers to deliver capital-efficient investments tailored to each insurer’s needs and risk profile.
We refer to our separately managed accounts as “SMAs.”
“Total Assets Under Management” refers to the assets we manage. Our Total Assets Under Management equals the sum of:
 
  (a)
the fair value of the investments held by our carry funds and our
side-by-side
and
co-investment
entities managed by us plus the capital that we are entitled to call from investors in those funds and entities pursuant to the terms of their respective capital commitments, including capital commitments to funds that have yet to commence their investment periods,
 
  (b)
the net asset value of (1) our hedge funds, real estate debt carry funds, BPP, certain
co-investments
managed by us, certain credit-focused funds, and our Hedge Fund Solutions drawdown funds (plus, in each case, the capital that we are entitled to call from investors in those funds, including commitments yet to commence their investment periods), and (2) our funds of hedge funds, our Hedge Fund Solutions registered investment companies, BREIT, and BEPIF,
 
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  (c)
the invested capital, fair value or net asset value of assets we manage pursuant to separately managed accounts,
 
  (d)
the amount of debt and equity outstanding for our collateralized loan obligations (“CLO”) during the reinvestment period,
 
  (e)
the aggregate par amount of collateral assets, including principal cash, for our CLOs after the reinvestment period,
 
  (f)
the gross or net amount of assets (including leverage where applicable) for our credit-focused registered investment companies,
 
  (g)
the fair value of common stock, preferred stock, convertible debt, term loans or similar instruments issued by BXMT, and
 
  (h)
borrowings under and any amounts available to be borrowed under certain credit facilities of our funds.
Our carry funds are commitment-based drawdown structured funds that do not permit investors to redeem their interests at their election. Our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds, funds structured like hedge funds and other open-ended funds in our Real Estate, Hedge Fund Solutions and Credit & Insurance segments generally have structures that afford an investor the right to withdraw or redeem their interests on a periodic basis (for example, annually or quarterly), typically with 30 to 95 days’ notice, depending on the fund and the liquidity profile of the underlying assets. In our Perpetual Capital vehicles where redemption rights exist, Blackstone has the ability to fulfill redemption requests only (a) in Blackstone’s or the vehicles’ board’s discretion, as applicable, or (b) to the extent there is sufficient new capital. Investment advisory agreements related to certain separately managed accounts in our Hedge Fund Solutions and Credit & Insurance segments, excluding our BIS separately managed accounts, may generally be terminated by an investor on 30 to 90 days’ notice. Our BIS separately managed accounts can generally only be terminated for long-term underperformance, cause and certain other limited circumstances, in each case subject to Blackstone’s right to cure.
“Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management” refers to the assets we manage on which we derive management fees and/or performance revenues. Our
Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management equals the sum of:
 
  (a)
for our Private Equity segment funds and Real Estate segment carry funds including certain BREDS and Hedge Fund Solutions funds, the amount of capital commitments, remaining invested capital, fair value, net asset value or par value of assets held, depending on the fee terms of the fund,
 
  (b)
for our credit-focused carry funds, the amount of remaining invested capital (which may include leverage) or net asset value, depending on the fee terms of the fund,
 
  (c)
the remaining invested capital or fair value of assets held in
co-investment
vehicles managed by us on which we receive fees,
 
  (d)
the net asset value of our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds, BPP, certain
co-investments
managed by us, certain registered investment companies, BREIT, and certain of our Hedge Fund Solutions drawdown funds,
 
  (e)
the invested capital, fair value of assets or the net asset value we manage pursuant to separately managed accounts,
 
  (f)
the net proceeds received from equity offerings and accumulated distributable earnings of BXMT, subject to certain adjustments,
 
  (g)
the aggregate par amount of collateral assets, including principal cash, of our CLOs, and
 
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  (h)
the gross amount of assets (including leverage) or the net assets (plus leverage where applicable) for certain of our credit-focused registered investment companies.
Each of our segments may include certain
Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management on which we earn performance revenues but not management fees.
Our calculations of Total Assets Under Management and
Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management may differ from the calculations of other asset managers, and as a result this measure may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other asset managers. In addition, our calculation of Total Assets Under Management includes commitments to, and the fair value of, invested capital in our funds from Blackstone and our personnel, regardless of whether such commitments or invested capital are subject to fees. Our definitions of Total Assets Under Management and
Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management are not based on any definition of total assets under management and
fee-earning
assets under management that is set forth in the agreements governing the investment funds that we manage.
For our carry funds, Total Assets Under Management includes the fair value of the investments held and uncalled capital commitments, whereas
Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management may include the total amount of capital commitments or the remaining amount of invested capital at cost depending on whether the investment period has expired or as specified by the fee terms of the fund. As such, in certain carry funds
Fee-Earning
Assets Under Management may be greater than Total Assets Under Management when the aggregate fair value of the remaining investments is less than the cost of those investments.
“Perpetual Capital” refers to the component of assets under management with an indefinite term, that is not in liquidation, and for which there is no requirement to return capital to investors through redemption requests in the ordinary course of business, except where funded by new capital inflows. Perpetual Capital includes
co-investment
capital with an investor right to convert into Perpetual Capital.
This report does not constitute an offer of any Blackstone Fund.
 
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Part I.
 
Item 1.
Business
Overview
Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms, with Total Assets Under Management of $880.9 billion as of December 31, 2021. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our asset management businesses include investment vehicles focused on real estate, private equity, infrastructure, life sciences, growth equity, credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis.
Our businesses use a solutions-oriented approach to drive better performance. We believe our scale, diversified business, long record of investment performance, rigorous investment process and strong client relationships position us to continue to perform well in a variety of market conditions, expand our assets under management and add complementary businesses.
We invest across asset classes on behalf of our investors, including pension funds, insurance companies and individual investors. Our mission is to create long-term value through careful stewardship of their capital. To the extent our funds perform well, we can support a better retirement for tens of millions of pensioners, including teachers, nurses and firefighters. We view environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) principles as central to our mission of delivering strong returns for our clients, and use our scale and expertise to help strengthen our companies, assets and the communities in which they operate.
As of December 31, 2021, we employed approximately 3,795 people, including our 185 senior managing directors, at our headquarters in New York and around the world. Our employees are integral to Blackstone’s culture of integrity, professionalism and excellence. We believe hiring, training and retaining talented individuals, coupled with our rigorous investment process, has supported our excellent investment record over many years. This record, in turn, has enabled us to innovate into new strategies, drive growth and better serve our investors.
Business Segments
Our four business segments are: (a) Real Estate, (b) Private Equity, (c) Hedge Fund Solutions and (d) Credit & Insurance.
Information about our business segments should be read together with “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
For more information concerning the revenues and fees we derive from our business segments, see “— Fee Structure/Incentive Arrangements.”
Real Estate
Our Real Estate business is a global leader in real estate investing, with $279.5 billion of Total Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2021. Our Real Estate segment operates as one globally integrated business with approximately 720 employees and has investments across the globe, including in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Our real estate investment teams seek to utilize our global expertise and presence to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investors and to make a positive impact on the communities in which we invest.
Our Blackstone Real Estate Partners (“BREP”) business is geographically diversified and targets a broad range of opportunistic real estate and real estate-related investments. The BREP funds include global funds as well as funds focused specifically on Europe or Asia investments. BREP seeks to invest thematically in high-quality assets, focusing where we see outsized growth potential driven by global economic and demographic trends. BREP has made significant investments in logistics, office, rental housing, hospitality and retail properties around the world, as well as in a variety of real estate operating companies.
 
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Our Core+ strategy invests in substantially stabilized real estate globally primarily through perpetual capital vehicles. These include our Blackstone Property Partners funds (“BPP”), with a focus on high-quality assets in the Americas, Europe and Asia, as well as, Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc. (“BREIT”) and our Blackstone European Property Income (“BEPIF”) funds, which provide income-focused individual investors access to institutional quality real estate primarily in the Americas and Europe, respectively. In addition, in November 2020, we launched Blackstone BioMed Life Science Real Estate L.P. (“BPP Life Sciences”), a long-term, perpetual capital, Core+ vehicle that owns BioMed Realty and is focused on life science office investments primarily across the U.S.
Our Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (“BREDS”) vehicles primarily target real estate-related debt investment opportunities. BREDS invests in both public and private markets, primarily in the U.S. and Europe. BREDS’ scale and investment mandates enable it to provide a variety of lending options for our borrowers and investment options for our investors, including commercial real estate and mezzanine loans, residential mortgage loan pools and liquid real estate-related debt securities. The BREDS platform includes high-yield real estate debt funds, liquid real estate debt funds and Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc. (“BXMT”), a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust (“REIT”).
Private Equity
Our Private Equity segment encompasses global businesses with a total of approximately 545 employees managing $261.5 billion of Total Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2021. Our Private Equity segment includes our corporate private equity business, which consists of: (a) our global private equity funds, Blackstone Capital Partners (“BCP”), (b) our sector-focused funds, including our energy-focused funds, Blackstone Energy Partners (“BEP”), (c) our Asia-focused private equity funds, Blackstone Capital Partners Asia and (d) our core private equity funds, Blackstone Core Equity Partners (“BCEP”). Our Private Equity segment also includes (a) our opportunistic investment platform that invests globally across asset classes, industries and geographies, Blackstone Tactical Opportunities (“Tactical Opportunities”), (b) our secondary fund of funds business, Strategic Partners Fund Solutions (“Strategic Partners”), (c) our infrastructure-focused funds, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners (“BIP”), (d) our life sciences investment platform, Blackstone Life Sciences (“BXLS”), (e) our growth equity investment platform, Blackstone Growth (“BXG”), (f) our multi-asset investment program for eligible high net worth investors offering exposure to certain of Blackstone’s key illiquid investment strategies through a single commitment, Blackstone Total Alternatives Solution (“BTAS”) and (g) our capital markets services business, Blackstone Capital Markets (“BXCM”).
We are a global leader in private equity investing. Our corporate private equity business pursues transactions across industries on a global basis. It strives to create value by investing in great businesses where our capital, strategic insight, global relationships and operational support can drive transformation. Our corporate private equity business’s investment strategies and core themes continually evolve in anticipation of, or in response to, changes in the global economy, local markets, regulation, capital flows and geopolitical trends. We seek to construct a differentiated portfolio of investments with a well-defined, interventionist, post-acquisition value creation strategy. Similarly, we seek investments that can generate strong unlevered returns regardless of entry or exit cycle timing. Blackstone Core Equity Partners pursues control-oriented investments in high-quality companies with durable businesses and seeks to offer a lower level of risk and a longer hold period than traditional private equity.
 
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Tactical Opportunities pursues a thematically driven, opportunistic investment strategy. Our flexible, global mandate enables us to find differentiated opportunities across asset classes, industries, and geographies and invest behind them with the frequent use of structure to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. With a focus on businesses and/or asset-backed investments in market sectors that are benefitting from long term transformational tailwinds, Tactical Opportunities seeks to leverage the full power of Blackstone to help those businesses grow and improve. Tactical Opportunities’ ability to dynamically shift focus to the most compelling opportunities in any market environment, combined with the business’ expertise in structuring complex transactions, enables Tactical Opportunities to invest behind attractive market areas often with securities that provide downside protection and maintain upside return.
Strategic Partners, our secondary fund of funds business, is a total fund solutions provider. As a secondary investor it acquires interests in high-quality private funds from original holders seeking liquidity. Strategic Partners focuses on a range of opportunities in underlying funds such as private equity, real estate, infrastructure, venture and growth capital, credit and other types of funds, as well as general
partner-led
transactions and primary investments and
co-investments
with financial sponsors. Strategic Partners also provides investment advisory services to separately managed account clients investing in primary and secondary investments in private funds and
co-investments.
Blackstone Infrastructure Partners targets a diversified mix of core+, core and public-private partnership investments across all infrastructure sectors, including energy infrastructure, transportation, digital infrastructure, and water and waste with a primary focus in the U.S. BIP applies a disciplined, operationally intensive investment approach to investments, seeking to apply a long-term
buy-and-hold
strategy to large-scale infrastructure assets with a focus on delivering stable, long-term capital appreciation together with a predictable annual cash flow yield.
Blackstone Life Sciences is our investment platform with capabilities to invest across the life cycle of companies and products within the life sciences sector. BXLS primarily focuses on investments in life sciences products in late stage clinical development within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
Blackstone Growth is our growth equity platform that seeks to deliver attractive risk-adjusted returns by investing in dynamic, growth-stage businesses, with a focus on the consumer, enterprise solutions, financial services and healthcare sectors.
Hedge Fund Solutions
Working with our clients for more than 30 years, our Hedge Fund Solutions group is a leading manager of institutional funds with approximately 265 employees managing $81.3 billion of Total Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2021. The principal component of our Hedge Fund Solutions segment is Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (“BAAM”). BAAM is the world’s largest discretionary allocator to hedge funds, managing a broad range of commingled and customized fund solutions since its inception in 1990. The Hedge Fund Solutions segment also includes (a) our GP Stakes business (“GP Stakes”), which targets minority investments in the general partners of private equity and other private-market alternative asset management firms globally, with a focus on delivering a combination of recurring annual cash flow yield and long-term capital appreciation, (b) investment platforms that invest directly, including our Blackstone Strategic Opportunity Fund, which seeks to produce long term, risk-adjusted returns by investing in a wide variety of securities, assets and instruments, often sourced and/or managed by third party subadvisors or affiliated Blackstone managers, (c) our hedge fund seeding business and (d) registered funds that provide alternative asset solutions through daily liquidity products. Hedge Fund Solutions’ overall investment philosophy is to grow investors’ assets through both commingled and custom-tailored investment strategies designed to deliver compelling risk-adjusted returns. Diversification, risk management and due diligence are key tenets of our approach.
Credit & Insurance
Our Credit & Insurance segment, with approximately 480 employees and $258.6 billion of Total Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2021, includes Blackstone Credit (“BXC”). BXC is one of the largest credit-oriented managers in the world and is the largest manager of CLOs globally. The investment portfolios of the funds BXC manages or
sub-advises
consist of loans and securities of
non-investment
and investment grade companies spread across the capital structure including senior debt, subordinated debt, preferred stock and common equity.
 
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BXC is organized into two overarching strategies: private credit and liquid credit. BXC’s private credit strategies include mezzanine and direct lending funds, private placement strategies, stressed/distressed strategies and energy strategies (including our sustainable resources platform). BXC’s direct lending funds include Blackstone Private Credit Fund (“BCRED”) and Blackstone Secured Lending Fund (“BXSL”), both of which are business development companies (“BDCs”). BXC’s liquid credit strategies consist of CLOs, closed-ended funds, open-ended funds, systematic strategies and separately managed accounts.
Our Credit & Insurance segment also includes our insurer-focused platform, Blackstone Insurance Solutions (“BIS”). BIS focuses on providing full investment management services for insurers’ general accounts, seeking to deliver customized and diversified portfolios that include allocations to Blackstone managed products and strategies across asset classes and Blackstone’s private credit origination capabilities. BIS provides its clients tailored portfolio construction and strategic asset allocation, seeking to generate risk-managed, capital-efficient returns, diversification and capital preservation that meets clients’ objectives. BIS also provides similar services to clients through separately managed accounts or by
sub-managing
assets for certain insurance-dedicated funds and special purpose vehicles. BIS currently manages assets for clients that include Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, Everlake Life Insurance Company and the Life & Retirement business of American International Group, Inc.
In addition, our Credit & Insurance segment includes our asset-based lending platform and our publicly traded midstream energy infrastructure, listed infrastructure and master limited partnership (“MLP”) investment platform, which is managed by Harvest Fund Advisors LLC (“Harvest”). Harvest primarily invests capital raised from institutional investors in separately managed accounts and pooled vehicles, investing in publicly traded energy infrastructure, listed infrastructure, renewables and MLPs holding primarily midstream energy assets in North America.
Perpetual Capital
Each of our business segments currently includes Perpetual Capital assets under management, which refers to assets under management with an indefinite term, that are not in liquidation and for which there is no requirement to return capital to investors through redemption requests in the ordinary course of business, except where funded by new capital inflows. In recent years, we have meaningfully increased the number of Perpetual Capital vehicles we offer and the assets under management in such vehicles. Perpetual Capital strategies represent a significant and growing portion of our overall business, and the management fees and performance revenues we receive. Among the strategies in each of our segments, Perpetual Capital strategies include, without limitation (a) in our Real Estate segment, Core+ real estate (including BREIT and BEPIF) and BXMT, (b) in our Private Equity segment, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, (c) in our Hedge Fund Solutions segment, GP Stakes and (d) in our Credit & Insurance segment, BXSL and BCRED. In addition, assets managed for certain of our insurance clients are Perpetual Capital assets under management.
Retail Strategy
Blackstone’s business has historically relied on the provision of investment products, such as traditional drawdown funds, to institutional investors. In recent years, we have considerably expanded the number and type of investment products we offer through various distribution channels to certain mass affluent and high net worth individual investors in the U.S. and other jurisdictions around the world. Our Private Wealth Solutions business is dedicated to building out our distribution capabilities in the retail channel to provide certain individual investors with access to Blackstone products across a broad array of alternative investment strategies. As we continue to accelerate the undertaking of initiatives aimed at growing our retail strategy, over time we expect capital from the retail channel to represent an increasing portion of our Total Assets Under Management.
 
