Hedge Funds

BlackRock to Lay Off Nearly 300 Employees

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AP

BlackRock, theworld's largest money manager, will lay off nearly 300employees, or about 3 percent of its workforce, according to aninternal memo obtained by Reuters.

BlackRock President Rob Kapito told employees on Monday thatdespite the layoffs the firm, which oversees almost $4 trillion,would continue hiring and expected to end 2013 with moreemployees than it currently had.

(Read More: US Economy Is Clear for Takeoff: BlackRock's Fink)

"These moves will give high potential employees greaterresponsibility and additional career opportunities, and willmake us a more agile organization better positioned to respondto changing client and market needs," Kapito said in the memo.

Shares of BlackRock have gained almost 50 percent in thepast three months. Investors have been pouring into BlackRockstock and bond funds, especially its iShares lines ofexchange-traded funds, helping push its adjusted profit marginover 40 percent.

The layoffs follow BlackRock's reorganization, started lastyear, to refocus the New York-based firm away from growingthrough large acquisitions and more by attracting new clients.BlackRock doubled its assets through the 2009 acquisition of theinvestment unit of London bank Barclays but Kapitoand Chief Executive Laurence Fink have said this year that thefirm is done making major purchases.

(Read More: US Pension Funds Sue BlackRock, Allege 'Looting' at iShares)

BlackRock employed 10,500 people at the end of 2012, growingby more than 1,500 people since the start of 2010. Some of theemployees being laid off will leave now, while others willdepart over the next few weeks and months, the memo said.

BlackRock established a new firm architecture last year to"increase responsibility and accountability and leverage more ofour most talented leaders," Kapito said in the memo.

(Read More: Goldman, BlackRock Among 10 Most Overbought Stocks: Pro)

A BlackRock spokesman said the departures would not affectexecutive or operating-committee level employees.

"Even with the steps we are taking to reshape theorganization, the firm continues to hire in key areas andanticipates having more employees at year-end then we did at thestart of the year," he said in an email to Reuters.