BlackRock has frozen hires, reduced spending, says CFO

The BlackRock logo is pictured outside its headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) Chief Financial Officer Gary Shedlin on Tuesday said his firm is freezing most hiring and reducing expenses.

"We're trying to be a little more prudent," he said during a financial conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, adding that these measures will put BlackRock in a better position next year.

BlackRock also said there were some short-term performance challenges and it needed to think about resetting expenses relative to revenues.

Shedlin added the firm has seen some weakness in retail mutual funds.

However, it expects to see a sizeable ramp-up in performance fees from illiquid businesses in coming years.

Earlier in October, BlackRock said its assets under management dropped 16% year-on-year to $7.96 billion, as a stronger dollar dampened the value of investments in Europe and Asia. Its net income also fell 17%.

Shedlin warned earlier in October, when the company announced its third-quarter results, that it had begun "to more aggressively manage the pace of certain discretionary spend."

Shares in BlackRock are down roughly 30% this year, underperforming the benchmark S&P 500 Index.

Separately, activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners Ltd said in a letter it has sought to replace BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink after taking a position in the asset manager.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker

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