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Investment Process and Risk Management
We maintain a rigorous investment process across all of our investment vehicles. Each investment vehicle has investment policies and procedures that generally contain requirements, guidelines and limitations for investments, such as limitations relating to the amount that will be invested in any one investment and the types of assets, industries or geographic regions in which the vehicle will invest, as well as limitations required by law.
Our investment professionals are responsible for selecting, evaluating, underwriting, diligencing, negotiating, executing, managing and exiting investments. For those of our businesses with review committees and/or investment committees, such committees review and evaluate investment opportunities in a framework that includes a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the key risks of investments. Investment professionals generally submit investment opportunities for review and approval by a review committee and/or investment committee, subject to delineated exceptions set forth in the funds’ investment committee charters or resolutions. Review and investment committees are generally comprised of senior leaders and other senior professionals of the applicable investment business, and in many cases, other senior leaders of Blackstone and its businesses. Considerations that review and investment committees take into account when evaluating an investment may include, without limitation and depending on the nature of the investing business and its strategy, the quality of the business or asset in which the fund proposes to invest, the quality of the management team, likely exit strategies and factors that could reduce the value of the business or asset at exit, the ability of the business in which the investment is made to service debt in a range of economic and interest rate environments, macroeconomic trends in the relevant geographic region or industry and the quality of the businesses’ operations. Our review and/or investment committees also incorporate, to the extent appropriate, consideration of ESG factors into the investment decision-making process. This review is aimed at identifying and addressing material investment risks and opportunities to drive long-term value.
In addition, before deciding to invest in a new hedge fund or a new alternative asset manager, as applicable, our Hedge Fund Solutions and Strategic Partners teams conduct diligence in a number of areas, which, depending on the nature of the investment, may include, among others, the fund’s/manager’s performance, investment terms, investment strategy and investment personnel, as well as its operations, processes, risk management and internal controls. With respect to liquid credit clients and other clients whose portfolios are actively traded in our Credit & Insurance segment, our industry-focused research analysts provide the review and/or investment committee with a formal and comprehensive review of new investment recommendations and portfolio managers and trading professionals discuss, among other things, risks associated with overall portfolio composition. Our Credit & Insurance segment’s research team monitors the operating performance of underlying issuers, while portfolio managers, together with our traders, focus on optimizing asset composition to maximize value for our investors. This investment process is assisted by a variety of proprietary and
non-proprietary
research models and methods.
Existing investments are reviewed and monitored on a regular basis by investment and asset management professionals. In addition, our investment professionals, Portfolio Operations professionals and ESG team work directly with our portfolio company senior executives to identify opportunities to drive operational efficiencies and growth. We also seek to promote ESG initiatives across our portfolio in areas such as diversity and energy efficiency. We seek to set clear expectations for our investments where applicable and strongly encourage them to consider a select number of priority ESG initiatives focused on diversity, decarbonization and good governance. See “—Environmental, Social and Governance” for further details.
 
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Structure and Operation of Our Investment Vehicles
Our private investment funds are generally organized as limited partnerships with respect to U.S. domiciled vehicles and limited partnerships or other similar limited liability entities with respect to
non-U.S.
domiciled vehicles. In the case of our separately managed accounts, the investor, rather than we, generally controls the investment vehicle that holds or has custody of the investments we advise the vehicle to make. We conduct the sponsorship and management of our carry funds and other similar vehicles primarily through a partnership structure in which limited partnerships organized by us accept commitments and/or subscriptions for investment from institutional investors and, to a more limited extent, high net worth individuals. Such commitments are generally drawn down from investors on an
as-needed
basis to fund investments (or for other permitted purposes) over a specified term. With the exception of certain core+ real estate and real estate debt funds, our private equity and real estate funds are commitment-structured funds. For certain BPP, BREIT, BEPIF and BREDS funds, all or a portion of an investor’s capital may be funded on or promptly after the investor’s subscription date and cash proceeds resulting from the disposition of investments can be reinvested, subject to certain limitations and limited investor withdrawal rights. Our credit-focused funds are generally either commitment-structured funds or open-ended funds where the investor’s capital is fully funded on or promptly after the investor’s subscription date. The CLO vehicles we manage are structured investment vehicles that are generally private companies with limited liability. Most of our funds of hedge funds as well as our hedge funds are structured as funds where the investor’s capital is fully funded on the subscription date. BIS is generally structured around separately managed accounts.
Our investment funds, separately managed accounts and other vehicles not domiciled in the European Economic Area (the “EEA”) are each generally advised by a Blackstone entity serving as investment adviser that is registered under the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”). For our investment funds, separately managed accounts and other vehicles domiciled in the EEA, a Blackstone entity domiciled in the EEA generally serves as external alternative investment fund manager (“AIFM”), and the AIFM typically delegates its portfolio management function to a Blackstone-affiliated investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act. The Blackstone entity serving as investment adviser or AIFM, as applicable, typically carries out substantially all of the
day-to-day
operations of each investment vehicle pursuant to an investment advisory, investment management, AIFM or other similar agreement. Generally, the material terms of our investment advisory and AIFM agreements, as applicable, relate to the scope of services to be rendered by the investment adviser or the AIFM to the applicable vehicle, the calculation of management fees to be borne by investors in our investment vehicles, the calculation of and the manner and extent to which other fees received by the investment adviser or the AIFM, as applicable, from funds or fund portfolio companies serve to offset or reduce the management fees payable by investors in our investment vehicles and certain rights of termination with respect to our investment advisory and AIFM agreements. With the exception of the registered funds described below, the investment vehicles themselves do not generally register as investment companies under the U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), in reliance on the statutory exemptions provided by Section 3(c)(7), Section 3(c)(5)(C) or, Section 3(c)(1) thereof. Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act exempts from its registration requirements investment vehicles privately placed in the United States whose securities are beneficially owned exclusively by persons who, at the time of acquisition of such securities, are “qualified purchasers” as defined under the 1940 Act. In addition, under current interpretations of the SEC, Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act exempts from registration any
non-U.S.
investment vehicle all of whose outstanding securities are beneficially owned either by
non-U.S.
residents or by U.S. residents that are qualified purchasers. Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act exempts from its registration requirements certain companies engaged primarily in investment in mortgages and other liens or investments in real estate. Section 3(c)(1) of the 1940 Act exempts from its registration requirements privately placed investment vehicles whose securities are beneficially owned by not more than 100 persons. Additionally, under current interpretations of the SEC, Section 3(c)(1) of the 1940 Act exempts from registration any
non-U.S.
investment vehicle not publicly offered in the U.S. all of whose outstanding securities are beneficially owned by not more than 100 U.S. residents. BXMT is externally managed by a Blackstone-owned entity pursuant to a management agreement, conducts its operations in a manner that allows it to maintain its REIT qualification and
 
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also avail itself of the statutory exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act. BREIT is externally advised by a Blackstone-owned entity pursuant to an advisory agreement, conducts its operations in a manner that allows it to maintain its REIT qualification and also avails itself of the statutory exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act. In some cases, one or more of our investment advisers, including advisers within BXC, BAAM and BREDS, advises or
sub-advises
funds registered, or regulated as a BDC, under the 1940 Act.
In addition to having an investment adviser, each investment fund that is a limited partnership, or “partnership” fund, also has a general partner that, apart from partnership funds domiciled in the EEA, generally makes all operational and investment decisions, including the making, monitoring and disposing of investments. The limited partners of the partnership funds generally take no part in the conduct or control of the business of the investment funds, have no right or authority to act for or bind the investment funds and have no influence over the voting or disposition of the securities or other assets held by the investment funds. With the exception of certain of our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds, certain credit-focused and real estate debt funds, and other funds or separately managed accounts for the benefit of one or more specified investors, third party investors in some of our funds have the right to remove the general partner of the fund or to accelerate the termination of the investment fund without cause by a majority or supermajority vote. In addition, the governing agreements of many of our investment funds provide that in the event certain “key persons” in our investment funds do not meet specified time commitments with regard to managing the fund, then (a) investors in such funds have the right to vote to terminate the investment period by a specified percentage (including, in certain cases a simple majority) vote in accordance with specified procedures, or accelerate the withdrawal of their capital on an
investor-by-investor
basis, or (b) the fund’s investment period will automatically terminate and a specified percentage (including, in certain cases a simple majority) in accordance with specified procedures is required to restart it. In addition, the governing agreements of some of our investment funds provide that investors have the right to terminate the investment period for any reason by a supermajority vote of the investors in such fund.
Fee Structure/Incentive Arrangements
Management Fees
The following is a general description of the management fees earned by Blackstone.
 
   
The investment adviser of each of our
non-EEA
domiciled carry funds and the AIFM of each of our EEA domiciled carry funds generally receives an annual management fee based on a percentage of the fund’s capital commitments, invested capital and/or undeployed capital during the investment period and the fund’s invested capital or investment fair value after the investment period, except that the investment adviser or AIFM to certain of our credit-focused, BPP and BCEP funds receives a management fee based on a percentage of invested capital or net asset value. These management fees are payable on a regular basis (typically quarterly) in the contractually prescribed amounts over the life of the fund. Depending on the base on which management fees are calculated, negative performance of one or more investments in the fund may reduce the total management fee paid for the relevant period, but not the fee rate. Management fees received are not subject to clawback.
 
   
The investment adviser of each of our funds that are structured like hedge funds, or of our funds of hedge funds, registered mutual funds, UCITs funds and separately managed accounts that invest in hedge funds, generally receives a management fee based on a percentage of the fund’s or account’s net asset value. These management fees are payable on a regular basis (typically monthly or quarterly). These funds generally permit investors to withdraw or redeem their interests periodically, in some cases following the expiration of a specified period of time when capital may not be withdrawn. Decreases in the net asset value of investor’s capital accounts may reduce the total management fee paid for the relevant period, but not the fee rate. Management fees received are not subject to clawback. In addition, to the extent the mandate of our funds is to invest capital in third party managed funds, as is the case with our funds of hedge funds, our funds will be required to pay management fees to such third party managers, which typically are borne by investors in such investment vehicles.
 
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The investment adviser of each of our CLOs typically receives annual management fees, which are calculated as a percentage of the CLO’s assets, and additional incentive management fees subject to a return hurdle being met. These management fees are payable on a regular basis (typically quarterly). Although varying from deal to deal, a CLO will typically be wound down within eight to eleven years of being launched. The amount of fees will decrease as the CLO deleverages toward the end of its term.
 
   
The investment adviser of each of our separately managed accounts generally receives annual management fees based on a percentage of each account’s net asset value or invested capital. The management fees we receive from each of our separately managed accounts are generally paid on a regular basis (typically quarterly). Such management fees are generally subject to contractual rights the investor has to terminate our management of an account on generally as short as 30 days’ notice.
 
   
The investment adviser of each of our credit-focused registered and
non-registered
investment companies and our BDCs typically receive an annual management fee based on a percentage of net asset value or total managed assets. The management fees we receive from the registered investment companies we manage are generally paid on a regular basis (typically quarterly). Such management fees are generally subject to contractual rights of the company’s board of directors to terminate our management of an account on as short as 30 days’ notice.
 
   
The investment adviser of BXMT receives an annual management fee, paid quarterly, based on a percentage of BXMT’s net proceeds received from equity offerings and accumulated “distributable earnings” (which is generally equal to its net income, calculated under GAAP, excluding certain
non-cash
and other items), subject to certain adjustments.
 
   
The investment adviser of BREIT receives a management fee based on a percentage of the REIT’s net asset value, payable monthly.
For additional information regarding the management fee rates we receive, see “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies — Revenue Recognition — Management and Advisory Fees, Net.”
Incentive Fees
Incentive fees generally are performance-based allocations of a fund’s net capital appreciation during a measurement period, typically a year, subject to the achievement of minimum return levels, high water marks, and/or other hurdle provisions, in accordance with the respective terms set out in each fund’s governing agreements. Incentive fees are typically realized at the end of the measurement period. Once realized, such fees are typically not subject to clawback or reversal. In particular, our ability to generate and realize Incentive Fees is an important element of our business. The Incentive Fees we earn from certain of our Perpetual Capital strategies represent a significant and growing portion of our overall revenues. The following is a general description of the incentive fees earned by Blackstone.
 
   
In our Hedge Fund Solutions segment, the investment adviser of our funds of hedge funds, certain hedge funds, separately managed accounts that invest in hedge funds and certain
non-U.S.
registered investment companies, is entitled to an incentive fee of 0% to 20%, as applicable, of the applicable investment vehicle’s net appreciation, subject to “high water mark” provisions and in some cases a preferred return. In addition, to the extent the mandate of our funds is to invest capital in third party managed hedge funds, as is the case with our funds of hedge funds, our funds will be required to pay incentive fees to such third party managers, which typically are borne by investors in such investment vehicles.
 
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The general partners or similar entities of each of our real estate and credit hedge fund structures receive incentive fees of generally up to 20% of the applicable fund’s net capital appreciation per annum.
 
   
The investment adviser of our BDCs receives (a) income incentive fees of 12.5% or 15%, as applicable, subject to, in certain cases, certain hurdles,
catch-ups
and caps, payable quarterly, and (b) capital gains incentive fees (net of realized and unrealized losses) of 12.5% or 15%, as applicable, payable annually.
 
   
The investment manager of BXMT receives an incentive fee generally equal to 20% of BXMT’s distributable earnings in excess of a 7% per annum return on stockholders’ equity (excluding stock appreciation or depreciation), provided that BXMT’s distributable earnings over the prior three years is greater than zero.
 
   
The special limited partner of each of BREIT and BEPIF receives an incentive fee of 12.5% of total return, subject to a 5% hurdle amount with a
catch-up
and recouping any loss carryforward amounts, payable annually.
 
   
The general partners of certain open-ended BPP and BIP funds are entitled to an incentive fee allocation generally between 10% and 12.5% of net profit, subject to a hurdle amount generally of between 5.5% and 7%, a loss recovery amount and a
catch-up.
Incentive Fees for these funds are generally realized every three years from when a limited partner makes its initial investment.
Performance Allocations
The general partner or an affiliate of each of our carry funds is entitled to a disproportionate allocation of the income otherwise allocable to the limited partners of such fund, commonly referred to as carried interest (“Performance Allocations”). Our ability to generate and realize carried interest is an important element of our business and has historically accounted for a very significant portion of our income.
Carried interest is typically structured as a net profits interest in the applicable fund. In the case of our carry funds, carried interest is generally calculated on a “realized gain” basis, and each general partner (or affiliate) is generally entitled to an allocation of up to 20% of the net realized income and gains (generally taking into account realized and unrealized or net unrealized losses) generated by such fund. Net realized income or loss is not generally netted between or among funds, and in some cases our carry funds provide for allocations to be made on current income distributions (subject to certain conditions).
For most carry funds, the carried interest is subject to a preferred limited partner return ranging from 5% to 8% per year, subject to a
catch-up
allocation to the general partner. Some of our carry funds do not provide for a preferred return, and generally the terms of our carry funds vary in certain respects across our business units and vintages. If, at the end of the life of a carry fund (or earlier with respect to certain of our real estate, real estate debt, core+ real estate, credit-focused, multi-asset class and opportunistic investment funds), as a result of diminished performance of later investments in a carry fund’s life, (a) the general partner receives in excess of the relevant carried interest percentage(s) applicable to the fund as applied to the fund’s cumulative net profits over the life of the fund, or (in certain cases) (b) the carry fund has not achieved investment returns that exceed the preferred return threshold (if applicable), then we will be obligated to repay an amount equal to the carried interest that was previously distributed to us that exceeds the amounts to which we were ultimately entitled, up to the amount of carried interest received on an
after-tax
basis. This is known as a “clawback” obligation and is an obligation of any person who received such carried interest, including us and other participants in our carried interest plans.
 
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Although a portion of any dividends paid to our shareholders may include any carried interest received by us, we do not intend to seek fulfillment of any clawback obligation by seeking to have our shareholders return any portion of such dividends attributable to carried interest associated with any clawback obligation. To the extent we are required to fulfill a clawback obligation, however, we may determine to decrease the amount of our dividends to our shareholders. The clawback obligation operates with respect to a given carry fund’s own net investment performance only and carried interest of other funds is not netted for determining this contingent obligation. Moreover, although a clawback obligation is several, the governing agreements of most of our funds provide that to the extent another recipient of carried interest (such as a current or former employee) does not fund his or her respective share of the clawback obligation then due, then we and our employees who participate in such carried interest plans may have to fund additional amounts (generally an additional 50% to 70% beyond our
pro-rata
share of such obligation) although we retain the right to pursue any remedies that we have under such governing agreements against those carried interest recipients who fail to fund their obligations. We have recorded a contingent repayment obligation equal to the amount that would be due on December 31, 2021, if the various carry funds were liquidated at their current carrying value.
For additional information concerning the clawback obligations we could face, see “— Item 1A. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — We may not have sufficient cash to pay back “clawback” obligations if and when they are triggered under the governing agreements with our investors.”
Advisory and Transaction Fees
Some of our investment advisers or their affiliates receive customary fees (for example, acquisition, origination and other transaction fees) upon consummation of their funds’ transactions, and may from time to time receive advisory, monitoring and other fees in connection with their activities. For most of the funds where we receive such fees, we are required to reduce the management fees charged to the funds’ investors by 50% to 100% of such limited partner’s share of such fees.
Capital Invested In and Alongside Our Investment Funds
To further align our interests with those of investors in our investment funds, we have invested the firm’s capital and that of our personnel in the investment funds we sponsor and manage. Minimum general partner capital commitments to our investment funds are determined separately with respect to each of our investment funds and, generally, are less than 5% of the limited partner commitments of any particular fund. See “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Capital Resources” for more information regarding our minimum general partner capital commitments to our funds. We determine whether to make general partner capital commitments to our funds in excess of the minimum required commitments based on, among other things, our anticipated liquidity, working capital and other capital needs. In many cases, we require our senior managing directors and other professionals to fund a portion of the general partner capital commitments to our funds. In other cases, we may from time to time offer to our senior managing directors and employees a part of the funded or unfunded general partner commitments to our investment funds. Our general partner capital commitments are funded with cash and not with carried interest or deferral of management fees.
Investors in many of our funds also receive the opportunity to make additional
“co-investments”
with the investment funds. Our personnel, as well as Blackstone itself and certain Blackstone relationships, also have the opportunity to make investments, in or alongside our funds and other vehicles we manage, in some instances without being subject to management fees, carried interest or incentive fees. In certain cases, limited partner investors may pay additional management fees or carried interest in connection with such
co-investments.
Competition
The asset management industry is intensely competitive, and we expect it to remain so. We compete both globally and on a regional, industry and sector basis. We compete on the basis of a number of factors, including investment performance, transaction execution skills, access to capital, access to and retention of qualified personnel, reputation, range of products and services, innovation and price.
 
