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These are the top 10 asset management firms people want to work for

Fund management

It’s no secret that the asset management industry is going through some tough times, with many active managers reeling from fee pressure and the rise of index-trackers. But, right now, buy-side professionals want to work for the biggest players in the sector.

BlackRock is the largest asset management firm in the world – it manages more than $5 trillion including its iShares business. It is also the most sought-after employer, according to our new 2017 Ideal Employer Rankings which surveyed over 6,000 financial services professionals globally.

After BlackRock, Fidelity Investments is the second most popular asset management firm in the world to work for, according to our survey, for the second year in a row. Fidelity has a vast presence across the U.S., a wide range of mutual funds and other business lines such as retirement services, discount brokerage services and wealth management.

Those two behemoths are followed by Pimco, whose performance and reputation have rebounded impressively after initially struggling in the post-Bill Gross era.

Wellington Management Co., best known for sub-advising investment strategies distributed by other firms such as the Vanguard Group and Hartford Funds, held steady in fourth place.

Rounding out the global top five is London-based Schroders, which manages approximately $500bn (£400bn) and has more than 4,000 employees worldwide.

The global asset manager top 10 list features seven U.S. firms, two Asian firms and two European firms (there are 11 managers listed because Franklin Templeton and Standard Life Investments tied for 10th place).

Why people want to work for BlackRock

Our survey suggests the people who want to work for BlackRock value the firm for its high pay, the financial performance of the firm, the opportunities it affords to work with key industry players and the fact that it is perceived to be a leader in the industry.

Last year, 78% of respondents who wanted to work for BlackRock believe that it offers a competitive salary compared to 72% this year. Still, that figure beats Fidelity’s percentage of 62% – and in the competitive bonus category, it was 64% versus 53%. In addition, 75% perceive BlackRock as a leader in the industry compared to 64% for Fidelity. The other categories where BlackRock exceeds 70% are challenging/interesting work and financial performance of the firm, while 62% say it’s an innovator in the industry and 69% say it works with key industry players.

BlackRock’s average compensation ticked down from $308k in 2015 to $298k last year. After BlackRock president Rob Kapito gave a bullish speech about job prospects over the course of 2016, the asset management giant did increase net headcount by approximately 800 people on the previous year to surpass 13k employees.

BlackRock funds pulled in $30.98bn of inflows in 2015, although Fidelity attracted even more – $47.53bn – that year, according to Lipper. Its European business did well last year, but investors pulled a record $19.3bn from BlackRock’s U.S.-based actively managed mutual funds in 2016, according to Morningstar, including nearly $8.5bn in fourth-quarter outflows. In response, BlackRock plans to consolidate 11% of its actively managed mutual funds, with approximately $30bn under management, with products that leverage trading algorithms and stock-picking models, the New York Times reported. However, it attracted a record $140bn into its iShares exchange-traded funds business last year, larger than its rivals such as State Street and Vanguard, Reuters reported.

The firm earned $862m in the first quarter of this year, up 31% from Q1 2016, and its AUM climbed 14% for the year to $5.4 trillion, a record high.

View the complete 2017 eFinancialCareers Ideal Employer Rankings

Photo caption: Andreas Wass/iStock/Thinkstock

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