Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, will cut around 500 jobs, which equates to 3% of its global staff, in the next few weeks. Discussions for the employees’ exit are ongoing, according to an internal memo seen by local newspaper the South China Morning Post.
Julia Lee Siu-lie has held the role of head of retail business in Hong Kong since late 2012.
“Market uncertainty is growing, investor preferences are evolving and the ecosystem in which we operate is becoming increasingly complex,” the asset manager’s president and co-founder Rob Kapito said in the memo. “As Blackrock has consistently demonstrated, environments like this also create opportunities for growth as long as we have the discipline to realise them.”
The redundancies follow a poor year in global stock markets, during which 86 of the world’s 94 primary equity indexes declined.
“There is no impact on our portfolio management team” in the Asia-Pacific region, a Blackrock spokeswoman in Hong Kong said. “The firm continues to perceive Asia Pacific as a dynamic region for growth, and we are continuing to invest in the business.
“Our strategic priorities for the region remain unchanged.”
Blackrock’s share price fell by nearly 24% last year, the firm’s worst performance since 2008.
Kapito added: “After several years of meaningful headcount growth, we are making some changes this week to the size and shape of our workforce.
“Blackrock is a growth company, and growth requires investment. The changes we are making now will help us continue to invest in our most important strategic growth opportunities for the future.
“Given our scale, the strength of our client relationships, and the breadth of our investment and technology capabilities, we are better positioned than any other firm to benefit from the structural changes taking place in our industry.”
New York-based Blackrock had 14,900 employees worldwide, as of September 2018.