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We face competition both in the pursuit of institutional and individual investors for our investment funds and in acquiring investments in attractive portfolio companies and making other investments. Although many institutional and individual investors have increased the amount of capital they commit to alternative investment funds, such increases may create increased competition with respect to fees charged by our funds. Certain institutional investors have demonstrated a preference to
in-source
their own investment professionals and to make direct investments in alternative assets without the assistance of private equity advisers like us. We compete for investments with such institutional investors and such institutional investors could cease to be our clients. With respect to the retail channel, the market for capital is highly competitive and requires significant investment.
Depending on the investment, we face competition primarily from sponsors managing other funds, investment vehicles and other pools of capital, other financial institutions and institutional investors (including sovereign wealth and pension funds), corporate buyers, special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) and other parties. Several of these competitors have significant amounts of capital and many of them have investment objectives similar to ours, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities. Some of these competitors may also have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources or other resources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to investment opportunities. In addition, some of these competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments. Corporate buyers may be able to achieve synergistic cost savings with regard to an investment or be perceived by sellers as otherwise being more desirable bidders, which may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for an investment.
In all of our businesses, competition is also intense for the attraction and retention of qualified employees. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our businesses will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees.
For additional information concerning the competitive risks that we face, see “— Item 1A. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — The asset management business is intensely competitive.”
Environmental, Social and Governance
We view ESG as central to our mission of delivering strong returns for clients. We believe that ESG principles are foundational to developing resilient companies and assets that deliver long-term value for our investors. ESG principles have long informed the way we run our firm, approach investing and partner with the assets in our portfolio. In recent years we have formalized our approach, knitting these efforts together through a dedicated corporate ESG team, led by our Global Head of ESG, that looks to apply our ESG policies, champion firmwide initiatives and support integration within the business units, and regularly reports progress to stakeholders.
ESG at Blackstone is overseen by senior management, who is supported by dedicated steering committees and working groups, including the Global ESG Steering Committee, as well as regional coverage through the Asia ESG Steering Committee and Europe ESG Steering Committee. Other ESG working groups include the Climate Working Group, the Data Working Group and the Legal & Compliance Working Group. Senior management reports quarterly on ESG to our board of directors, who is responsible for reviewing our ESG strategy.
Blackstone also aims to encourage ESG progress across our industry and we are pleased to partner with several organizations to further this objective, including the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”), the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk and Sustainability and the Principles for Responsible Investment.
 
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We have accelerated our focus on corporate sustainability and pursuing environmental performance improvements at our office locations. We proactively renovate our spaces to provide additional employee amenities and comfort while implementing
up-to-date
efficient lighting and HVAC systems. Blackstone has also committed to measuring and targeting a reduction of emissions across our portfolio companies within the scope of our Emissions Reduction Program. The Emissions Reduction Program aims to reduce energy spend by reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions for new assets where we control the energy usage by 15% in aggregate over the first three years of ownership. To further Blackstone’s sustainability efforts, we continue to expand our resources to enable us to endeavor to drive value-generating sustainability practices and decarbonization at scale.
Human Capital Management
Blackstone’s employees are integral to our culture of integrity, professionalism, excellence and cooperation. The intellectual capital collectively possessed by our employees is our most important asset. We hire qualified people, train them and encourage them to work together to provide their best thinking to the firm for the benefit of the investors in the funds we manage. As of December 31, 2021, we employed approximately 3,795 people. During 2021, our total number of employees increased by approximately 630.
Our board of directors plays an active role in overseeing our human capital management efforts. To that end, senior management reviews with our board of directors management succession planning and development and other key aspects of our talent management strategy.
Employee and Community Engagement
Blackstone is committed to ensuring our employees are engaged with their work and with their local communities. To that end, Blackstone regularly gathers feedback from our employees via internal and/or external surveys to assess employee engagement and satisfaction and develop targeted solutions. Blackstone also supports its employee affinity networks which are dedicated to recruiting, retaining and raising awareness of diverse groups through speaker series, networking events, service opportunities and mentoring relationships.
In addition, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation (“BXCF”) was established in 2007, and is committed to supporting Blackstone’s goal of creating economic opportunity for under-resourced communities. This includes, among other initiatives, its signature Blackstone LaunchPad network, which helps college and university students gain entrepreneurial experiences and competencies to build successful companies and careers, and BX Connects, a global program that provides Blackstone employees with the opportunity to make a difference through community service, volunteer projects, mentoring and
non-profit
board service. BX Connects uses the firm’s scale, talent and resources to make grants, develop nonprofit partnerships and create employee engagement opportunities. Approximately 85% of our employees engaged globally with BXCF’s charitable initiatives in 2021.
Talent Acquisition, Development and Retention
We believe the talent of our employees, coupled with our rigorous investment process, has supported our excellent investment record over many years. We are therefore focused on hiring, training, motivating and retaining talented individuals. Across all our businesses, we face intense competition for qualified personnel.
We seek to attract candidates from different backgrounds and skill sets and to hire the brightest minds in our industry. We believe our reputation, talent development opportunities and compensation make us an attractive employer. We encourage independent thinking and reward initiative while providing training and development opportunities to help our employees grow professionally. In addition, our Respect at Work programs and trainings help maintain an inclusive work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Employee education and training are also critical to maintaining a culture of compliance.
 
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Blackstone offers a wide range of learning and professional development opportunities, both formally and informally, to help employees advance their careers and maximize the value they can add to the global firm. Incoming analyst classes are provided with training that spans several weeks. In addition, our new hires are provided with training and other opportunities to help them thrive in our culture, including through our Culture Program and our Leadership Speaker Series. Blackstone employees are trained or enrolled in compliance training when they start at the firm and we retrain employees globally at least once annually. Over the course of their careers at Blackstone, employees are offered learning opportunities in a number of areas including leadership and management development and communication skills, among others. We offer a global development curriculum on key capabilities required to succeed at Blackstone, and we partner with external organizations to deliver training programs for our employees. We consistently seek to create visibility and opportunities for talent to take on roles beyond their current positions, and for managers to connect regularly to discuss and match talent with critical roles. These efforts result in cross-pollination of talent that we believe engages our people and generates stronger outcomes for the firm.
As discussed below, we seek to retain and incentivize the performance of our employees through our compensation structure. We also enter into
non-competition
and
non-solicitation
agreements with certain employees. See “Part III. Item 11. Executive Compensation —
Non-Competition
and
Non-Solicitation
Agreements” for a description of the material terms of such agreements.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”)
We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce makes us better investors and a better firm. We are committed to attracting, developing and advancing a diverse workforce that represents a spectrum of backgrounds, identities and experiences. We are focused on embedding DEI principles to maintain a culture of equity and inclusion. We believe this will leverage the diversity of our workforce and deliver results for our investors.
To that end, our talent acquisition platform includes programs aimed at expanding diversity at Blackstone and in financial services, such as the Blackstone Future Women Leaders program and the Blackstone Diverse Leaders program. Our employees are invited to participate in our internal affinity networks, which seek to engage, connect and create a supportive environment for our employees, including by hosting speaker series, professional development panels and social events. These networks include the Blackstone Women’s Initiative, the Blackstone Diverse Professionals Network, OUT Blackstone and the Blackstone Veterans Network. We have also achieved a score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, earning the designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT+ Equality” for the fourth year in a row.
We believe diversity of thought and experience builds better businesses. We seek to ensure that the board of directors is composed of members whose collective experience, qualifications and skills will allow the board to effectively satisfy its oversight responsibilities. We also recognize that diversity is an important component of effective governance.
One-third
of our board of directors is diverse. Likewise, with respect to our portfolio companies, in 2021 we announced that we will target at least
one-third
diverse representation on new controlled portfolio company boards in the U.S. and Europe. We also launched our Career Pathways pilot program, creating economic opportunity across our portfolio through career mobility and ensuring select portfolio companies have access to the largest pool of talent.
Compensation and Benefits
Our compensation is designed to motivate and retain employees and align their interests with those of the investors in our funds. In particular, incentive compensation for our senior managing directors and other employees involves a combination of annual cash bonus payments and performance interests or deferred equity awards, which we believe encourages them to focus on the performance of our investment funds and the overall performance of the firm. The proportion of compensation that is “at risk” generally increases as an employee’s
 
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level of responsibility rises. Employees at higher total compensation levels are generally targeted to receive a greater percentage of their total compensation payable in annual cash bonuses, participation in performance interests, and deferred equity awards and a lesser percentage in the form of base salary compared to employees at lower total compensation levels. To further align their interests with those of investors in our funds, our employees have the opportunity to make investments in or alongside our funds and other vehicles we manage. We also provide our employees robust health and retirement offerings, as well as a variety of quality of life benefits, including
time-off
options and well-being and family planning resources.
We believe our current compensation and benefit allocations for senior professionals are best in class and are consistent with companies in the alternative asset management industry. Our senior management periodically reviews the effectiveness and competitiveness of our compensation program. Most of our current senior managing directors and other senior personnel have equity interests in our business that entitle such personnel to cash distributions. See “Part III. Item 11. Executive Compensation — Compensation Discussion and Analysis — Overview of Compensation Philosophy and Program” for more information on compensation of our senior managing directors and certain other employees.
Blackstone also offers comprehensive and competitive benefits to its full-time employees, including primary and secondary caregiver leave, adoption leave, phased back to work, fertility coverage, back up childcare and more. We continually evaluate and enhance our offerings to meet the needs of our employees. We recently introduced additional family planning benefits for U.S. employees such as enhancing infertility benefits to include cryopreservation and extending primary caregiver leave to 20 weeks (up from 16 weeks).
Health and Wellness
We care greatly about the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees. We offer employee well-being programs, including an online therapy program and access to an education platform with coaching to support working parents and caretakers caring for children who have behavioral problems, autism or developmental disabilities. We also provide access to programs to further assist our employees in managing their lives outside of work, such as group legal services to help with estate planning and surrogacy agreements.
In response to the
COVID-19
pandemic, our primary focus has been the safety and wellbeing of our employees and their families and the seamless functioning of the firm in serving our investors, and our shareholders. Where remote work has been appropriate or recommended under local government guidelines, our technology infrastructure has proven to be robust and capable of supporting a remote work model. Our return to office protocols have been developed and implemented consistent with local government guidelines, with social distancing, vaccination requirements for office attendance in certain jurisdictions and other safety protocols in place. We have invested over $28.7 million in extensive measures to ensure employee safety, including regular testing, contact tracing technology and commutation benefits. We continue to monitor applicable public health and government guidance and the proliferation of variants.
Data Privacy and Security
Blackstone is committed to privacy and data protection. These topics are included in routine training received at least once annually by employees. Data privacy is typically addressed in the Global Head of Compliance’s annual update to our board of directors. Blackstone’s approach to data protection is set out in our Online Privacy Notice and its Investor Data Privacy Notice. Our Data Policy and Strategy Officer oversees privacy, data protection and information risk management efforts, leading the privacy and data protection function, which conducts privacy impact assessments, implements
privacy-by-design
initiatives and reconciles global privacy programs with local privacy requirements. Our privacy function also supports the Data Protection Operating Committee, Blackstone’s global privacy compliance steering committee.
 
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Blackstone has built a dedicated cybersecurity team and maintains a comprehensive cybersecurity program to protect our systems, our operations and the data entrusted to us by our investors, employees, portfolio companies and business partners. Blackstone’s cybersecurity program is led by our Chief Information Security Officer, who works closely with our senior management to develop and advance the firm’s cybersecurity strategy and regularly reports to our board of directors and the audit committee of our board of directors on cybersecurity matters. We believe that cybersecurity is a team effort — every employee has a responsibility to help protect the firm and secure its data. We conduct regular testing at least once a year to identify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers, using automated tools and “white hat” hackers. We examine and validate our program every two to three years with third parties, measuring it against industry standards and established frameworks, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Center for Internet Security. We have a comprehensive Security Incident Response Plan to ensure that any
non-routine
events are properly escalated. These plans are validated at least annually through a cyber incident tabletop exercise to consider the types of decisions that would need to be made in the event of a cyber incident. We have engaged in scenario planning exercises around cyber incidents.
Regulatory and Compliance Matters
Our businesses, as well as the financial services industry generally, are subject to extensive regulation in the United States and in many of the markets in which we operate.
Many of our businesses are subject to compliance with laws and regulations of U.S. federal and state governments,
non-U.S.
governments, their respective agencies and/or various self-regulatory organizations or exchanges. The SEC and various self-regulatory organizations, state securities regulators and international securities regulators have in recent years increased their regulatory activities, including regulation, examination and enforcement in respect of asset management firms, including Blackstone. Any failure to comply with these regulations could expose us to liability and/or damage our reputation. Our businesses have operated for many years within a legal framework that requires us to monitor and comply with a broad range of legal and regulatory developments that affect our activities. However, additional legislation, changes in rules promulgated by financial regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations or changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules, either in the United States or abroad, may directly affect our mode of operation and profitability.
All of the investment advisers of our investment funds operating in the U.S. are registered as investment advisers with the SEC under the Advisers Act (other investment advisers may be registered in
non-U.S.
jurisdictions). Registered investment advisers are subject to the requirements and regulations of the Advisers Act. Such requirements relate to, among other things, fiduciary duties to advisory clients, maintaining an effective compliance program and code of ethics, investment advisory contracts, solicitation agreements, conflicts of interest, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, disclosure, advertising and custody requirements, political contributions, limitations on agency cross and principal transactions between an adviser and advisory clients, and general anti-fraud prohibitions. Certain investment advisers are also registered with international regulators in connection with their management of products that are locally distributed and/or regulated.
Blackstone Securities Partners L.P. (“BSP”), a subsidiary through which we conduct our capital markets business and certain of our fund marketing and distribution, is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC and is subject to regulation and oversight by the SEC, is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or “FINRA,” and is registered as a broker-dealer in 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In addition, FINRA, a self-regulatory organization subject to oversight by the SEC, adopts and enforces rules governing the conduct, and examines the activities, of its member firms, including BSP. State securities regulators also have regulatory oversight authority over BSP.
 
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Broker-dealers are subject to regulations that cover all aspects of the securities business, including, among others, the implementation of a supervisory control system over the securities business, advertising and sales practices, conduct of and compensation in connection with public securities offerings, maintenance of adequate net capital, record keeping and the conduct and qualifications of employees. In particular, as a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA, BSP is subject to the SEC’s uniform net capital rule, Rule
15c3-1.
Rule
15c3-1
specifies the minimum level of net capital a broker-dealer must maintain and also requires that a significant part of a broker-dealer’s assets be kept in relatively liquid form. The SEC and various self-regulatory organizations impose rules that require notification when net capital of a broker-dealer falls below certain predefined criteria, limit the ratio of subordinated debt to equity in the capital structure of a broker-dealer and constrain the ability of a broker-dealer to expand its business under certain circumstances. Additionally, the SEC’s uniform net capital rule imposes certain requirements that may have the effect of prohibiting a broker-dealer from distributing or withdrawing capital and requiring prior notice to the SEC for certain withdrawals of capital.
In addition, certain of the
closed-end
and
open-end
investment companies we manage, advise or
sub-advise
are registered, or regulated as a BDC, under the 1940 Act. The 1940 Act and the rules thereunder govern, among other things, the relationship between us and such investment vehicles and limit such investment vehicles’ ability to enter into certain transactions with us or our affiliates, including other funds managed, advised or
sub-advised
by us.
Pursuant to the U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, or “FSMA,” certain of our subsidiaries are subject to regulations promulgated and administered by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). The FSMA and rules promulgated thereunder form the cornerstone of legislation which governs all aspects of our investment business in the United Kingdom, including sales, research and trading practices, provision of investment advice, use and safekeeping of client funds and securities, regulatory capital, recordkeeping, approval standards for individuals, anti-money laundering, periodic reporting and settlement procedures. The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP (“BGIP”) acts as a
sub-advisor
to its Blackstone U.S. affiliates in relation to the investment and
re-investment
of Europe, Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”) based assets of Blackstone Funds, arranging transactions to be entered into by or on behalf of Blackstone Funds, and providing certain related services. Until December 31, 2020, BGIP had a MiFID II (as defined herein) cross-border passport to provide investment services into the European Economic Area (“EEA”). As of January 1, 2021, as a result of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, BGIP no longer has a MiFID II passport. Consequently, BGIP can only provide investment services in the certain EEA jurisdictions where it has obtained a domestic license on a cross-border services basis (currently, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Italy), or can operate pursuant to an exemption or relief (currently Ireland, Lichtenstein and Norway), although in certain cases with time limitations. BGIP’s principal place of business is in London and it has representative offices or corporate branches in Abu Dhabi, Italy and France.
Blackstone Ireland Limited (formerly known as Blackstone / GSO Debt Funds Management Europe Limited) (“BIL”) is authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland (“CBI”) as an Investment Firm under the (Irish) European Union (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2017, which largely implements MiFID II in Ireland. BIL’s principal activity is the provision of management and advisory services to certain CLO and
sub-advisory
services to certain affiliates. Blackstone Ireland Fund Management Europe Limited (formerly known as Blackstone / GSO Debt Funds Management Europe II Limited) (“BIFM”) is authorized and regulated by the CBI as an Alternative Investment Fund Manager under the (Irish) European Union (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Regulations) 2013 (“AIFMRs”), which largely implements the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Director (“AIFMD”) in Ireland. BIFM acts as AIFM and provides investment management functions including portfolio management, risk management, administration, marketing and related activities to its alternative investment funds in accordance with AIFMRs and the conditions imposed by the CBI as set out in the CBI’s alternative investment fund rulebook.
Blackstone Europe Fund Management S.à r.l. (“BEFM”) is an authorized Alternative Investment Fund Manager under the Luxembourg Law of 12 July 2013 on alternative investment fund managers (as amended, the “AIFM Law”), which largely implements AIFMD in Luxembourg. BEFM may also provide discretionary portfolio management services, investment advice and reception and transmission of orders in accordance with article 5(4) of the AIFM Law. BEFM provides investment management functions including portfolio management, risk
 
