BlackRock Inc said on Friday it is tightening its belt and putting off some hirings amid an economic environment that has spooked retail investors and drove its quarterly profit down.
The world’s biggest asset manager said total expenses are likely to end 2022 with a growth of 15%, the bottom of a previously announced guidance. It is delaying senior hires into next year and bringing more junior employees to certain roles, noting that it is trying to “juniorize” a number of roles where appropriate.
“We are mindful of the current environment and you are pro-actively managing the pace of what I would call certain of our discretionary investments,” Chief Financial Officer Gary Schedlin told analysts in a call.
BlackRock said that general and administrative expenses rose 12% year-over-year partly due to costs associated with return to office such as higher tech costs and health and safety costs.
BlackRock’s adjusted profit fell to $1.12 billion, or $7.36 per share, for the three months ended June 30, from $1.61 billion, or $10.45 per share, a year earlier. It missed an average analyst estimate of $7.90 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Spooked by assets drawdown, retail investors withdrew roughly $10 billion in the quarter, BlackRock showed, the first drop since the pandemic began in March 2020. The company said that although gross sales of mutual funds remained strong, there were strong redemptions in long-duration fixed income, high yield and growth equities.
Still, the firm attracted $89.6 billion in total net inflow from clients.
Regarding the recent collapse of crypto assets, BlackRock said it will continue to explore digit assets. “The crypto asset market has witnessed a steep downturn in valuations over recent months. But we’re still seeing more interest from institutional clients about how to efficiently access these assets,” Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said.
BlackRock’s assets under management (AUM) fell 11% to $8.49 trillion compared with last year, well below the $10 trillion milestone from the fourth quarter of 2021, and also hit by a stronger dollar.
“Investors are simultaneously navigating high inflation, rising rates and the worst start to the year for both stocks and bonds in half a century,” said Fink, adding that global companies are also facing the impact of the dollar appreciation in their earnings.
The current macroeconomic environment, ridden with worries about surging inflation, geopolitical turmoil and rate hikes, has only added to the pressures of fund managers, as a large part of their business is dependent on market conditions.
Fink said clients are increasingly turning to cash as a safe haven. “Now an inverted yield curve has made cash not just a safe place, but now also a more profitable place for investors,” the CEO told analysts.
Revenue in the quarter for BlackRock fell 6% to $4.53 billion, also missing analysts’ estimate.
“As expected, revenue and EPS were soft compared with recent quarters, proving that even BLK is not immune to a market downturn,” said Kyle Sanders, senior equity research analyst at Edward Jones.
BlackRock’s shares, which have shed nearly 36% so far this year, were roughly flat in morning trading.
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