The World's Biggest Asset Manager Is Cutting ... But Still Growing
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Friday, January 11, 2019

The World's Biggest Asset Manager Is Cutting ... But Still Growing

The world's biggest asset manager (by AUM) will be cutting hundreds of jobs for the first time in three years. Yet the firm's headcount continues to grow.

Robert Steven Kapito
President, Director
Yesterday in a memo to BlackRock's [profile] employees, president Rob Kapito revealed that the New York City-based titan will cut 500 jobs (about 3.4 percent of its 14,900 employees, as of September 30) in the next few weeks, Bloomberg and Reuters report. Yet Kapito also noted that, even after the cuts, BlackRock's headcount will still be four percent higher year-over-year.

"We are always looking for ways to improve how we operate, to simplify our processes and structures, to prudently manage expenses, and to accelerate growth," Kapito reportedly wrote in the memo. "The changes we are making now will help us continue to invest in our most important strategic growth opportunities for the future."

Citywire, the Financial Times, the New York Business Journal, Pensions & Investments, and the Wall Street Journal also reported on the cuts.

Per Kapito's point about headcount, BlackRock's headcount has continued to grow over the years, despite several big rounds of layoffs. When the BlackRock leadership team cut about 400 jobs starting at the end of March 2016, they had about 13,000 employees worldwide (according to their Q1 2016 earnings report). In March 2013, when they started trimming about 300 jobs, the firm had about 10,600 employees (per their Q1 2013 earnings report). And they had 5,500 employees when they started downsizing about 500 jobs in late 2008.

Meanwhile, BlackRock's shares fell 24 percent as the market shook, and analysts expect that its Q4 2018 earnings (to be revealed next week) will take a four percent year-over-year hit. Word is that the latest cuts are spread across different units and regions.

Kapito's memo about the layoffs came a day after BlackRock CEO Larry Fink told employees about some key leadership changes.

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