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management, administration, marketing and related activities to the assets of its alternative investment funds, in accordance with the AIFM Law and the regulatory provisions imposed by the
Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier
in Luxembourg. As of January 1, 2021, BEFM promotes Blackstone products and services in European countries where BGIP is not otherwise licensed to do so. BEFM has a branch in Paris, which provides marketing services and where distribution and deal sourcing individuals are based.
Certain Blackstone operating entities are licensed and subject to regulation by financial regulatory authorities in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore: The Blackstone Group Japan K.K., a financial instruments firm, is registered with Kanto Local Finance Bureau and regulated by the Japan Financial Services Agency; The Blackstone Group (HK) Limited is regulated by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission; The Blackstone Group (Australia) Pty Limited and Blackstone Real Estate Australia Pty Limited each holds an Australian financial services license authorizing it to provide financial services in Australia and is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission; and Blackstone Singapore Pte. Ltd. is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Rigorous legal and compliance analysis of our businesses and investments is endemic to our culture and risk management. Our Chief Legal Officer and Global Head of Compliance, together with the Chief Compliance Officers of each of our businesses, supervise our compliance personnel, who are responsible for addressing the regulatory and compliance matters that affect our activities. We strive to maintain a culture of compliance through the use of policies and procedures including a code of ethics, electronic compliance systems, testing and monitoring, communication of compliance guidance and employee education and training. Our compliance policies and procedures address regulatory and compliance matters such as the handling of material
non-public
information, personal securities trading, marketing practices, gifts and entertainment, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery and sanctions, valuation of investments on a fund-specific basis, recordkeeping, potential conflicts of interest, the allocation of investment opportunities, collection of fees and expense allocation.
Our compliance group also monitors the information barriers that we maintain between Blackstone’s businesses. We believe that our various businesses’ access to the intellectual knowledge and contacts and relationships that reside throughout our firm benefits all of our businesses. To maximize that access and related synergies without compromising compliance with our legal and contractual obligations, our compliance group oversees and monitors the communications between groups that are on the private side of our information barrier and groups that are on the public side, as well as between different public side groups. Our compliance group also monitors contractual obligations that may be impacted and potential conflicts that may arise in connection with these inter-group discussions.
In addition, disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting are documented, tested and assessed for design and operating effectiveness in accordance with the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Internal Audit, which independently reports to the audit committee of our board of directors, operates with a global mandate and is responsible for the examination and evaluation of the adequacy and effectiveness of the organization’s governance and risk management processes and internal controls, as well as the quality of performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities to achieve the organization’s stated goals and objectives.
Our enterprise risk management framework is designed to manage
non-investment
risk areas across the firm, such as strategic, financial, human capital, legal, operational, regulatory, reputational and technology risks. Our enterprise risk committee aims to identify, assess, monitor and mitigate such key enterprise risks at the corporate, business unit and fund level. The enterprise risk committee is chaired by our Chief Financial Officer and is comprised of senior management across business units, corporate functions and regions. Senior management reports to the audit committee of the board of directors on the agenda of risk topics evaluated by the enterprise risk committee and provides periodic risk reports, an overview of its view on key risks to the firm and detailed assessments of selected risks, as applicable. Our firmwide valuation committee reviews the valuation process for investments held by us and our investment vehicles, including the application of appropriate valuation standards on a consistent basis. The firmwide valuation committee is chaired by our Chief Financial Officer and is comprised
 
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of senior heads of Blackstone’s businesses and representatives from legal and finance. The review committees and/or investment committees of our businesses review and evaluate investment opportunities in a framework that includes a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the key risks of investments. See “— Investment Process and Risk Management.”
There are a number of pending or recently enacted legislative and regulatory initiatives that could significantly affect our business. Please see “— Item 1A. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Business — Financial regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business” and “— Complex regulatory regimes and potential regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business.”
Available Information
Effective August 6, 2021, The Blackstone Group Inc. changed its name to Blackstone Inc. Effective July 1, 2019, Blackstone Inc. converted from a Delaware limited partnership to a Delaware corporation. Blackstone was formed as a Delaware limited partnership on March 12, 2007.
We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. These filings are available to the public over the internet at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Our principal internet address is www.blackstone.com. We make available free of charge on or through www.blackstone.com our annual reports on
Form 10-K,
quarterly reports on
Form 10-Q,
current reports on
Form 8-K,
and amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The contents of our website are not, however, a part of this report.
 
Item 1A.
Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business
Significant setbacks in the reopening of the global economy or reinstatement of lockdowns or other restrictions as a result of the ongoing
COVID-19
pandemic may adversely impact our performance and results of operations.
The impact of the
COVID-19
pandemic has rapidly evolved around the globe, with many countries, at various times, taking meaningful measures to limit the spread of the virus by instituting quarantines or lockdowns, imposing travel restrictions and vaccination mandates for certain workers or activities and limiting operations of certain
non-essential
businesses. In 2021, the global economy began reopening and robust economic activity supported a continued recovery. However, the emergence of
COVID-19
variants and related surges in
COVID-19
cases have contributed to certain setbacks to reopening and could trigger the reinstatement of restrictions, including mandatory business shut-downs, travel restrictions, reduced business operations and social distancing requirements. Many medical and public health experts believe that
COVID-19
could perpetually reoccur for years, such as seasonally in winter, and even if generally ceasing to be fatal for most people, such reoccurrence could increase the possibility of periods of increased restrictions on business operations. The longer the pandemic impacts activity levels in the locations and sectors in which we and our portfolio companies operate, the more likely it is to have a sustained, material impact on the economy and on us. These and other factors may delay a return to
pre-pandemic,
ordinary course economic activity, or cause the U.S. economy or other major global economies to experience contraction or slower growth. In addition, the
COVID-19
pandemic continues to cause labor shortages and disrupt global supply chains, particularly given China’s strict recurrent COVID restrictions, which has contributed to prolonged disruptions. The
COVID-19
pandemic is also contributing to growing inflationary pressures, particularly in the U.S., where inflation continues to show signs of acceleration. All of the above may adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity and prospects materially and would also exacerbate many of the other risks discussed in this “Risk Factors” section.
 
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Even though the
COVID-19
pandemic has been gradually subsiding, the market turmoil and other changes associated with the pandemic may have lasting effects on our business and operations. The proliferation of remote working may result in long-term changed market and consumer and workplace practices that could negatively impact us and our business. Increased adoption of and familiarity with remote work practices could result in continued decreased demand for business and leisure travel, hotel stays, conference facilities, select U.S. urban residential and office assets, diesel fuel and gasoline. In addition, consumer practices and demands may permanently, or for an extended period, change from what they were prior to the onset of
COVID-19,
including avoiding activities where people are in close proximity to each other, which could adversely affect certain of our investments. Failure of our investment strategies to adapt to these and other changes could adversely impact the returns on our investments.
Adverse impacts on our business as a result of the
COVID-19
pandemic have included, and may in the future include, but are not limited to:
 
   
Performance Revenues
. During parts of 2020 and 2021, our ability to realize value from our investments was adversely impacted by decreased portfolio company revenues and earnings, lack of potential buyers with financial resources to pursue an acquisition, and limited access to the equity capital markets. Although the continuing market recovery has contributed to meaningful capital deployment and realizations, a potential market downturn, a slower economic recovery, inflationary pressures, and associated declines in the value of investments as well as limited capital deployment and realization opportunities could reduce our performance revenues.
 
   
Management Fees
. While continuing market recovery has contributed to meaningful capital deployment, realization and fundraising activity, another potential market downturn may cause us to experience a decline in the pace of our investments or in the pace of our fundraising for new or successor funds or in the value of funds charging management fees based on net asset value. In such a situation, our fee revenues could experience declining growth or decrease.
 
   
Investment Performance
. Many of our investments are in industries that were materially impacted by
COVID-19.
For example, in 2020, certain investments in our real estate portfolio, such as those in the hospitality, location-based entertainment and retail sectors and, in certain geographies, in the office and residential sectors as well as in our private equity portfolio, such as those in the travel, leisure and events sectors, experienced material reductions in value. We have also seen an increasing focus toward rent regulation as a means to address residential affordability caused by undersupply of housing in certain markets in the U.S. and Europe. Such conditions (which may be across industries, sectors or geographies) may contribute to adverse operating performance, including by moderating rent growth in certain geographies and markets in our residential portfolio. While nearly all portfolio companies that completely or partially suspended operations during the pandemic have fully reopened, we cannot predict if any such companies will have to completely or partially suspend operations again in the future. If we experience another meaningful disruption in activity like the one caused by
COVID-19,
the businesses of impacted portfolio companies could suffer materially, which would decrease the value of our funds’ investments. Furthermore, such negative market conditions could potentially result in a portfolio company entering bankruptcy proceedings, thereby potentially resulting in a complete loss of the fund’s investment in such portfolio company and a significant negative impact to the investment fund’s performance and consequently to our operating results and cash flow, as well as to our reputation.
 
   
Liquidity
. In 2020, our portfolio companies faced, and may face in the future, increased credit and liquidity risk due to volatility in financial markets, reduced revenue streams, and limited access or higher cost of financing, which may result in potential impairment of our or our funds’ investments. Changes in the debt financing markets impacted, and may in the future impact, the ability of our portfolio companies to meet their respective financial obligations. For example, the initial outbreak of the pandemic created additional pressure for certain of our portfolio companies’ and investments’ liquidity needs, including by
 
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adversely impacting rent collection and operational performance in certain sectors and geographies. Although we have multiple sources of liquidity to meet our capital needs, changes in the debt financing markets may also in the future impact our ability to refinance our debt obligations. In addition, borrowers of loans, notes and other credit instruments in our credit funds’ portfolios may be unable to meet their principal or interest payment obligations or satisfy financial covenants, and tenants leasing real estate properties owned by our funds may not be able to pay rents in a timely manner or at all, resulting in a decrease in value of our funds’ credit and real estate investments and lower than expected return. Another period of significant dislocation in the credit markets like the one we experienced in the first quarter of 2020, during which the liquidity of certain assets traded in the credit markets was limited, could impact the value of certain assets held by our real estate debt, credit and Hedge Fund Solutions funds, such funds’ ability to sell assets at attractive prices or in a timely manner in order to avoid losses and the likelihood of margin calls from credit providers. In addition, a sudden contraction of liquidity in the credit markets, including as a result of overwhelming desire for liquidity on the part of market participants, is likely to exacerbate the likelihood of forced sales of assets and margins calls, which would result in further declines in the value of assets. For example, in our Hedge Funds Solutions segment, such a contraction could cause investors to seek liquidity in the form of redemptions from our funds, adversely impacting management fees.
 
   
Operational Risks
. The emergence of
COVID-19
variants and rising case counts in certain geographies have contributed to periods of increased remote work, including for our employees. While our technology infrastructure has supported remote work, such working environments may be less secure and more susceptible to hacking attacks, including phishing and social engineering attempts that seek to exploit the
COVID-19
pandemic. In addition, third party service providers on whom we have become increasingly reliant for certain aspects of our business, including for certain technology platforms (including cloud-based services) and the administration of certain funds, could be impacted by an inability to perform due to
COVID-19
restrictions or by failures of, or attacks on, their technology platforms.
 
   
Employee-Related Risks
.
COVID-19
continues to present a threat to our employees’ and their families’ well-being. Our employees or executive officers may become sick or otherwise unable to perform their duties for an extended period of time, and extended public health restrictions and remote working arrangements may impact employee morale. In addition to any potential impact of such extended illness on our operations, we may be exposed to the risk of litigation by our employees against us for, among other things, failure to take adequate steps to protect their well-being, particularly in the event they become sick after a return to the office. A prolonged period of remote work may also make it more difficult to integrate new employees and maintain our culture. Conversely, requiring our employees to return to the office full or part time, particularly if other companies decide to offer extended flexibility to work remotely, may make it more difficult to recruit and retain talent.
The extent to which the
COVID-19
pandemic will affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity and prospects materially will depend on future developments, including the duration, spread and intensity of the pandemic, the emergence of new variants of the virus, the distribution and acceptance of vaccines, the duration of government measures to mitigate the pandemic and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions resume, all of which are uncertain and difficult to predict.
Difficult market and geopolitical conditions can adversely affect our business in many ways, each of which could materially reduce our revenue, earnings and cash flow and adversely affect our financial prospects and condition.
Our business is materially affected by financial market and economic conditions and events throughout the world that are outside our control. We may not be able to or may choose not to manage our exposure to these conditions and/or events. Such conditions and/or events can adversely affect our business in many ways, including by reducing the ability of our funds to raise or deploy capital, reducing the value or performance of the
 
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investments made by our funds and making it more difficult to fund opportunities for our funds to exist and realize value from existing investment. This could in turn materially reduce our revenue, earnings and cash flow and adversely affect our financial prospects and condition. In addition, in the face of a difficult market or economic environment, we may need to reduce our fixed costs and other expenses in order to maintain profitability, including by cutting back or eliminating the use of certain services or service providers, or terminating the employment of a significant number of our personnel that, in each case, could be important to our business and without which our operating results could be adversely affected. A failure to manage or reduce our costs and other expenses within a time frame sufficient to match any decrease in profitability would adversely affect our operating performance.
Turmoil in the global financial markets can provoke significant volatility of equity and debt securities prices. This can have a material and rapid impact on our
mark-to-market
valuations, particularly with respect to our public holdings and credit investments. Geopolitical concerns and other global events, including, without limitation, trade conflict, civil unrest, national and international political circumstances (including outbreak of war, terrorist acts or security operations) and pandemics or other severe public health events, have contributed and may continue to contribute to volatility in global equity and debt markets. For example, the Chinese government has in recent years implemented a number of measures to control the rate of economic growth in the country, including by raising interest rates and adjusting deposit reserve ratios for commercial banks, and through other measures designed to tighten credit and liquidity. A slowing of China’s growth rate could have a systemic impact on the global economy and on equity and debt markets. As publicly traded equity securities have in recent years represented an increasingly significant proportion of the assets of many of our funds, stock market volatility, including a sharp decline in the stock market may adversely affect our results, including our revenues and net income. In addition, our public equity holdings have at times been concentrated in a few large positions, thereby making our unrealized
mark-to-market
valuations particularly sensitive to sharp changes in the price of any of these positions. Further, although the equity markets are not the only means by which we exit investments, should we experience another period of challenging equity markets, our funds may experience increased difficulty in realizing value from investments.
In addition, inflation in the U.S. continues to show meaningful signs of acceleration and is likely to continue in the near- to medium-term. Further, heightened competition for workers, supply chain issues and rising energy and commodity prices have contributed to increasing wages and other inputs. Higher inflation and rising input costs may put pressure on our portfolio companies’ profit margins, particularly where pricing power is lacking. Similarly, in the case of real estate, inflation can negatively impact the profitability of certain real estate assets, such as those with long-term leases that do not provide for short-term rent increases. This would have an adverse impact on the valuations of such investments in our funds and adversely affect our performance and results of operations.
In addition to the factors described above, other factors described herein that may affect market, economic and geopolitical conditions, and thereby adversely affect our business include, without limitation:
 
   
economic slowdown in the U.S. and internationally,
 
   
changes in interest rates and/or a lack of availability of credit in the U.S. and internationally, and
 
   
changes in law and/or regulation, and uncertainty regarding government and regulatory policy, including in connection with the current administration.
 
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A period of economic slowdown, which may be across one or more industries, sectors or geographies, could contribute to adverse operating performance for certain of our funds’ investments, which would adversely affect our operating results and cash flows.
Countries and industries around the globe continue to grapple with the economic impacts of the
COVID-19
pandemic. Although meaningful global economic recovery is underway, such recovery may continue to be uneven and characterized by dispersion across sectors and regions. Any deceleration in the rate of global growth in certain industries, sectors or geographies may contribute to poor financial results at our funds’ portfolio companies, which may result in lower investment returns for our funds. For example, periods of economic weakness have and may in the future contribute to a decline in commodity prices and/or volatility in the oil and natural gas markets, each of which would have an adverse effect on our energy investments. The performance of our funds’ portfolio companies would also likely be negatively impacted if pressure on wages and other inputs increasingly pressure profit margins. To the extent the performance of those portfolio companies, as well as valuation multiples, do not improve, our funds may sell those assets at values that are less than we projected or even a loss, thereby significantly affecting those investment funds’ performance. In addition, as the governing agreements of our funds contain only limited requirements regarding diversification of fund investments (by, for example, sector or geographic region), during periods of economic slowdown in certain sectors or regions, the impact on our funds may be exacerbated by concentration of investments in such sector or region. As a result, our ability to raise new funds, as well as our operating results and cash flows could be adversely affected.
In addition, during periods of weakness, our funds’ portfolio companies may also have difficulty expanding their businesses and operations or meeting their debt service obligations or other expenses as they become due, including expenses payable to us. Furthermore, such negative market conditions could potentially result in a portfolio company entering bankruptcy proceedings, thereby potentially resulting in a complete loss of the fund’s investment in such portfolio company and a significant negative impact to the investment fund’s performance and consequently to our operating results and cash flow, as well as to our reputation. In addition, negative market conditions would also increase the risk of default with respect to investments held by our funds that have significant debt investments, such as our credit-focused funds.
An increase in interest rates and other changes in the financial markets could negatively impact the values of certain assets or investments and the ability of our funds and their portfolio companies to access the capital markets on attractive terms, which could adversely affect investment and realization opportunities, lead to lower-yielding investments and potentially decrease our net income.
Interest rates have remained at relatively low levels on a historical basis and the U.S. Federal Reserve maintained the federal funds target range at 0.0% to 0.25% for much of 2021. However, in early 2022, in light of increasing signs of inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that it foresees up a to a three quarter-percentage point increase in interest rates in 2022, beginning as early as March 2022. The U.S. Federal Reserve has also indicated that it expects continued increases in interest rates in 2023 and 2024. A period of sharply rising interest rates could create downward pressure on the price of real estate and decrease the value of fixed-rate debt investments made by our funds, each of which may have an adverse impact on our business. Further, should the equity markets experience a period of sustained declines in values as a result of concerns regarding rising interest rates, our funds may face increased difficulty in realizing value from investments.
An increase in interest rates could increase the cost of debt financing for the transactions our funds pursue. Further, a significant contraction or weakening in the market for debt financing or other adverse change relating to the terms of debt financing (such as, for example, higher equity requirements and/or more restrictive covenants), particularly in the area of acquisition financings for private equity and real estate transactions, could have a material adverse impact on our business. For example, a portion of the indebtedness used to finance certain fund investments often includes high-yield debt securities issued in the capital markets. Availability of capital from the high-yield debt markets is subject to significant volatility, and there may be times when we might not be able to access those markets at attractive rates, or at all, when completing an investment. Further, the financing of acquisitions or the operations of our funds’ portfolio companies with debt may become less attractive due to limitations on the deductibility of corporate interest expense. See “— Changes in U.S. and foreign taxation of businesses and other tax laws, regulations or treaties or an adverse interpretation of these items by tax authorities could adversely affect us, including by adversely impacting our effective tax rate and tax liability.”
 
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If our funds are unable to obtain committed debt financing for potential acquisitions, can only obtain debt financing at an increased interest rate or on unfavorable terms or the ability to deduct corporate interest expense is substantially limited, our funds may face increased competition from strategic buyers of assets who may have an overall lower cost of capital or the ability to benefit from a higher amount of cost savings following an acquisition, or may have difficulty completing otherwise profitable acquisitions or may generate profits that are lower than would otherwise be the case, each of which could lead to a decrease in our revenues. In addition, rising interest rates, coupled with periods of significant equity and credit market volatility may potentially make it more difficult for us to find attractive opportunities for our funds to exit and realize value from their existing investments.
Our funds’ portfolio companies also regularly utilize the corporate debt markets in order to obtain financing for their operations. To the extent monetary policy, tax or other regulatory changes or difficult credit markets render such financing difficult to obtain, more expensive or otherwise less attractive, this may also negatively impact the financial results of those portfolio companies and, therefore, the investment returns on our funds. In addition, to the extent that market conditions and/or tax or other regulatory changes make it difficult or impossible to refinance debt that is maturing in the near term, some of our funds’ portfolio companies may be unable to repay such debt at maturity and may be forced to sell assets, undergo a recapitalization or seek bankruptcy protection.
A decline in the pace or size of investments made by our funds may adversely affect our revenues.
The revenues that we earn are driven in part by the pace at which our funds make investments and the size of those investments, and a decline in the pace or the size of such investments may reduce our revenues. In particular, in recent years we have meaningfully increased the number of perpetual capital vehicles we offer and the assets under management in such vehicles, particularly in our Real Estate and Credit & Insurance segments. The fees we earn from our perpetual capital vehicles, including our Core+ real estate strategy, represent a significant and growing portion of our overall revenues. If our funds, including our perpetual capital vehicles, are unable to deploy capital at a sufficient pace, our revenues would be adversely impacted. Many factors could cause a decline in the pace of investment, including a market environment characterized by relative high prices, the inability of our investment professionals to identify attractive investment opportunities, competition for such opportunities among other potential acquirers, decreased availability of capital on attractive terms. Further, we may fail to consummate identified investment opportunities because of business, regulatory or legal complexities or uncertainty and adverse developments in the U.S. or global economy, financial markets or geopolitical conditions, and our ability to deploy capital in certain countries may be adversely impacted by U.S. and foreign government policy changes and regulations. For example, our ability to deploy capital in China has been adversely impacted by policies and regulations in China and the U.S. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that, if enacted its current or a similar form, would subject certain outbound investments from the U.S. into China to heightened review by the U.S. government, which could further negatively impact our ability to deploy capital in China. See “— Laws and regulations on foreign direct investment applicable to us and our portfolio companies, both within and outside the U.S., may make it more difficult for us to deploy capital in certain jurisdictions or to sell assets to certain buyers.”
Our revenue, earnings, net income and cash flow can all vary materially, which may make it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis and may cause the price of our common stock to decline.
Our revenue, net income and cash flow can all vary materially due to our reliance on Performance Revenues. We may experience fluctuations in our results, including our revenue and net income, from quarter to quarter due to a number of other factors, including timing of realizations, changes in the valuations of our funds’ investments, changes in the amount of distributions, dividends or interest paid in respect of investments, changes in our operating expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition and general economic and market conditions. Achieving steady growth in net income and cash flow on a quarterly basis may be difficult, which could in turn lead to large adverse movements or general increased volatility in the price of our common stock. We also do not provide any guidance regarding our expected quarterly and annual operating results. The lack of guidance may affect the expectations of public market analysts and could cause increased volatility in our common stock price.
 
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Our cash flow may fluctuate significantly due to the fact that we receive Performance Allocations from our carry funds only when investments are realized and achieve a certain preferred return. Performance Allocations depend on our carry funds’ performance and opportunities for realizing gains, which may be limited. It takes a substantial period of time to identify attractive investment opportunities, to raise all the funds needed to make an investment and then to realize the cash value (or other proceeds) of an investment through a sale, public offering, recapitalization or other exit. Even if an investment proves to be profitable, it may be a number of years before any profits can be realized in cash (or other proceeds). We cannot predict when, or if, any realization of investments will occur.
The
mark-to-market
valuations of investments made by our funds are subject to volatility driven by economic and market conditions. Economic and market conditions may also negatively impact our realization opportunities.
The valuations of and realization opportunities for investments made by our funds could also be subject to high volatility as a result of uncertainty regarding governmental policy with respect to, among other things, tax, financial services regulation, international trade, immigration, healthcare, labor, infrastructure and energy.
In addition, upon the realization of a profitable investment by any of our carry funds and prior to our receiving any Performance Allocations in respect of that investment, 100% of the proceeds of that investment must generally be paid to the investors in that carry fund until they have recovered certain fees and expenses and achieved a certain return on all realized investments by that carry fund as well as a recovery of any unrealized losses. A particular realization event may have a significant impact on our results for that particular quarter that may not be replicated in subsequent quarters. We recognize revenue on investments in our investment funds based on our allocable share of realized and unrealized gains (or losses) reported by such investment funds, and a decline in realized or unrealized gains, or an increase in realized or unrealized losses, would adversely affect our revenue and possibly cash flow, which could further increase the volatility of our quarterly results. Because our carry funds have preferred return thresholds to investors that need to be met prior to our receiving any Performance Allocations, substantial declines in the carrying value of the investment portfolios of a carry fund can significantly delay or eliminate any Performance Allocations paid to us in respect of that fund since the value of the assets in the fund would need to recover to their aggregate cost basis plus the preferred return over time before we would be entitled to receive any Performance Allocations from that fund.
The timing and receipt of Performance Allocations also varies with the life cycle of our carry funds. During periods in which a relatively large portion of our assets under management is attributable to carry funds and investments in their “harvesting” period, our carry funds would make larger distributions than in the fundraising or investment periods that precede harvesting. During periods in which a significant portion of our assets under management is attributable to carry funds that are not in their harvesting periods, we may receive substantially lower Performance Allocations.
For certain of our vehicles, including our core+ real estate funds, infrastructure funds and other of our perpetual capital vehicles, which have in recent years become increasing large contributors to our earnings, our incentive income is paid between quarterly and every five years. The varying frequency of these payments will contribute to the volatility of our cash flow. Furthermore, we earn this incentive income only if the net asset value of a vehicle has increased or, in the case of certain vehicles, increased beyond a particular return threshold, or if the vehicle has earned a net profit. Certain of these vehicles also have “high water marks” whereby we do not earn incentive income during a particular period even though the vehicle had positive returns in such period as a result of losses in prior periods. If one of these vehicles experiences losses, we will not earn incentive income from it until it surpasses the previous high water mark. The incentive income we earn is therefore dependent on the net asset value or the net profit of the vehicle, which could lead to significant volatility in our results.
 
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Adverse economic and market conditions may adversely affect the amount of cash generated by our businesses, and in turn, our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders.
We primarily use cash to, without limitation (a) provide capital to facilitate the growth of our existing businesses, which principally includes funding our general partner and
co-investment
commitments to our funds, (b) provide capital for business expansion, (c) pay operating expenses, including cash compensation to our employees, and other obligations as they arise, including servicing our debt and (d) pay dividends to our stockholders, make distributions to the holders of Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units and make repurchases under our share repurchase program. Our principal sources of cash are: (a) cash we received in connection with our prior bond offerings, (b) management fees, (c) realized incentive fees and (d) realized performance allocations, which is the sum of Realized Principal Investment Income and Realized Performance Revenues less Realized Performance Compensation. We have also entered into a $2.25 billion revolving credit facility with a final maturity date of November 24, 2025. Our long-term debt totaled $7.9 billion in borrowings from our prior bond issuances. As of December 31, 2021, we had $250.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our revolving credit facility, which borrowings were repaid subsequent to December 31, 2021. As of December 31, 2021, we had $2.1 billion in Cash and Cash Equivalents, $658.1 million invested in Corporate Treasury Investments and $3.3 billion in Other Investments.
If the global economy and conditions in the financing markets worsen, our fund investment performance could suffer, resulting in, for example, the payment of less or no Performance Allocations to us. This could materially and adversely affect the amount of cash we have on hand, including for, among other purposes, the payment of dividends to our stockholders. Having less cash on hand could in turn require us to rely on other sources of cash (such as the capital markets, which may not be available to us on acceptable terms) for the above purposes. Furthermore, during adverse economic and market conditions, we might not be able to renew all or part of our existing revolving credit facility or find alternate financing on commercially reasonable terms. As a result, our uses of cash may exceed our sources of cash, thereby potentially affecting our liquidity position.
We depend on our founder and other key senior managing directors and the loss of their services would have a material adverse effect on our business, results and financial condition.
We depend on the efforts, skill, reputations and business contacts of our founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman, our President, Jonathan D. Gray, and other key senior managing directors, the information and deal flow they generate during the normal course of their activities and the synergies among the diverse fields of expertise and knowledge held by our professionals. Accordingly, our success will depend on the continued service of these individuals, who are not obligated to remain employed with us. Several key senior managing directors have left the firm in the past and others may do so in the future, and we cannot predict the impact that the departure of any key senior managing director will have on our ability to achieve our investment objectives. For example, the governing agreements of many of our funds generally provide investors with the ability to terminate the investment period in the event that certain “key persons” in the fund do not provide the specified time commitment to the fund or our firm ceases to control the general partner. The loss of the services of any key senior managing directors could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, net income and cash flows and could harm our ability to maintain or grow assets under management in existing funds or raise additional funds in the future. We have historically relied in part on the interests of these professionals in the investment funds’ carried interest and incentive fees to discourage them from leaving the firm. However, to the extent our investment funds perform poorly, thereby reducing the potential for carried interest and incentive fees, their interests in carried interest and incentive fees become less valuable to them and become less effective as incentives for them to continue to be employed at Blackstone.
Our senior managing directors and other key personnel possess substantial experience and expertise and have strong business relationships with investors in our funds, clients and other members of the business community. As a result, the loss of these personnel could jeopardize our relationships with investors in our funds, our clients and members of the business community and result in the reduction of assets under management or fewer investment opportunities.
 
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Our publicly traded structure and other factors may adversely affect our ability to recruit, retain and motivate our senior managing directors and other key personnel, which could adversely affect our business, results and financial condition.
Our most important asset is our people, and our continued success is highly dependent upon the efforts of our senior managing directors and other professionals. Our future success and growth depend to a substantial degree on our ability to retain and motivate our senior managing directors and other key personnel and to strategically recruit, retain and motivate new talented personnel. Our senior managing directors’ compensation generally includes awards of Blackstone equity interests that entitle the holder to cash distributions or dividends. Our current senior managing directors own a meaningful amount of such equity interests (including Blackstone Holdings Partnership units). The value of such equity interests, however, and the distributions or dividends in respect thereof, may not be sufficient to retain and motivate our senior managing directors and other key personnel, nor may they be sufficiently attractive to strategically recruit, retain and motivate new talented personnel.
Additionally, the minimum retained ownership requirements and transfer restrictions to which these interests are subject in certain instances lapse over time, may not be enforceable in all cases and can be waived. There is no guarantee that the
non-competition
and
non-solicitation
agreements to which our senior managing directors are subject, together with our other arrangements with them, will prevent them from leaving, joining our competitors or otherwise competing with us or that these agreements will be enforceable in all cases. In addition, these agreements will expire after a certain period of time, at which point each of our senior managing directors would be free to compete against us and solicit investors in our funds, clients and employees.
We might not be able to provide future senior managing directors with interests in our business to the same extent or with the same tax consequences from which our existing senior managing directors previously benefited. For example, U.S. Federal income tax law currently imposes a three-year holding period requirement for carried interest to be treated as long-term capital gain. The holding period requirement may result in some of our carried interest being treated as ordinary income, which would materially increase the amount of taxes that our employees and other key personnel would be required to pay. Moreover, the tax treatment of carried interest continues to be an area of focus for policymakers and government officials, which could result in further regulatory action by federal or state governments. See “— Changes in U.S. and foreign taxation of businesses and other tax laws, regulations or treaties or an adverse interpretation of these items by tax authorities could adversely affect us, including by adversely impacting our effective tax rate and tax liability.” In addition, certain states have temporarily increased the income tax rate for the state’s highest earners, which could subject certain of our personnel to the highest combined
state-and-local
tax rate in the United States. Potential tax rate increases and changes to the tax treatment of carried interest and in applicable tax laws, along with changing opinions regarding living in some geographies where we have offices, may adversely affect our ability to recruit, retain and motivate our current and future professionals.
Alternatively, the value of the equity awards we issue senior managing directors at any given time may subsequently fall (as reflected in the market price of common stock), which could counteract the incentives we are seeking to induce in them. Therefore, in order to recruit and retain existing and future senior managing directors, we may need to increase the level of compensation that we pay to them, which would cause our total employee compensation and benefits expense as a percentage of our total revenue to increase and adversely affect our profitability. In addition, issuance of equity interests in our business in the future to senior managing directors and other personnel would dilute public common stockholders.
 
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We strive to maintain a work environment that reinforces our culture of collaboration, motivation and alignment of interests with investors. If we do not continue to develop and implement the right processes and tools to manage our changing enterprise and maintain this culture, particularly in light of rapid and significant growth in our employee population, our ability to compete successfully and achieve our business objectives could be impaired, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The asset management business is intensely competitive.
The asset management business is intensely competitive, with competition based on a variety of factors, including investment performance, the quality of service provided to clients, investor liquidity and willingness to invest, fund terms (including fees), brand recognition and business reputation. Our asset management business competes with a number of private equity funds, specialized investment funds, hedge funds, funds of hedge funds and other sponsors managing pools of capital, as well as corporate buyers, traditional asset managers, commercial banks, investment banks and other financial institutions (including sovereign wealth funds), and we expect that competition will continue to increase. For example, certain traditional asset managers have developed their own private equity platforms and are marketing other asset allocation strategies as alternatives to hedge fund investments. Additionally, developments in financial technology, or fintech, such as distributed ledger technology, or blockchain, have the potential to disrupt the financial industry and change the way financial institutions, as well as asset managers, do business. A number of factors serve to increase our competitive risks:
 
   
a number of our competitors in some of our businesses have greater financial, technical, research, marketing and other resources and more personnel than we do,
 
   
some of our funds may not perform as well as competitors’ funds or other available investment products,
 
   
several of our competitors have significant amounts of capital, and many of them have similar investment objectives to ours, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities and may reduce the size and duration of pricing inefficiencies that many alternative investment strategies seek to exploit,
 
   
some of our competitors, particularly strategic competitors, may have a lower cost of capital, which may be exacerbated to the extent potential changes to the Internal Revenue Code limit the deductibility of interest expense,
 
   
some of our competitors may have access to funding sources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to investment opportunities,
 
   
some of our competitors may be subject to less regulation and accordingly may have more flexibility to undertake and execute certain businesses or investments than we can and/or bear less compliance expense than we do,
 
   
some of our competitors may have more flexibility than us in raising certain types of investment funds under the investment management contracts they have negotiated with their investors,
 
   
some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments that we want to make or to seek exit opportunities through different channels, such as special purpose acquisition vehicles (“SPACs”),
 
   
some of our competitors may be more successful than us in the development of new products to address investor demand for new or different investment strategies and/or regulatory changes, including with respect to products with mandates that incorporate ESG considerations, or products that are targeted toward retail or insurance capital,
 
   
there are relatively few barriers to entry impeding new alternative asset fund management firms, and the successful efforts of new entrants into our various businesses, including former “star” portfolio managers at large diversified financial institutions as well as such institutions themselves, is expected to continue to result in increased competition,
 
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some of our competitors may have better expertise or be regarded by investors as having better expertise in a specific asset class or geographic region than we do,
 
   
some of our competitors may be more successful than us in the development and implementation of new technology to address investor demand for product and strategy innovation, particularly in the hedge fund industry,
 
   
our competitors that are corporate buyers may be able to achieve synergistic cost savings in respect of an investment, which may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for an investment,
 
   
some investors may prefer to invest with an investment manager that is not publicly traded or is smaller with only one or two investment products that it manages, and
 
   
other industry participants will from time to time seek to recruit our investment professionals and other employees away from us.
We may lose investment opportunities in the future if we do not match investment prices, structures and terms offered by competitors. Alternatively, we may experience decreased rates of return and increased risks of loss if we match investment prices, structures and terms offered by competitors. Moreover, if we are forced to compete with other alternative asset managers on the basis of price, we may not be able to maintain our current fund fee and carried interest terms. We have historically competed primarily on the performance of our funds, and not on the level of our fees or carried interest relative to those of our competitors. However, there is a risk that fees and carried interest in the alternative investment management industry will decline, without regard to the historical performance of a manager. Fee or carried interest income reductions on existing or future funds, without corresponding decreases in our cost structure, would adversely affect our revenues and profitability.
In addition, the attractiveness of our investment funds relative to investments in other investment products could decrease depending on economic conditions. Furthermore, any new or incremental regulatory measures for the U.S. financial services industry may increase costs and create regulatory uncertainty and additional competition for many of our funds. See “— Financial regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business.”
This competitive pressure could adversely affect our ability to make successful investments and limit our ability to raise future investment funds, either of which would adversely impact our business, revenue, results of operations and cash flow.
Our business depends in large part on our ability to raise capital from third party investors. A failure to raise capital from third party investors on attractive fee terms or at all, would impact our ability to collect management fees or deploy such capital into investments and potentially collect Performance Allocations, which would materially reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our financial condition.
Our ability to raise capital from third party investors depends on a number of factors, including certain factors that are outside our control. Certain factors, such as the performance of the stock market and the asset allocation rules or investment policies to which such third party investors are subject, could inhibit or restrict the ability of third party investors to make investments in our investment funds or the asset classes in which our investment funds invest. For example, state politicians and lawmakers across a number of states, including Pennsylvania and Florida, have continued to put forth proposals or expressed intent to take steps to reduce or minimize the ability of their state pension funds to invest in alternative asset classes, including by proposing to increase the reporting or other obligations applicable to their state pension funds that invest in such asset classes. Such proposals or actions would potentially discourage investment by such state pension funds in alternative asset classes by imposing meaningful compliance burdens and costs on them, which could adversely affect our ability to raise capital from
 
