BlackRock cuts 500 jobs worldwide

Laurence Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, speaks during the Wall Street Journal Deals and Dealmakers conference, in New York, June 11, 2008. REUTERS/Chip East

BOSTON (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc BLK.N, the largest publicly traded U.S. asset manager, has cut 500 jobs worldwide, its chief executive said on Thursday, as it grapples with a surge in outflows during the global credit crisis.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Financial Services Conference in New York, BlackRock Chairman and Chief Executive Laurence Fink said the New York-based company has “downsized” by 500 people.

He said many of the 500 were part-time employees, according to a webcast of the presentation. BlackRock has 5,600 staff globally, according to the company’s website.

BlackRock is among a growing number of asset managers that have slashed more than 4,000 jobs over the past few months as the worst bear market in 80 years clobbered asset values and led to massive investor fund withdrawals.

Legg Mason Inc LM.N, the second biggest publicly traded U.S. asset manager, said last week it was axing nearly 200 jobs. Fidelity Investments, the world's biggest mutual fund company, has said it is cutting nearly 3,000 jobs through early 2009.

BlackRock's shares, among the best performers in their class earlier in the year, were down 5.4 percent, or $7.10, at $125.62 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday afternoon. They are off 42 percent on the year, largely mirroring losses in the S&P 500 Index .SPX.

Reporting by Muralikumar Anantharaman; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe