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Managing directors are leaving BlackRock in the U.S and UK

Traffic cones in u-turn formation

Earlier this year, BlackRock announced plans to cut 400 people – or around 3% of its total headcount. Yes, this is a tiny proportion compared to layoffs in investment banking, but a number of long-serving senior employees have been moving on in recent months.

Jonathan Ross, who was head of equity capital markets functions within BlackRock’s global capital markets group in New York, has just joined J.P. Morgan. There, he’s a managing director and portfolio manager within its private equity functions.

Ralph Haberli, a managing director at BlackRock for the past nine years within its defined contribution division in New York, has just signed up to Capital Group as a senior vice president in institutional retirement. Michael Melvin, a managing director at BlackRock for 11 years, has now joined Rady School of Management as a Master of Finance lecturer.

Meanwhile, in London, Will Lucken, a managing director in product development at BlackRock, has just joined Allianz Global Investors as global head of product development.

The list of departures goes on – all at managing director level and many without a new employer. Barry Knapp, an MD and macroeconomic researcher in New York, Bertrand Mouton, head of software reliability engineering, David Rentfrow, a managing director within its sales function, and Kimberly West, managing director and lead product strategist in its active equity division, have all left.

BlackRock’s senior team has clearly been more affected by the reduction in headcount over the past few months.

The world’s largest asset manager has unveiled a series of strategic changes this year that have resulted in departures in the upper ranks. Earlier this year, it combined its fundamental (stock picking) and active (quant) equity groups. It’s also been investing in big data and machine learning and building out its exchange traded funds arm, iShares.

BlackRock’s job cuts were said to affect all regions and levels of seniority, but – it said at the time – it still expected to end the year with more employees than it started with.

There have also been a few additions at managing director level. Adam Schneider, who spent 21 years in Deloitte’s financial services consulting arm – latterly as a principal – has just joined as a managing director in financial markets advisory in New York.

Stephen Messinger, a former managing director at Beacon Consulting Group in San Francisco, is now a managing director within BlackRock’s US iShares division. Regina Shannon, a former MD in relationship management in J.P. Morgan’s investment bank, has joined Blackrock Solutions.

BlackRock’s headcount had shrunk from 13,000 in the first quarter of 2015 to 12,300 in Q1 this year. However, employee numbers have since headed up – it had around 12,700 people as of 30 June.

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