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such state pension funds. Other states could potentially take similar actions, which may further impair our access to capital from an investor base that has historically represented a significant portion of our fundraising. In addition, volatility in the valuations of investments, has in the past and may in the future affect our ability to raise capital from third party investors. To the extent periods of volatility are coupled with a lack of realizations from investors’ existing private equity and real estate portfolios, such investors may be left with disproportionately outsized remaining commitments to a number of investment funds, which significantly limits such investors’ ability to make new commitments to third party managed investment funds such as those managed by us. In addition, we have increasingly undertaken initiatives to increase the number and type of investment products we offer to retail investors. Certain of our investment vehicles that are available to such investors are subject to state registration requirements that impose limits on the proportion of such investors’ net worth that can be invested in our products. These restrictions may limit such investors’ ability or willingness to allocate capital to such products and adversely affect our fundraising in the retail channel.
Our ability to raise new funds could similarly be hampered if the general appeal of real estate, private equity and other alternative investments were to decline. An investment in a limited partner interest in an alternative investment fund is generally more illiquid and the returns on such investment may be more volatile than an investment in securities for which there is a more active and transparent market. In periods of positive markets and low volatility, for example, investors may favor passive investment strategies such as index funds over our actively managed investment vehicles. Alternative investments could also fall into disfavor as a result of concerns about liquidity and short-term performance. Such concerns could be exhibited, in particular, by public pension funds, which have historically been among the largest investors in alternative assets. Many public pension funds are significantly underfunded and their funding problems have been, and may in the future be, exacerbated by economic downturn. Concerns with liquidity could cause such public pension funds to reevaluate the appropriateness of alternative investments. Although a number of investors, including certain public pension funds, have increased their allocations to alternative investments in recent years, there is no assurance that this will continue or that our ability to raise capital from investors will not be hampered. In addition, our ability to raise capital from third parties outside of the U.S. could be limited to the extent other countries, such as China, impose restrictions or limitations on outbound foreign investment.
Moreover, certain institutional investors are demonstrating a preference to
in-source
their own investment professionals and to make direct investments in alternative assets without the assistance of alternative asset advisers like us. Such institutional investors may become our competitors and could cease to be our clients. As some existing investors cease or significantly curtail making commitments to alternative investment funds, we may need to identify and attract new investors in order to maintain or increase the size of our investment funds. There are no assurances that we can find or secure commitments from those new investors or that the fee terms of the commitments from such new investors will be consistent with the fees historically paid to us by our investors. If economic conditions were to deteriorate or if we are unable to find new investors, we might raise less than our desired amount for a given fund. Further, as we seek to expand into other asset classes, we may be unable to raise a sufficient amount of capital to adequately support such businesses. A failure to successfully raise capital could materially reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our financial condition.
In connection with raising new funds or making further investments in existing funds, we negotiate terms for such funds and investments with existing and potential investors. The outcome of such negotiations could result in our agreement to terms that are materially less favorable to us than for prior funds we have managed or funds managed by our competitors, including with respect to management fees, incentive fees and/or carried interest, which could have an adverse impact on our revenues. Such terms could also restrict our ability to raise investment funds with investment objectives or strategies that compete with existing funds, add additional expenses and obligations for us in managing the fund or increase our potential liabilities, all of which could ultimately reduce our revenues. In addition, certain institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds and public pension funds, have demonstrated an increased preference for alternatives to the traditional investment fund structure, such as
 
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managed accounts, smaller funds and
co-investment
vehicles. There can be no assurance that such alternatives will be as profitable for us as the traditional investment fund structure, or as to the impact such a trend could have on the cost of our operations or profitability if we were to implement these alternative investment structures. In addition, certain institutional investors, including public pension funds, have publicly criticized certain fund fee and expense structures, including management fees and transaction and advisory fees. Although we have no obligation to modify any of our fees with respect to our existing funds, we may experience pressure to do so in our funds, including in response to regulatory focus by the SEC on the quantum and types of fees and expenses charged by private funds. For example, we have confronted and expect to continue to confront requests from a variety of investors and groups representing investors to decrease fees, which could result in a reduction in the fees and Performance Allocations and Incentive Fees we earn.
We have increasingly undertaken business initiatives to increase the number and type of investment products we offer to retail investors, which could expose us to new and greater levels of risk.
Although retail investors have been part of our historic distribution efforts, we have increasingly undertaken business initiatives to increase the number and type of investment products we offer to high net worth individuals, family offices and mass affluent investors in the U.S. and other jurisdictions around the world. In some cases, our unregistered funds are distributed to retail investors indirectly through third party managed vehicles sponsored by brokerage firms, private banks or third-party feeder providers, and in other cases directly to the qualified clients of private banks, independent investment advisors and brokers. In other cases, we create investment products specifically designed for direct investment by retail investors in the U.S., some of whom are not accredited investors, or similar investors in
non-U.S.
jurisdictions, including in Europe. Such investment products are regulated by the SEC in the U.S. and by other similar regulatory bodies in other jurisdictions.
Accessing retail investors and selling retail directed products exposes us to new and greater levels of risk, including heightened litigation and regulatory enforcement risks. To the extent distribution of retail products is through new channels, including through an increasing number of distributors with whom we engage, we may not be able to effectively monitor or control the manner of their distribution, which could result in litigation or regulatory action against us, including with respect to, among other things, claims that products distributed through such channels are distributed to customers for whom they are unsuitable or that they are distributed in an otherwise inappropriate manner. Although we seek to ensure through due diligence and onboarding procedures that the third-party channels through which retail investors access our investment products conduct themselves responsibly, we are exposed to the risks of reputational damage and legal liability to the extent such third parties improperly sell our products to investors. This risk is heightened by the continuing increase in the number of third parties through whom we distribute our investment products around the world and who we do not control. For example, in certain cases, we may be viewed by a regulator as responsible for the content of materials prepared by third-party distributors.
Similarly, there is a risk that Blackstone employees involved in the direct distribution of our products, or employees who oversee independent advisors, brokerage firms and other third parties around the world involved in distributing our products, do not follow our compliance and supervisory procedures. In addition, the distribution of retail products, including through new channels whether directly or through market intermediaries, could expose us to allegations of improper conduct and/or actions by state and federal regulators in the U.S. and regulators in jurisdictions outside of the U.S. with respect to, among other things, product suitability, investor classification, compliance with securities laws, conflicts of interest and the adequacy of disclosure to customers to whom our products are distributed through those channels.
As we expand the distribution of products to retail investors outside of the U.S., we are increasingly exposed to risks in
non-U.S.
jurisdictions. While these risks are similar to those that we face in the distribution of products to retail investors in the U.S., securities laws and other applicable regulatory regimes in many jurisdictions, including the U.K. and the EEA, are extensive, complex, and vary by local jurisdiction. As a result, this expansion subjects us to additional litigation and regulatory risk.
 
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In addition, our initiatives to expand our retail investor base, including outside of the U.S., requires the investment of significant time, effort and resources, including the potential hiring of additional personnel, the implementation of new operational, compliance and other systems and processes and the development or implementation of new technology. There is no assurance that our efforts to grow our retail assets under management will be successful.
Changes in U.S. and foreign taxation of businesses and other tax laws, regulations or treaties or an adverse interpretation of these items by tax authorities could adversely affect us, including by adversely impacting our effective tax rate and tax liability.
Our effective tax rate and tax liability is based on the application of current income tax laws, regulations and
treaties. These laws, regulations and treaties are complex, and the manner which they apply to us and our funds is
sometimes open to interpretation. Significant management judgment is required in determining our provision for
income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against our net
deferred tax assets. Although management believes its application of current laws, regulations and treaties to be
correct and sustainable upon examination by the tax authorities, the tax authorities could challenge our interpretation resulting in additional tax liability or adjustment to our income tax provision that could increase our effective tax rate. Regarding the impact of the Conversion on our income taxes, see “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data — Note 15. Income Taxes.”
A top legislative priority of the current administration is significant changes to U.S. tax laws. The House of Representatives has recently passed legislation that includes, among other changes, a corporate minimum tax and significant modifications to international tax rules. If enacted, such changes could materially increase the amount of taxes we and/or certain of our portfolio companies could be required to pay.
In addition, the U.S. Congress, the Organization for Economic
Co-operation
and Development (“OECD”) and other government agencies in jurisdictions in which we and our affiliates invest or do business have maintained a focus on issues related to the taxation of multinational companies. The OECD, which represents a coalition of member countries, is contemplating changes to numerous long-standing tax principles through its base erosion and profit shifting (“BEPS”) project, which is focused on a number of issues, including the shifting of profits between affiliated entities in different tax jurisdictions, interest deductibility and eligibility for the benefits of double tax treaties. The OECD also recently finalized guidelines that recommend certain multinational enterprises be subject to a minimum 15% tax rate, effective from 2023. This minimum tax and several of the proposed measures are potentially relevant to some of our structures and could have an adverse tax impact on our funds, investors and/or our portfolio companies. Some member countries have been moving forward on the BEPS agenda but, because timing of implementation and the specific measures adopted will vary among participating states, significant uncertainty remains regarding the impact of BEPS proposals. If implemented, these proposals could result in a loss of tax treaty benefits and increased taxes on income from our investments.
Cybersecurity risks could result in the loss of data, interruptions in our business, and damage to our reputation, and subject us to regulatory actions, increased costs and financial losses, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Our operations are highly dependent on our technology platforms and we rely heavily on our analytical, financial, accounting, communications and other data processing systems. Our systems face ongoing cybersecurity threats and attacks, which could result in the failure of such systems. Attacks on our systems could involve, and in some instances have in the past involved, attempts intended to obtain unauthorized access to our proprietary information, destroy data or disable, degrade or sabotage our systems, or divert or otherwise steal funds, including
 
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through the introduction of computer viruses, “phishing” attempts and other forms of social engineering. Cyberattacks and other security threats could originate from a wide variety of external sources, including cyber criminals, nation state hackers, hacktivists and other outside parties. Cyberattacks and other security threats could also originate from the malicious or accidental acts of insiders, such as employees.
There has been an increase in the frequency and sophistication of the cyber and security threats we face, with attacks ranging from those common to businesses generally to those that are more advanced and persistent, which may target us because, as an alternative asset management firm, we hold a significant amount of confidential and sensitive information about our investors, our portfolio companies and potential investments. As a result, we may face a heightened risk of a security breach or disruption with respect to this information. There can be no assurance that measures we take to ensure the integrity of our systems will provide protection, especially because cyberattack techniques used change frequently or are not recognized until successful. If our systems are compromised, do not operate properly or are disabled, or we fail to provide the appropriate regulatory or other notifications in a timely manner, we could suffer financial loss, a disruption of our businesses, liability to our investment funds and fund investors, regulatory intervention or reputational damage. The costs related to cyber or other security threats or disruptions may not be fully insured or indemnified by other means.
In addition, we could also suffer losses in connection with updates to, or the failure to timely update, the technology platforms on which we rely. We have become increasingly reliant on third party service providers for certain aspects of our business, including for the administration of certain funds, as well as for certain technology platforms, including cloud-based services. These third party service providers could also face ongoing cybersecurity threats and compromises of their systems and as a result, unauthorized individuals could gain, and in some past instances have gained, access to certain confidential data.
Cybersecurity has become a top priority for regulators around the world. Many jurisdictions in which we operate have laws and regulations relating to data privacy, cybersecurity and protection of personal information, including, as examples the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in the European Union that went into effect in May 2018 and the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). See “— Rapidly developing and changing global privacy laws and regulations could increase compliance costs and subject us to enforcement risks and reputational damage.” Some jurisdictions have also enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals and government agencies of data security breaches involving certain types of personal data.
Breaches in security, whether malicious in nature or through inadvertent transmittal or other loss of data, could potentially jeopardize our, our employees’ or our fund investors’ or counterparties’ confidential, proprietary and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our computer systems and networks, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our, our employees’, our fund investors’, our counterparties’ or third parties’ business and operations, which could result in significant financial losses, increased costs, liability to our fund investors and other counterparties, regulatory intervention and reputational damage. Furthermore, if we fail to comply with the relevant laws and regulations or fail to provide the appropriate regulatory or other notifications of breach in a timely matter, it could result in regulatory investigations and penalties, which could lead to negative publicity and reputational harm and may cause our fund investors and clients to lose confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures.
Our portfolio companies also rely on data processing systems and the secure processing, storage and transmission of information, including payment and health information. A disruption or compromise of these systems could have a material adverse effect on the value of these businesses. Our funds may invest in strategic assets having a national or regional profile or in infrastructure, the nature of which could expose them to a greater risk of being subject to a terrorist attack or security breach than other assets or businesses. Such an event may have material adverse consequences on our investment or assets of the same type or may require portfolio companies to increase preventative security measures or expand insurance coverage.
 
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Finally, our and our portfolio companies’ technology platforms, data and intellectual property are also subject to a heightened risk of theft or compromise to the extent we or our portfolio companies engage in operations outside the United States, in particular in those jurisdictions that do not have comparable levels of protection of proprietary information and assets such as intellectual property, trademarks, trade secrets,
know-how
and customer information and records. In addition, we and our portfolio companies may be required to compromise protections or forego rights to technology, data and intellectual property in order to operate in or access markets in a foreign jurisdiction. Any such direct or indirect compromise of these assets could have a material adverse impact on us and our portfolio companies.
Rapidly developing and changing global privacy laws and regulations could increase compliance costs and subject us to enforcement risks and reputational damage.
We and our portfolio companies are subject to various risks and costs associated with the collection, processing, storage and transmission of personally identifiable information (“PII”) and other sensitive and confidential information. This data is wide ranging and relates to our investors, employees, contractors and other counterparties and third parties. Our compliance obligations include those relating to U.S. laws and regulations, including, without limitation, the CCPA, which provides for enhanced consumer protections for California residents, a private right of action for data breaches and statutory fines and damages for data breaches or other CCPA violations, as well as a requirement of “reasonable” cybersecurity. Our compliance obligations also include those relating to foreign data collection and privacy laws, including, for example, the GDPR and U.K. Data Protection Act, as well as laws in many other jurisdictions globally, including Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia and Brazil. Global laws in this area are rapidly increasing in the scale and depth of their requirements, and are also often extra-territorial in nature. In addition, a wide range of regulators and private actors are seeking to enforce these laws across regions and borders. Furthermore, we frequently have privacy compliance requirements as a result of our contractual obligations with counterparties. These legal, regulatory and contractual obligations heighten our privacy obligations in the ordinary course of conducting our business in the U.S. and internationally.
While we have taken various measures and made significant efforts and investment to ensure that our policies, processes and systems are both robust and compliant with these obligations, our potential liability remains, particularly given the continued and rapid development of privacy laws and regulations around the world, and increased criminal and civil enforcement actions and private litigation. Any inability, or perceived inability, by us or our portfolio companies to adequately address privacy concerns, or comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, industry standards and guidance, contractual obligations, or other legal obligations, even if unfounded, could result in significant regulatory and third party liability, increased costs, disruption of our and our portfolio companies’ business and operations, and a loss of client (including investor) confidence and other reputational damage. Furthermore, as new privacy-related laws and regulations are implemented, the time and resources needed for us and our portfolio companies to comply with such laws and regulations continues to increase and become a significant compliance workstream.
Our operations are highly dependent on the technology platforms and corresponding infrastructure that supports our business.
A disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses, as a result of a cybersecurity incident or otherwise, including a disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or directly affecting our cloud services providers, could have a material adverse impact on our ability to continue to operate our business without interruption. Our disaster recovery and business continuity programs may not be sufficient to mitigate the harm that may result from such a disaster or disruption. In addition, insurance and other safeguards might only partially reimburse us for our losses, if at all.
 
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We have become increasingly reliant on third party service providers for certain aspects of our business, including for the administration of certain funds, as well as for certain technology platforms, including cloud-based services. We have increasingly shifted away from a reliance on physical technology infrastructure located at our headquarters in New York City toward reliance on cloud-based infrastructure provided by third parties for the continued operation of our business. In addition to the fact that these third-party service providers could also face ongoing cyber security threats and compromises of their systems, we generally have less control over the delivery of such third party services, and as a result, we may face disruptions to our ability to operate a business as a result of interruptions of such services. A prolonged global failure of cloud services provided by a variety of cloud services providers that we engage could result in cascading systems failures for us. In addition, any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures or compromises of their information systems and technology could impair the operations of us and our funds and adversely affect our reputation and businesses.
In addition, our operations are highly dependent on our technology platforms and we rely heavily on our analytical, financial, accounting, communications and other data processing systems, each of which may require updates and enhancements as we grow our business. Our information systems and technology may not continue to be able to accommodate our growth, and the cost of maintaining such systems may increase from its current level. Such a failure to adapt to or accommodate growth, or an increase in costs related to such information systems, could have a material adverse effect on us. An extended period of remote working by our employees, such as that experienced during the
COVID-19
pandemic, could introduce operational risks, including heightened cybersecurity risk. See “— Cybersecurity risks could result in the loss of data, interruptions in our business, and damage to our reputation, and subject us to regulatory actions, increased costs and financial losses, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations” and “— Rapidly developing and changing global privacy laws and regulations could increase compliance costs and subject us to enforcement risks and reputational damage.”
Extensive regulation of our businesses affects our activities and creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties. The possibility of increased regulatory focus, particularly given the current administration, could result in additional burdens on our business.
Our business is subject to extensive regulation, including periodic examinations, by governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations in the jurisdictions in which we operate around the world. These authorities have regulatory powers dealing with many aspects of financial services, including the authority to grant, and in specific circumstances to cancel, permissions to carry on particular activities. Many of these regulators, including U.S. and foreign government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions in the United States, are also empowered to conduct examinations, investigations and administrative proceedings that can result in fines, suspensions of personnel, changes in policies, procedures or disclosure or other sanctions, including censure, the issuance of
cease-and-desist
orders, the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer or investment adviser from registration or memberships or the commencement of a civil or criminal lawsuit against us or our personnel.
The financial services industry in recent years has been the subject of heightened scrutiny, which is expected to continue to increase, and the SEC has specifically focused on private equity and the private funds industry. In that connection, in recent years the SEC’s stated examination priorities and published observations from examinations have included, among other things, private equity firms’ collection of fees and allocation of expenses, their marketing and valuation practices, allocation of investment opportunities, terms agreed in side letters and similar arrangements with investors, consistency of firms’ practices with disclosures, handling of material
non-public
information and insider trading, purported waivers or limitations of fiduciary duties and the existence of, and adherence to, policies and procedures with respect to conflicts of interest. Recent statements by SEC staff, have reiterated a focus on certain of these topics and on bolstering transparency in the private funds industry, including with respect to fees earned and expenses charged by advisers.
 
