BlackRock Inc. (BLK:US), the world’s biggest money manager, is cutting about 300 jobs, extending a reorganization that included the shakeup of its investment units last year.
BlackRock will reduce its workforce by less than 3 percent, with some workers leaving immediately and others over coming months, President Robert S. Kapito said today in a memo to employees. Kapito said in the memo that BlackRock will continue to hire and will probably have more employees at the end of 2013 than at the end of 2012.
“We are reshaping the organization by shifting certain responsibilities and moving some roles to different locations or areas of the business,” Kapito said. “The mix of employees will change as our business is constantly evolving.”
Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink, who with Kapito co-founded New York-based BlackRock more than two decades ago, moved more fund-management executives into top leadership roles in August as the firm seeks to expand by attracting investor assets rather than making acquisitions. Fink also split BlackRock’s portfolio-management group into five investment units to boost returns and revive investor deposits into actively managed funds.
BlackRock, whose growth has been fueled by acquisitions including the December 2009 purchase of Barclays Plc’s investment unit, relied on the iShares exchange-traded funds to drive its $47 billion in client deposits in the fourth quarter (BLK:US) of 2012. Active equity funds lost $5.4 billion to withdrawals and investors pulled $374 million from active bonds.
The acquisition (BLK:US) of Barclays Global Investors, which gave BlackRock the iShares ETFs and index-tracking funds, vaulted the firm to the top rank by assets and helped give it $3.79 trillion under management. BlackRock has said that while it will consider smaller purchases, it will not seek transformational deals.
BlackRock is also working to increase its sales to individual investors. Kapito said in February the firm was “underpenetrated” in the U.S. retail market with just a 2 percent share among assets in open-end mutual funds.
Fink has made a number of other changes to the firm’s top ranks in recent months. BlackRock in February named its long- time strategic and financial adviser Gary Shedlin as chief financial officer, as Ann Marie Petach moved to a client- oriented job at the firm’s investment institute.
The firm hired Philipp Hildebrand, the former head of the Swiss central bank, in October to help expand relationships with institutional clients overseas, and Linda Robinson in 2011 as head of marketing and communications to oversee a five-year branding campaign.
BlackRock also replaced five managers last month at funds including those that invest in energy and small-capitalization stocks. Robin Batchelor and Poppy Allonby took over from Denis Walsh and Daniel Neumann as managers of two natural-resources mutual funds. Travis Cooke replaced Andrew Thut and Andrew Leger on the $1.4 billion BlackRock Small Cap Growth Equity Portfolio. Phil Ruvinsky, Lawrence Kemp and Kathryn Mongelli assumed responsibility for running the $286 million BlackRock Mid-Cap Growth Equity Portfolio from Eileen Leary.
BlackRock had 10,500 employees as of Dec. 31, compared with 10,100 employees a year earlier, according to regulatory filings.
The firm has added more than 1,500 employees, or almost 18 percent of its workforce, since the start of 2010, Kapito said in today’s memo.
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