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BlackRock planning to cut 400 jobs

[NEW YORK] Global asset manager BlackRock Inc is planning to cut about 400 jobs, or 3 per cent of its workforce, as it redirects resources to growth areas, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The company is planning to tell employees of the staff reductions in the coming weeks, said the source, who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and requested anonymity.

The person said the company was still hiring and expected to end 2016 with more employees than it has now.

A BlackRock spokesman declined comment.

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The New York-based company employed about 13,000 people globally as of Dec 31. BlackRock hired about 800 people in 2015.

The company laid off about 300 employees in 2013 as part of a reorganisation to focus more on growth through new clients rather than through large acquisitions. Volatile markets over the past year have made business difficult for money management firms.

Of the top 10 US companies by mutual fund and exchange-traded fund assets, all but one - Vanguard Group Inc - saw those assets decline over the one-year period through February, according to Lipper, a fund data company. Industry analysts said several such companies had moved to cut staff.

BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink said in January that while financial markets may get worse before they get better, his company's decisions to invest, rather than cut costs, helped it attract money in a turbulent market.

BlackRock reported a lower-than-expected profit for the fourth quarter as costs rose 5 per cent because of higher headcount, performance fees and other expenses.

The workforce reductions were first reported by Bloomberg earlier on Wednesday.

BlackRock, whose stock rose less than 1 per cent on Wednesday to US$341.37, managed more than US$4.6 trillion in assets as of Dec 31.