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In February 2022, the SEC voted to propose new rules and amendments to existing rules under the Advisers Act specifically related to registered advisers and their activities with respect to private funds. If enacted, the proposed rules and amendments could have a significant impact on advisers to private funds, including our advisers. In particular, the SEC has proposed to limit circumstances in which a fund manager can be indemnified by a private fund; increase reporting requirements by private funds to investors concerning performance, fees and expenses; require registered advisers to obtain an annual audit for private funds and also require such fund’s auditor to notify the SEC upon the occurrence of certain material events; enhance requirements, including the need to obtain a fairness opinion and make certain disclosures, in connection with
adviser-led
secondary transactions (also known as general
partner-led
secondaries); prohibit advisers from engaging in certain practices, such as, without limitation, charging accelerated fees for unperformed services or fees and expenses associated with an examination to private fund clients; and impose limitations and new disclosure requirements regarding preferential treatment of investors in private funds in side letters or other arrangements with an adviser. Amendments to the existing books and records and compliance rules under the Advisers Act would complement new proposals and also require that all registered advisers document their annual compliance review in writing. The SEC has also recently proposed amendments to Rule
10b5-1
and has included in its regulatory agenda potential rulemaking on climate change disclosures and corporate diversity. If adopted, including with modifications, these new rules could significantly impact certain of our advisers and their operations, including by increasing compliance burdens and associated regulatory costs and complexity and reducing the ability to receive certain expense reimbursements or indemnification in certain circumstances. In addition, these potential rules enhance the risk of regulatory action, which could adversely impact our reputation and our fundraising efforts, including as a result of public regulatory sanctions.
We regularly are subject to requests for information and informal or formal investigations by the SEC and other regulatory authorities, with which we routinely cooperate, and which have included review of historical practices that were previously examined. Such investigations have previously and may in the future result in penalties and other sanctions. SEC actions and initiatives can have an adverse effect on our financial results, including as a result of the imposition of a sanction, a limitation on our or our personnel’s activities, or changing our historic practices. Even if an investigation or proceeding did not result in a sanction, or the sanction imposed against us or our personnel by a regulator were small in monetary amount, the adverse publicity relating to the investigation, proceeding or imposition of these sanctions could harm our reputation and cause us to lose existing clients or fail to gain new clients.
In addition, certain states and other regulatory authorities have required investment managers to register as lobbyists, and we have registered as such in a number of jurisdictions. Other states or municipalities may consider similar legislation or adopt regulations or procedures with similar effect. These registration requirements impose significant compliance obligations on registered lobbyists and their employers, which may include annual registration fees, periodic disclosure reports and internal recordkeeping.
We are subject to increasing scrutiny from regulators and certain investors with respect to the environmental, social and governance impact of investments made by our funds, which may adversely impact our ability to raise capital from certain investors and constrain capital deployment opportunities for our funds.
There has been increasing recognition among the U.S. and global corporate community of the importance of ESG. With respect to the alternative asset management industry, in recent years, certain investors, including public pension funds, have placed increasing importance on the negative impacts of investments made by the private equity and other funds to which they commit capital, including with respect to climate change, among other aspects of ESG. Certain investors have also demonstrated increased activism with respect to existing investments, including by urging asset managers to take certain actions that could adversely impact the value of an investment, or refrain from taking certain actions that could improve the value of an investment. At times, investors have conditioned future capital commitments on the taking or refraining from taking of such actions. Increased focus and activism related to ESG and similar matters may constrain our capital deployment opportunities. Similarly, the
 
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demands of certain investors, including public pension funds, may limit the types of investment opportunities that are available to our funds, including in certain sectors, such as hydrocarbons. In addition, investors, including public pension funds, which represent a significant portion of our funds’ investor bases, may decide to withdraw previously committed capital from our funds (where such withdrawal is permitted) or to not commit capital to future fundraises as a result of their assessment of our approach to and consideration of the social cost of investments made by our funds or their assessment that our funds are insufficiently ambitious in allocating capital in ways that align with such investors’ ESG priorities. As part of their increased focus on the allocation of their capital to environmentally sustainable economic activities, certain investors also have begun to request or require data from their asset managers to allow them to monitor the environmental impact of their investments. In addition, regulatory initiatives to require investors to make disclosures to their stakeholders regarding ESG matters are becoming increasingly common, which may further increase the number and type of investors who place importance on these issues and who demand certain types of reporting from us. This may impair our ability to access capital from certain investors, including public pension funds and European investors, and we may in turn not be able to maintain or increase the size of our funds or raise sufficient capital for new funds, which may adversely impact our revenues.
In addition, there has been increased regulatory focus on
ESG-related
practices by investment managers. For example, in 2021 the SEC included on its rulemaking agenda multiple items related to ESG, including
ESG-related
requirements for investment managers. In addition, the SEC has focused on the labeling by investment funds of their activities or investments as “sustainable” and has examined the methodology used by funds for determining ESG investments, with a focus on whether such labeling is misleading. There is also generally a higher likelihood of regulatory focus on ESG matters under the current administration, including in the context of examinations by regulators and potential enforcement actions. Outside of the U.S., the European Commission adopted an action plan on financing sustainable growth, as well as initiatives at the EU level, such as the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (“SFDR”). See “— Financial regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business” and “— Complex regulatory regimes and potential regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business.” Compliance with the SFDR and other
ESG-related
rules may subject us, our funds and our portfolio companies to increased restrictions, disclosure obligations and compliance and other associated costs, as well as potential reputational harm. In addition, under the requirements of SFDR and other
ESG-related
regulations to which we may become subject, we may be required to classify certain of our funds and their portfolio companies against certain criteria, some of which can be open to subjective interpretation. Our view on the appropriate classification may develop over time, including in response to statutory or regulatory guidance or changes in industry approach to classification. If regulators disagree with the procedures or standards we use, or new regulations or legislation require a methodology of measuring or disclosing ESG impact that is different from our current practice, it could have a material adverse effect on fundraising efforts and our reputation.
A growing interest on the part of investors and regulators in ESG factors and increased demand for, and scrutiny of,
ESG-related
disclosures by asset managers, has likewise increased the risk that we could be perceived as, or accused of, making inaccurate or misleading statements regarding the investment strategies of our funds or our and our funds’ ESG efforts or initiatives, often referred to as “greenwashing.” Such perception or accusation could damage our reputation, result in litigation or regulatory actions, and adversely impact our ability to raise capital and attract new investors.
Financial regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business.
The financial services industry continues to be the subject of heightened regulatory scrutiny in the United States. There has been active debate over the appropriate extent of regulation and oversight of private investment funds and their managers. We may be adversely affected as a result of new or revised regulations imposed by the SEC or other U.S. governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations that supervise the financial markets. We also may be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and
 
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regulations by these governmental authorities and self-regulatory organizations. Further, new regulations or interpretations of existing laws may result in enhanced disclosure obligations, including with respect to climate change or ESG matters, which could negatively affect us or our portfolio companies and materially increase our regulatory burden. For example, in January 2022 the SEC proposed changes to Form PF, a confidential form relating to reporting by private funds and intended to be used by the FSOC for systemic risk oversight purposes. The proposal, which represents an expansion of existing reporting obligations, if adopted, would require private fund managers, including us, to report to the SEC within one business day the occurrence of certain fund-related and portfolio company events. Increased regulations and disclosure obligations generally increase our costs, and we could continue to experience higher costs if new laws or disclosure obligations require us to spend more time, hire additional personnel, or buy new technology to comply effectively.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), enacted in July 2010, imposed significant changes on almost every aspect of the U.S. financial services industry, including aspects of our business, which include, without limitation, protection and compensation of whistleblowers, credit risk retention rules for certain sponsors of asset-backed securities, strengthening the oversight and supervision of the OTC derivatives and securities markets, as well as creating the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel (“FSOC”), an interagency body charged with identifying and monitoring systemic risk to financial markets. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, whistleblowers who voluntarily provide original information to the SEC can receive compensation and protection. The Dodd-Frank Act established a fund to be used to pay whistleblowers who will be entitled to receive a payment equal to between 10% and 30% of certain monetary sanctions imposed in a successful government action resulting from the information provided by the whistleblower. According to a recent annual report to the U.S. Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program, whistleblower claims have increased significantly since the enactment of these provisions and in 2021 the SEC awarded approximately $564 million to 108 individuals — both the largest dollar amount and the largest number of individuals awarded in a single year. Addressing such claims could generate significant expenses and take up significant management time for us and our portfolio companies, even if such claims are frivolous or without merit.
The Dodd-Frank Act also authorized federal regulatory agencies to review and, in certain cases, prohibit compensation arrangements at financial institutions that give employees incentives to engage in conduct deemed to encourage inappropriate risk taking by covered financial institutions. In 2016, the SEC
re-proposed
a rule, as part of a joint rulemaking effort with U.S. federal banking regulators that would apply to “covered financial institutions,” including registered investment advisers and broker-dealers that have total consolidated assets of at least $1 billion, and would impose substantive and procedural requirements on incentive-based compensation arrangements. While this proposed rule was never adopted, the current administration has included
re-proposal
of this rule on its regulatory agenda. If efforts are revived to finalize the rule under the current administration the application of this rule to us could limit our ability to recruit and retain senior managing directors and investment professionals.
Rule 206(4)-5
under the Advisers Act prohibits investment advisers from providing advisory services for compensation to a government plan investor for two years, subject to limited exceptions, after the investment adviser, its senior executives or its personnel involved in soliciting investments from government entities make political contributions to certain candidates and officials in position to influence the hiring of an investment adviser by such government client. Advisers are required to implement compliance policies designed, among other matters, to comply with this rule. Any failure on our part to comply with the rule could expose us to significant penalties and reputational damage. In addition, there have been similar rules on a state level regarding “pay to play” practices by investment advisers.
In June 2020, the SEC adopted a package of rulemakings and interpretations that address the standards of conduct and disclosure obligations applicable to investment advisers and broker-dealers. Among other things, the SEC published an interpretation of the standard of conduct for investment advisers, and adopted “Regulation Best Interest,” which is designed to enhance the existing standard of conduct for broker-dealers and natural persons
 
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who are associated persons of a broker-dealer when recommending to a retail customer any securities transaction or investment strategy involving securities. Regulation Best Interest imposes a “best interest” standard of care for broker-dealers and requires them to evaluate available alternatives, including, if available, alternatives that may have lower expenses and/or lower investment risk than our investment funds. The impact of Regulation Best Interest on broker-dealers participating in the offering of our investment funds cannot be determined at this time, but it may negatively impact whether broker-dealers and their associated persons are willing to recommend investment products, including our investment funds, to retail customers. As such, Regulation Best Interest may reduce the ability of our investment funds to raise capital, which would adversely affect our business and results of operations. In addition, several states have taken actions to impose new conduct standards for investment advisers and broker-dealers operating in these states. These state conduct standards and any other proposed state laws or regulations may result in additional requirements related to our business. Further, in December 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new final prohibited transaction class exemption (the “Exemption”) for investment advice fiduciaries that is intended to align with Regulation Best Interest. However, under the current administration, the DOL’s Exemption has been frozen, and the DOL, and possibly the SEC, may revisit the Exemption and Regulation Best Interest and may impose additional regulatory burdens. Depending on how Regulation Best Interest and the associated rulemakings are implemented and interpreted and whether the DOL or the various states impose any additional rules governing the conduct of investment advisers and broker-dealers, any such rules or regulations could have an adverse effect on the distribution of our products to certain investors.
Any changes in the regulatory framework applicable to our business, including the changes described above, may impose additional compliance and other costs, increase regulatory investigations of the investment activities of our funds, require the attention of our senior management, affect the manner in which we conduct our business and adversely affect our profitability. The full extent of the impact on us of the Dodd-Frank Act or any other new laws, regulations or initiatives that may be proposed, including by the current administration, is impossible to determine.
The potential for governmental policy and/or legislative changes and regulatory reform by the current administration and Congress may create regulatory uncertainty for our investment strategies, may make it more difficult to operate our business, and may adversely affect the profitability of our funds’ portfolio companies.
Governmental policy and/or legislative changes and regulatory reform could make it more difficult for us to operate our business, including by impeding fundraising, making certain equity or credit investments or investment strategies unattractive or less profitable. In addition, our ability to identify business and other risks associated with new investments depends in part on our ability to anticipate and accurately assess regulatory, legislative and other changes that may have a material impact on the businesses in which we choose to invest. We may face particular difficulty anticipating policy changes and reforms during periods of heightened partisanship at the federal, state and local levels, including due to the divisiveness surrounding populist movements, political disputes and socioeconomic issues. The failure to accurately anticipate the possible outcome of such changes and/or reforms could have a material adverse effect on the returns generated from our funds’ investments and our revenues.
In addition, the change in administration has led and will continue to lead to leadership changes at a number of U.S. federal regulatory agencies with oversight over the U.S. financial services industry. This poses uncertainty with respect to such agencies’ policy priorities and may lead to increased regulatory enforcement activity in the financial services industry. Leadership and policy changes could also affect various industries in which our portfolio companies operate, including healthcare, energy and consumer finance. Although there is a substantial lack of clarity regarding the likelihood, timing and details of potential changes or reforms by the current administration and Democrat controlled U.S. Congress, such changes or reforms may impose additional costs on the companies in which we have invested or choose to invest in the future, require the attention of senior management or result in limitations on the manner in which the companies in which we have invested or choose to invest in the future conduct business. Such changes or reforms may include, without limitation:
 
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In July 2019, proposed legislation was introduced into the U.S. Congress that contains a number of provisions that, if they were to become law, would adversely impact alternative asset management firms. Among other things, the bill would: potentially expose private funds and certain holders of economic interests therein to the liabilities of portfolio companies, require private funds to offer identical terms and benefits to all limited partners, require disclosure of names of each limited partner invested in a private fund, as well as sensitive
fund-and
portfolio company-level information, impose a limitation on the deductibility of interest expense only applicable to companies owned by private funds, modify settled bankruptcy law to target transactions by private equity funds, increase tax rates on carried interest, and prohibit portfolio companies from paying dividends or repurchasing their shares during the first two years following the acquisition of the portfolio company. If the proposed bill, or other similar legislation, were to become law under the current administration and Democrat controlled U.S. Congress, it would adversely affect us, our portfolio companies and our investors.
 
   
There has been recurring consideration amongst regulators and intergovernmental institutions regarding the role of nonbank institutions in providing credit and, particularly,
so-called
“shadow banking,” a term generally taken to refer to credit intermediation involving entities and activities outside the regulated banking system. Federal regulators, such as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Federal Reserve Board”), and international organizations, such as the Financial Stability Board, are studying risks associated with nonbank lending. At this time, it is too early to assess whether any rules or regulations will be proposed or to what extent any finalized rules or regulations will have on the nonbank lending market. If nonbank lending became subject to similar regulations or oversight as traditional banks, our nonbank lending business would be adversely affected and the regulatory burden would be materially greater, which could adversely impact the implementation of our investment strategy and our returns.
 
   
In the United States, the FSOC has the authority to designate nonbank financial companies as systemically important financial institutions (“SIFIs”). Currently, there are no nonbank financial companies with a SIFI designation. The FSOC has, however, designated certain nonbank financial companies as SIFIs in the past, and additional nonbank financial companies, which may include large asset management companies such as us, may be designated as SIFIs in the future. The FSOC’s most recent statements and actions generally indicate that it is focused on products and activities, rather than designation of entities, in its review of nonbank financial companies for potential SIFI designation, and has reviewed the asset management industry in particular. In December 2019, the FSOC issued final guidance regarding procedures for designating nonbank financial companies as SIFIs, which included shifting from an “entity-based” approach to an “activities-based” approach whereby the FSOC will primarily focus on regulating activities that pose systemic risk to the financial stability of the United States, rather than designations of individual firms. Future reviews by the FSOC of nonbank financial companies for designation as SIFIs may focus on other types of products and activities, such as nonbank lending activities conducted by certain of our businesses.
 
   
If we were designated as a SIFI, including as a result of our asset management or nonbank lending activities, we could become subject to direct supervision by the Federal Reserve Board, and could become subject to enhanced prudential, capital, supervisory and other requirements, such as risk-based capital requirements, leverage limits, liquidity requirements, resolution plan and credit exposure report requirements, concentration limits, a contingent capital requirement, enhanced public disclosures, short-term debt limits and overall risk management requirements. Requirements such as these, which were designed to regulate banking institutions, would likely need to be modified to be applicable to an asset manager, although no proposals have been made indicating how such measures would be adapted for asset managers.
 
