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Bloomberg AIM vs Blackrock Aladdin

Feature Comparison: Bloomberg AIM vs Aladdin

Bloomberg AIM and BlackRock Aladdin are two systems used by investment managers. But how do they differ? Are they even comparable in scope? Which one is right for you? Let's answer these questions by first looking at a feature comparison between the two (and Limina as a bonus).

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Blackrock Aladdin
Bloomberg AIM
Limina IMS
Portfolio management
Risk analytics & risk management
Investment compliance
Order management and trading connectivity
Portfolio accounting (ABOR)
Order planner
Import-export engine

Note: Vendor information publicly available as of June 15th, 2024 is the only source of information for writing this article. Sources include company websites, review sites (G2, Gartner, TrustRadius and Capterra) and industry publications.

AIM vs Aladdin

Non-functional considerations

It's not just features that matter when you're considering an institutional Investment Management System. Other considerations include:

  • 01 Automation
  • 02 Connectivity
  • 03 User experience
  • 04 External managers
  • 05 Asset classes

Exception-based workflows

Ensure that as many processes as possible are automated while surfacing issues for your team to review and resolve. Online resources don’t indicate how strong AIM and Aladdin are on these aspects.

At Limina, we measure users’ time performing workflows in the system. It might sound counterintuitive that we then try to minimise this amount. The more efficient workflow we enable, the less time users spend on the platform. We look at trying to keep time spent per person, per role, per fund, and per trade to a minimum.


Integrations to other systems

Bloomberg wants you to stay in their ecosystem, and connecting to other systems or vendors isn’t as easy as with Aladdin. Such systems include external execution management systems as well as downstream systems and vendors.

Since 2023, there's a new approach to connectivity available. It makes integrations faster to build, cheaper to maintain and more stable than ever before.

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Feedback from users

User reviews provide valuable insights into the satisfaction of investment management systems.

More priorities than end-user satisfaction often guide a system selection. For example, operational controls and reporting are reasons we frequently see. Therefore, just because a platform is widely used doesn’t mean it’s superior for operational efficiency. Let’s look at what users have said online:

  • Clients of BlackRock Aladdin praise its comprehensive risk analytics and portfolio management capabilities. Users appreciate Aladdin’s intuitive interface and customisation options.
  • Reviews of Bloomberg AIM are polarised. Some love the “terminal way of working”, while others think that workflows are dated. Other complaints include a lack of visualisations and exception-based workflows.

Enabling external portfolio managers

Some fund managers will outsource investment decisions to external portfolio managers. This can be for entire funds (e.g. as Avanza is doing) or for sub-portfolios (sleeves) of funds. In such a setup, it’s essential to control operations centrally. External managers should only be able to make investment decisions on their portfolios, within certain limitations. They shouldn’t be able to alter compliance rules, see the entire security master, etc.

Bloomberg’s setup with AIM enabled within terminals struggles to support this model. Blackrock Aladdin can cater for it.

Instrument type coverage

With eFront, Aladdin is now a fully cross-asset offering. As with all systems, it does have strengths in some assets over others. Another challenge with growing functional support through acquisitions is that workflows across multi-asset portfolios might not be efficient (or, at worst, have data inconsistencies).

Bloomberg AIM has historically been strong on fixed income. It’s a multi-asset platform that covers most assets, but isn’t as strong as Aladdin regarding alternative assets.

More details on

Bloomberg vs Blackrock Aladdin

Together, AIM and Aladdin are roughly equal in size when looking at assets managed on the platforms ($22tn and $20tn, respectively). Regarding the number of clients, AIM is 4x larger, meaning its average client is a fourth the size of Aladdin. When choosing between the two, your AuM is an essential consideration: does it match the average of the vendor you’re looking at?

  • Average Aladdin client AuM: $100bn
  • Average Bloomberg AIM client AuM: $24bn

Another consideration is that Aladdin is a more comprehensive investment management solution, covering more aspects of your workflows. An important question to ask yourself: which operating model is ideal for you?

The choice between BlackRock Aladdin and Bloomberg AIM ultimately depends on your unique priorities. Review both in detail, check references (direct and indirect) and compare with vendors that are fast emerging as challengers.

  • 01 More on Aladdin
  • 02 More on AIM

Overview of BlackRock Aladdin

BlackRock’s Aladdin (Asset, Liability, Debt, and Derivative Investment Network) is a comprehensive investment management platform. The technology manages more than 30,000 portfolios!

Clients of the platform manage over $20 trillion in collective assets (data per 2020, probably more now). Blackrock says 200 clients use the platform (compared to 900 for Bloomberg AIM), which means the average AuM of an Aladdin client is $100bn.

History of Aladdin

The initial part of Aladdin was developed in 1988 (the same year our founder was born!) as a tool to analyse mortgage portfolios. Aladdin, as it currently exists, was brought to market in 1999.

Blackrock Aladdin has grown into a broad platform supporting analytics, trading, compliance, and more. Asset classes include the traditional listed and OTC. With the acquisition of eFront in 2019, Aladdin expanded its asset class coverage into alternatives.

Overview of Bloomberg AIM

Bloomberg Asset and Investment Manager (AIM) is Bloomberg’s Trade Order Management System (OMS). AIM covers order creation, i.e. the workflow from where you’ve decided what you want to change in a portfolio to when orders are sent to an EMS. Once orders are executed, the OMS handles trade confirmation and trade affirmation workflows.

Bloomberg AIM is embedded in the Bloomberg terminal. If you purchase AIM access, you unlock new applications and screens within Bloomberg. All users that have a terminal get access. The pros and cons are:

- All users, including operations, are required to have a terminal.
This drives the total cost up, as you have to purchase terminals for your operations team.

+ Market data is included and mimics each user’s real-time entitlements automatically.
Note: Most other systems can offer the same entitlement mimicking functionality at a cost of around $25k/annum, depending on the data vendor.

Nine hundred clients use Bloomberg AIM, with total Assets under Management (AuM) of $22tn. That is an average client size of $24bn AuM.

History of Bloomberg AIM

In 2008, Bloomberg launched AIM. It’s unclear how much code was reused from previous applications or if this was a new product developed from scratch.

In 2023, Bloomberg launched PMGO (or “PM <GO>”), which is a portfolio rebalancing tool. It allows you to bring in data from other applications, such as Bloomberg PORT and play around with changes to your portfolio. As you go about it, portfolio risk analytics and other important information update continuously so that you can analyse the potential impact should you implement those changes. 

Why not add a 3rd option?

Limina as an alternative

The team at Limina, as former investment managers, understands the challenges of comparison systems. While we offer modern, powerful investment management software that competes with Bloomberg AIM and Aladdin, we believe in providing unbiased information. To that goal, we’ve created an article that helps you find out if Limina isn’t a fit for you and one that enables you to determine if we might be worth considering.
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