Too Big to Fail Version 2.0

Just when you thought “too big to fail” was going out of style:

Ohh… and they’ve already got a great, devious name!

BlackRock announced a $13.5 billion merger with Barclays Global Investors today, making the former company the biggest money manager in the world. BlackRock will soon oversee $2.7 trillion in assets, making it roughly twice the size of State Street or Fidelity, its closest competitors. That’s $2.7 trillion under management… with a market cap of just $34 billion.

If that marriage of assets to equity wasn’t unnerving enough, BlackRock will also pick up iShares in the deal. That makes the new world’s biggest asset manager also the world’s biggest wielder of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) — the rabidly popular, complex derivatives (many of which track other complicated derivatives) that millions own, but very few truly understand. Hmmm…