Employee compensation at BlackRock increased by roughly $100 million during the first quarter of 2018. The fund manager paid out more than $1.12 billion to employees during Q1, buoyed by a 16% uptick in year-over-year revenue, according to the company’s quarterly earnings report. But the fund’s performance isn’t the only reason for the healthy compensation pool. BlackRock attributed part of the increase to headcount growth.
The fund, which manages over $6.3 trillion, didn’t break down exact hiring totals but told us it currently employs around 14,000 people globally. One area where BlackRock is clearly investing is technology. The world’s largest investment group is building a new campus in Palo Alto, California specifically dedicated to artificial intelligence, Financial Times reported. The "BlackRock Lab for Artificial Intelligence" is one of the latest efforts by Blackrock to incorporate more machine learning and computer-generated models into its fund strategy.
As a result of that new strategy, BlackRock is relying less on outside research firms. Chief Executive Larry Fink told Reuters back in February that the firm is allocating more resources to research done within the walls at BlackRock. Clearly much of that investment is in technology, but BlackRock also appears to be incorporating humans into the effort as well. There are a host of research analyst roles that have been posted on BlackRock’s career site over the past two months.
Another interesting area that shows potential for growth is BlackRock’s systematic active equities (SAE) arm, which employs roughly 80 portfolio managers and researchers out in San Francisco. The $100bn computer-powered quantitative investment unit is expected to be a key component of Blackrock’s future plans, according to the FT.
Finally there is BlackRock’s new ‘integration group’, known as ‘Middleware’, which is helping to spread SAE’s data-driven tools around the company. It employed around a dozen employees as of March and plans to build the team to around 30 by the end of next year. If you want to get into BlackRock now, you might want to direct your application here.
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