ECB says selects Blackrock to help develop ABS plan

General view of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) before the bank's monthly news conference in Frankfurt August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank has hired BlackRock Solutions to provide consultancy services in its preparations for a programme to buy asset-backed securities (ABS), an ECB spokesman said on Wednesday.

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, will provide advice on the design and implementation of a potential ABS purchase programme, but all final decisions will be taken by the ECB itself, the spokesman said.

BlackRock declined to comment on its mandate with the ECB.

ECB President Mario Draghi said on Friday the central bank’s preparations for outright purchases of ABS were “fast moving forward and we expect that it should contribute to further credit easing.”

New York-based BlackRock Inc has played a prominent role in helping Europe deal with its financial crisis, designing stress tests for the Greek and Irish central banks in the wake of their crises.

The Bank of Greece hired BlackRock to conduct an asset quality review to determine potential credit losses up to 2016. The Irish Central bank similarly used BlackRock as a consultant to examine its books, including a review of its commercial real estate loans.

BlackRock had nearly $4.6 trillion (3.49 trillion euro) in assets under management at the end of June. The company’s BlackRock Solutions and advisory business generated $146 million(110.66 million euro) in revenue in the second quarter, or about 5.3 percent of its total revenue.

Reporting by Eva Taylor; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy