A data leak revealed last week at BlackRock exposed names, email addresses and other information of about 20,000 advisers who are clients of the asset manager, including 12,000 at LPL Financial, the largest independent broker-dealer.
The personal data leak manifested as links to three separate spreadsheet documents via the firm's website, each containing the names, email addresses and assets in the iShares exchange-traded funds (ETF) investment portfolio scheme, Bloomberg reports.
"BlackRock inadvertently posted a small number of sales-related documents, which were up for a short period of time, and promptly removed," the company said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. "The information related to a very limited number of wealth management platforms impacting approximately 20,000 independent advisers in the US."
The leak affected advisers who do business with BlackRock's iShares exchange-traded funds unit, with its site posting links to three spreadsheets that categorized the asset manager's advisor clients clients by their status, with some labelled "dabblers" and "power users", while another column denoted their club level status such as "directors club" or "patriots club".
BlackRock said it notified affected firms about the leak, and that after performing reviews of its website, the company is confident it understands the "limited scope and implications" of the issue. "The sales related documents did not relate to any other client businesses at BlackRock," according to the statement.