   
2020 and 2021 saw a marked increase in the use of SPAC offerings and transactions, including by certain of our funds to create exit opportunities for our portfolio companies in lieu of a traditional IPO. SPAC transactions are currently exempt from rules adopted by the SEC to protect investors from blank check
 
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companies, such as Rule 419 under the Securities Act. Additionally, the safe harbor for forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act that generally applies to statements made by SEC registrants expressly does not apply to statements “made in connection with initial public offering[s],” but the same constraints do not currently apply to
de-SPAC
transactions. However, the current administration has included increased regulation of SPACs on its regulatory agenda, and it is expected that the SEC may modify existing regulations or adopt new rules relating to SPAC transactions, which could impact our ability to use SPAC transactions as a means to exit investments.
Ongoing trade negotiations and related government actions may create regulatory uncertainty for our portfolio companies and our investment strategies and adversely affect the profitability of our portfolio companies.
In recent years, the U.S. government has indicated its intent to alter its approach to international trade policy and in some cases to renegotiate, or potentially terminate, certain existing bilateral or multi-lateral trade agreements and treaties with foreign countries, and has made proposals and taken actions related thereto. For example, the U.S. government recently imposed tariffs on certain foreign goods, including from China, such as steel and aluminum, and has indicated a willingness to impose tariffs on imports of other products. Some foreign governments, including China, have instituted retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. goods and have indicated a willingness to impose additional tariffs on U.S. products. While the U.S. and China have signed a preliminary trade agreement in January 2020 halting further tariffs and increasing sales of U.S. goods to China, the agreement leaves in place most tariffs on Chinese goods. The final outcome of the negotiations and agreements is not possible to predict, particularly as a result of the change in administration in the U.S.
Furthermore, in 2020 and 2021 the U.S. implemented or expanded a number of economic sanctions programs and export controls that specifically targeted Chinese entities and nationals on national security grounds, including, for example, with respect to China’s response to political demonstrations in Hong Kong and China’s conduct concerning the treatment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in its Xinjiang province. China has responded by imposing sanctions against certain U.S. nationals engaged in political activities relating to Hong Kong. Moreover, the U.S. has implemented additional sanctions against entities participating in China’s military industrial complex and providing support to the country’s military, intelligence, and surveillance apparatuses. In return, China enacted its own sanctions legislation which authorizes the imposition of countermeasures in response to sanctions imposed on Chinese individuals or entities by foreign governments, such that a company that complies with U.S. sanctions against a Chinese entity may then face penalties in China. Further escalation of the “trade war” between the U.S. and China, the countries’ inability to reach further trade agreements, or the continued use of reciprocal sanctions by each country, may negatively impact opportunities for investment as well as the rate of global growth, particularly in China, which has and continues to exhibit signs of slowing growth. Such slowing growth could adversely affect the revenues and profitability of our funds’ portfolio companies.
In December 2019, the U.S., Mexico and Canada signed the amended United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (the “USMCA”), which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. The impact that the USMCA will have on us and our portfolio companies is difficult to predict.
There is uncertainty as to the actions that may be taken under the current administration with respect to U.S. trade policy, including with China and the USMCA. Further governmental actions related to the imposition of tariffs or other trade barriers or changes to international trade agreements or policies, could further increase costs, decrease margins, reduce the competitiveness of products and services offered by current and future portfolio companies and adversely affect the revenues and profitability of companies whose businesses rely on goods imported from outside of the U.S.
 
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Financial deregulation measures may create regulatory uncertainty for the financial sector, increase competition in certain of our investment strategies and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In June 2020, U.S. federal regulatory agencies adopted revisions to the Volcker Rule to allow for certain exemptions from the Volcker Rule’s restrictions on the ability of banking entities to sponsor and invest in certain covered funds (the “Covered Fund Amendments”). The Covered Fund Amendments also loosen certain other restrictions on extraterritorial fund activities and direct parallel or
co-investments
made alongside covered funds. The Covered Fund Amendments should therefore expand the ability of banking entities to invest in and sponsor private funds. These and similar regulatory developments may have the effect of increasing competition for our businesses. For example, increased competition from banks and other financial institutions in the credit markets could have the effect of reducing credit spreads, which may adversely affect the revenues of our credit and other businesses whose strategies include the provision of credit to borrowers.
To date, the current administration has not expressed an intent to implement measures focused on deregulation of the U.S. financial services industry, and has taken actions seeking to halt or reverse certain deregulation measures adopted by the prior administration. However, whether the current administration or regulatory agencies will enact, adopt or modify any particular financial regulations remains unclear. Any changes in the regulatory framework applicable to our business or the businesses of the portfolio companies of our funds, including the changes described above, may create uncertainty, require the attention of our senior management or result in limitations on the manner in which business is conducted, or may ultimately have an adverse impact on the competitiveness of certain nonbank financial service providers
vis-à-vis
traditional banking organizations.
Our provision of products and services to insurance companies, including through Blackstone Insurance Solutions, subjects us to a variety of risks and uncertainties.
We have increasingly undertaken initiatives to deliver to insurance companies customizable and diversified portfolios of Blackstone products across asset classes, as well as the option for partial or full management of insurance companies’ general account assets. This strategy has in recent years contributed to meaningful growth in our Assets under Management, including in Perpetual Capital Assets Under Management. Blackstone Insurance Solutions currently manages assets for Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, Everlake Life Insurance Company and certain of their respective affiliates pursuant to several investment management agreements. BIS also currently manages a portion of the assets of the Life & Retirement business of American International Group, Inc. In addition, in July 2016, Blackstone and AXIS Capital
co-sponsored
the establishment of Harrington Reinsurance, a Bermuda property and casualty reinsurance company, and BIS currently manages all general account assets of Harrington Reinsurance. BIS also manages or
sub-manages
assets for certain insurance-dedicated funds and special purpose vehicles, and has developed, and expects to continue to develop, other capital-efficient products for insurance companies.
The continued success of BIS will depend in large part on further developing investment partnerships with insurance company clients and maintaining existing asset management arrangements, including those described above. If we fail to deliver high-quality, high-performing products that help our insurance company clients meet long-term policyholder obligations, BIS may not be successful in retaining existing investment partnerships, developing new investment partnerships or selling its capital-efficient products and such failure may have a material adverse effect on BIS or on our business, results and financial condition.
The U.S. and
non-U.S.
insurance industries are subject to significant regulatory oversight. Regulatory authorities in many relevant jurisdictions have broad regulatory (including through any regulatory support organization), administrative, and in some cases discretionary, authority with respect to insurance companies and/or their investment advisors, which may include, among other things, the investments insurance companies may acquire and hold, marketing practices, affiliate transactions, reserve requirements and capital adequacy.
 
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These requirements are primarily concerned with the protection of policyholders, and regulatory authorities often have wide discretion in applying the relevant restrictions and regulations to insurance companies, which may indirectly affect BIS and other Blackstone businesses that offer products or services to insurance companies. We may be the target or subject of, or may have indemnification obligations related to, litigation (including class action litigation by policyholders), enforcement investigations or regulatory scrutiny. Regulators and other authorities generally have the power to bring administrative or judicial proceedings against insurance companies, which could result in, among other things, suspension or revocation of licenses,
cease-and-desist
orders, fines, civil penalties, criminal penalties or other disciplinary action. To the extent BIS or another Blackstone business that offers products or services to insurance companies is directly or indirectly involved in such regulatory actions, our reputation could be harmed, we may become liable for indemnification obligations and we could potentially be subject to enforcement actions, fines and penalties. Recently, insurance regulatory authorities and regulatory support organizations have increased scrutiny of alternative asset managers’ involvement in the insurance industry, including with respect to the ownership by such managers or their affiliated funds of, and the management of assets on behalf of, insurance companies. For example, insurance regulators have increasingly focused on the terms and structure of investment management agreements, including whether they are at arms’ length, establish control of the insurance company, grant the asset manager excessive authority or oversight over the investment strategy of the insurance company or provide for management fees that are not fair and reasonable. Regulators have also increasingly focused on potential conflicts of interest, including affiliated investments, and potential misalignment of incentives and any potential risks from these and other aspects of an insurance company’s relationship with alternative asset managers that may impact the insurance company’s risk profile. This enhanced scrutiny may increase the risk of regulatory actions against us and could result in new or amended regulations that limit our ability, or make it more burdensome or costly, to enter into new investment management agreements with insurance companies and thereby grow our insurance strategy. Some of the arrangements we have or will develop with insurance companies involve complex U.S. and
non-U.S.
tax structures for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. Such structures may be subject to potential regulatory, legislative, judicial or administrative change or scrutiny and differing interpretations and any adverse regulatory, legislative, judicial or administrative changes, scrutiny or interpretations may result in substantial costs to insurance companies or BIS. In some cases we may agree to indemnify insurance companies for their losses resulting from any such adverse changes or interpretations.
Insurance company investment portfolios are often subject to internal and regulatory requirements governing the categories and ratings of investment products and assets they may acquire and hold. Many of the investment products we develop for, or other assets or investments we include in, insurance company portfolios will be rated and a ratings downgrade or any other negative action by a rating agency with respect to such products, assets or investments could make them less attractive and limit our ability to offer such products to, or invest or deploy capital on behalf of, insurers.
Any failure to properly manage or address the foregoing risks may have a material adverse effect on BIS or on our business, results and financial condition.
We rely on complex exemptions from statutes in conducting our asset management activities.
We regularly rely on exemptions from various requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), the Exchange Act, the 1940 Act, the Commodity Exchange Act and the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, in conducting our asset management activities. These exemptions are sometimes highly complex and may in certain circumstances depend on compliance by third parties whom we do not control. If for any reason these exemptions were to become unavailable to us, we could become subject to regulatory action or third party claims and our business could be materially and adversely affected. For example, the “bad actor” disqualification provisions of Rule 506 of Regulation D under the Securities Act ban an issuer from offering or selling securities pursuant to the safe harbor rule in Rule 506 if the issuer or any other “covered person” is the subject of a criminal, regulatory or court order or other “disqualifying event” under
 
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the rule which has not been waived. The definition of “covered person” includes an issuer’s directors, general partners, managing members and executive officers; affiliates who are also issuing securities in the offering; beneficial owners of 20% or more of the issuer’s outstanding equity securities; and promoters and persons compensated for soliciting investors in the offering. Accordingly, our ability to rely on Rule 506 to offer or sell securities would be impaired if we or any “covered person” is the subject of a disqualifying event under the rule and we are unable to obtain a waiver. The requirements imposed by our regulators are designed primarily to ensure the integrity of the financial markets and to protect investors in our investment funds and are not designed to protect our common stockholders. Consequently, these regulations often serve to limit our activities and impose burdensome compliance requirements.
The U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union may negatively impact the value of certain of our assets.
Following Brexit, a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “TCA”) between the U.K. and the EU became effective on April 30, 2021. The TCA addresses, among other things, trade in goods and the ability of U.K. nationals to travel to the EU on business, but does not address substantive future cooperation with respect to financial services or reciprocal market access under
so-called
“equivalence” arrangements or otherwise. In addition, U.K. service suppliers no longer benefit from automatic access to the entire EU single market and free movement of goods is subject to increased bureaucracy. Although the TCA contains provisions on short-term business visits without visas or work permits, these do not cover provision of relevant services, and free movement between the EU and the U.K is now considerably restricted.
The loss of these benefits, together with the ongoing uncertainty with respect to financial services under the TCA, could impact the attractiveness of the U.K. as a global business and financial center. Although the long-term impact of such changes, and of Brexit more broadly, is uncertain, Brexit may have an adverse effect on the rate of economic growth in the U.K. and Europe, which may negatively impact asset values in those regions. In addition, given the size and global significance of the U.K.’s economy, ongoing uncertainty regarding its political and economic relationships with Europe may continue to be a source of instability in markets outside of the U.K. and Europe.
The licensing regime in the EU generally requires funds to be registered in Europe and their distributor to be licensed. Following Brexit, BGIP no longer has a passport to conduct product distribution and marketing activities and therefore may only conduct such activities where it has obtained a domestic license to do so, or pursuant to an exemption. Such licenses subject BGIP to additional regulatory obligations, which impose increased compliance costs and burdens on us. In addition, following Brexit, in jurisdictions where BGIP is not licensed to conduct product distribution and marketing activities, Blackstone Europe Fund Management (“BEFM”) has conducted such activities. This has imposed additional different supervisory practices on our product and service distribution and marketing arrangements.
Complex regulatory regimes and potential regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business.
Similar to the United States, the jurisdictions outside the United States in which we operate, in particular Europe, have become subject to further regulation. Governmental regulators and other authorities in Europe have proposed or implemented a number of initiatives and additional rules and regulations that could adversely affect our business, including by imposing additional compliance and administrative burden and increasing the costs of doing business in such jurisdictions. Increasingly, the rules and regulations in the financial sector in Europe are becoming more prescriptive. Rules and regulations in other jurisdictions are often informed by key features of U.S. and European rules and regulations and, as a result, our businesses outside of these jurisdictions, including across Asia, may become subject to increased regulation in the future.
 
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In Europe, the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”) was implemented in 2013 and established a regulatory regime for alternative investment fund managers, including private equity and hedge fund managers. AIFMD is applicable to our AIFMs in Luxembourg and Ireland and in certain other respects to affiliated
non-EEA
AIFMs in other jurisdictions to the extent that they market interests in alternative investment funds to EEA investors. We have had to comply with these and other requirements of the AIFMD in order to market certain of our investment funds to professional investors in the EEA. The U.K. has
“on-shored”
AIFMD and therefore similar requirements continue to apply to funds marketed to U.K. investors notwithstanding Brexit.
In November 2021, a legislative proposal (commonly referred to as “AIFMD II”) was made that may increase the cost and complexity of raising capital and restrict our ability to structure or market certain types of funds to EEA investors, which consequently may slow the pace of fundraising.
In addition, on August 2, 2021, certain regulations (the “CBDF Regulation”) came into effect, which in part amended AIFMD. The CBDF Regulation introduces new standardized requirements for cross-border fund distribution in the EU, including as related to transparency and principles for calculating supervisory fees, new procedures for the
de-notification
of marketing (including restrictions on
pre-marking
successor funds), new content requirements for marketing communications and additional regulations with respect to investors who approach our funds seeking to invest on their own initiative. As the CBDF Regulation is implemented across various EU jurisdictions, our ability to raise capital from EEA investors may become more complex and costly.
The EU Securitization Regulation (the “Securitization Regulation”), which became effective on January 1, 2019, imposes due diligence and risk retention requirements on “institutional investors” (which includes managers of alternative investment funds assets) which must be satisfied prior to holding a securitization position. These requirements may apply to AIFs managed by not only EEA AIFMs but also
non-EEA
AIFMs where those AIFs have been registered for marketing in the EU under national private placement regimes. Similar requirements continue to apply in the U.K. notwithstanding Brexit. The Securitization Regulation may impact or limit our funds’ ability to make certain investments that constitute “securitizations” under the regulation. The Securitization Regulation may also constrain certain of our funds’ ability to invest in securitization positions that do not comply with, among other things, the risk retention requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in various penalties.
The EU regulation (“EMIR”) on
over-the-counter
(“OTC”) derivative transactions, central counterparties and trade repositories requires mandatory clearing of certain OTC derivatives through central counterparties, creates additional risk mitigation requirements and imposes reporting and recordkeeping requirements in respect of most derivative transactions. Similar rules apply in the U.K., and compliance with relevant EU and U.K. requirements imposes additional operational burden and cost on our engagement in such transactions.
Additional regulation, commonly referred to as “MiFID II” requires us to comply with disclosure, transparency, reporting and record keeping obligations and enhanced obligations in relation to the receipt of investment research, best execution, product governance and marketing communications. Compliance with MiFID II has resulted in greater overall complexity, higher compliance and administration and operational costs and less overall flexibility for us. Certain aspects of MiFID II are subject to review and change in both the EU and the U.K. Associated changes to the prudential regulation of EEA and U.K. MiFID investment firms have increased the regulatory capital and liquidity adequacy requirements for certain of our entities licensed under MiFID. This makes it less capital efficient to run the relevant businesses. Those changes have also required us to make changes to the way in which we remunerate certain senior staff, which may make it harder for us to attract and retain talent, compared to competitors not subject to the same rules. Enhanced internal governance, disclosure and reporting requirements increase the costs of compliance.
 
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As with any other organization that holds personal data of EU data subjects, we are required to comply with the GDPR because, among other things, we process European individuals’ personal data in the U.S. via our global technology systems. The U.K. has
on-shored
GDPR and similar requirements therefore continue to apply in the U.K. notwithstanding Brexit, although transfers of personal data between the EU and U.K. are subject to less safeguards then transfers to third countries. Financial regulators and data protection authorities have significantly increased audit and investigatory powers under GDPR to probe how personal data is being used and processed. Serious breaches of include antitrust-like fines on companies of up to the greater of
20 million / £17.5 million or 4% of global group turnover in the preceding year, regulatory action and reputational risk. See “— Rapidly developing and changing global privacy laws and regulations could increase compliance costs and subject us to enforcement risks and reputational damage.”
European regulators are increasing their attention on “greenwashing” and rapidly developing and implementing regimes focused on ESG and sustainability within the financial services sector. These may impose substantial ESG data collection and disclosure obligations on us, which in turn may impose increased compliance burdens and costs for our funds’ operations. It is not yet possible to fully assess how our business will be affected, as much of the detail surrounding these initiatives is yet to be revealed.
In the EU, the key regimes include the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (“SFDR”) which currently imposes disclosure requirements on MiFID firms and AIFMs and will affect our EEA operations (including where
non-EEA
products are marketed to EEA investors). The EU regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (“Taxonomy Regulation”) supplements SFDR’s disclosure requirements for certain entities and sets out a framework for classifying economic activities as “environmentally sustainable.” There is considerable legal uncertainty about how to comply with these regimes. In particular, as a result of this uncertainty, there is a risk of inadvertent mischaracterization of certain of our products, which could lead to claims by investors for
mis-selling
and/or regulatory enforcement action, which could result in fines or other regulatory sanctions and damage to our reputation. In addition, certain requirements (such as making public disclosures on our website concerning the ESG features of private funds) might conflict with our other regulatory obligations. As a consequence, we may be unable to, or make a reasoned decision not to, fully comply with the requirements of these new regimes. This too could lead to regulatory enforcement action with similar consequences. The U.K. is not implementing SFDR but is in the process of introducing mandatory disclosure requirements aligned with the TCFD. In addition, a second layer of U.K. regulation has been proposed, which will implement additional disclosure requirements (known as “SDR”) and a new “U.K. Green Taxonomy,” which gives rise to similar risks to those described above in relation to SFDR and the Taxonomy Regulation, and exacerbates the risks arising from mismatch between the EEA and U.K. initiatives.
Laws and regulations on foreign direct investment applicable to us and our portfolio companies, both within and outside the U.S., may make it more difficult for us to deploy capital in certain jurisdictions or to sell assets to certain buyers.
A number of jurisdictions, including the U.S., have restrictions on foreign direct investment pursuant to which their respective heads of state and/or regulatory bodies have the authority to block or impose conditions with respect to certain transactions, such as investments, acquisitions and divestitures, if such transaction threatens to impair national security. In addition, many jurisdictions restrict foreign investment in assets important to national security by