How Much Do Banks Spend Protecting Their CEOs?

While the asset manager did not specify potential threats to Fink and Kapito, there have been mounting demonstrations over the company's ESG policies.

BlackRock (BLK) has begun paying for security programs its CEO Larry Fink and President Robert Kapito over growing concerns for their safety, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing from the New York City-based investment manager.

Side-by-side photos of Robert Kapito and Larry Fink, older white men in suits and glasses
Robert Kapito (left) and Larry Fink (right). Getty Images

Individualized personal security programs were implemented in 2022 for the two executives in order to “address potential threats to their safety that have originated in connection with their roles,” BlackRock said in its May 24 proxy statement.

BlackRock spent $376,360 last year on security personnel and upgraded home security systems at Fink’s various homes. Similar services were provided for Kapito in early 2023.

The asset manager’s board of directors now also requires that Fink and Kapito use private airplanes for both business and personal air transportation, in addition to offering travel options for ground transportation. An annual allowance of $295,000 each is being provided for their travel needs.

“BlackRock has a robust security program in place aimed at protecting our employees and offices,” the company said, in a statement to Observer.

While BlackRock did not specify potential threats to Fink and Kapito, the two men have been the subject of mounting demonstrations over the company’s ESG policies and investments in fossil fuels.

In October, activists entered BlackRock’s Manhattan headquarters and dumped coal in its lobby, a demonstration that ended in ten arrests. Protestors later interrupted Kapito while he spoke at the Bank of America Securities Financial Services Conference in February and demanded the company transition out of its significant oil and gas investments. Protests have been held against the two executives as recently as May, when activists gathered outside Fink’s home in Westchester County.

How much do major financial institutions spend on CEO security?

Fink and Kapito are not the only high-powered executives with dedicated safety programs. A review of SEC filings shows that individualized home security and personal transportation have long been common company policies for banking and finance tycoons.

JPMorgan Chase set aside more than $275,000 in 2022 for the personal use of corporate aircrafts and cars used by its CEO Jamie Dimon, a service the bank said was required due to security measures. The company pays for additional safety programs for Dimon, such as residential security, at an annual cost of $38,115.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (GS) spent $68,856 last year on non-business transportation fees and $31,610 on personal security for CEO David Solomon. “We do not consider these security measures to be personal benefits but rather business-related necessities due to the high-profile standing of our CEO,” said the investment bank in its Mach 17 proxy statement.

At Bank of America (BAC), Brian Moynihan’s use of corporate aircraft for all flights, business and non-business related, has been required since 2017 for his personal safety. The bank CEO’s use of corporate flights cost $421,583 in 2022.

And while Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)‘s CEO Warren Buffett and Vice-Chairman Charlie Munger strictly use corporate-owned airplanes for business purposes, the holding company did provide $301,589 worth of personal and home security for Buffet in the past year.

Like BlackRock, some financial companies have only begun to implement security measures in the past year or so. In 2022, the human resources committee at Wells Fargo approved residential security improvements capped at $50,000 per executive, in addition to $5,000 in annual maintenance of these systems. Following a security assessment conducted by an independent consultant, the financial services company also decided that its CEO Charles Scharf should avoid traveling via commercial aircrafts or cars, setting aside an annual budget of $200,000 for his personal use of corporate aircrafts, according to its most recent proxy filing.

How Much Do Banks Spend Protecting Their CEOs?