BlackRock Joins Job-Cutting Financial Services Firms

November 18, 2008 ( -BlackRock Inc., the largest publicly traded asset manager in the U.S., has announced layoffs for the first time in its two-decade history.

A Bloomberg news report said the New York-based firm will send dismissal notices this week, according to an internal memo which was sent to its 5,500 employees.

The memo did not specify the number of positions to be cut or the number of affected employees and BlackRock spokeswoman Bobbie Collins told Bloomberg details would not be made public until after the end of the year.

“Times like these require fiscal discipline,” the unsigned memo said, according to Bloomberg. “We expect it of the companies in which we invest, and we must expect it of ourselves.”

The memo added: “A wide variety of businesses across industries and regions have reported weak third-quarter results and even weaker expectations for fourth quarter 2008 and for 2009. BlackRock is not immune.”

BlackRock said October 21 that third-quarter earnings fell 15%, the first drop in two years, as investors pulled money from its funds, according to Bloomberg.

BlackRock shares decreased $0.85 to $105.55 at midday Tuesday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have declined 51% this year, compared with the 55% drop in the 16-member Standard & Poor’s index that tracks asset management firms and custody banks, the news report said.