BlackRock's profit has slumped by 20 per cent after struggling to deal with high levels of volatility in global markets

Billy Bambrough
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Dow Jones Industrial Average Dives Sharply Downward
Extreme market swings in the first two months of the year were not kind to BlackRock (Source: Getty)

US based BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, failed to weather the global financial storm at the start of this year.

The wild market swings, which saw the total value of the Chinese markets reduced by 50 per cent and the price of a barrel of crude oil sink to lows of $27 per barrel, knocked 20 per cent from BlackRock's profit in the first three months of the year.

In its first quarter statement released today BlackRock said its net profit fell to $657m (£464m), compared to $822m in the same period last year.

Revenue fared less badly but still took a tumble, down four per cent to $2.6bn.

Earnings per share ditched 19 per cent, to $3.92, from $4.84 a year ago.

Asset managers are currently going through their largest period of outflows since the financial crisis and BlackRock saw $359m from actively-managed retail funds in the last quarter.

The manager did attract a total of $36.1bn in new money however, including $10.8bn into funds that it actively manages for institutional clients.

Laurence Fink, chairman and chief executive said:

BlackRock remains committed to constantly evolving our organisation to meet the long-term needs of our clients. We continue to invest in our business to capture the opportunities ahead of us and drive growth despite current market volatility. Doing so requires making smart and difficult decisions about allocating resources, and led to our decision to initiate a restructuring during the quarter that will streamline and simplify our organisation, driving efficiencies across our platform to better serve our clients and deliver returns for our shareholders.

Last month it was reported BlackRock was planning to cut 400 jobs within weeks in the firm's biggest layoff to date. The reductions at the money managing firm are equal to around three per cent of the firm's total workforce of 13,000 employees. The company took a restructuring charge of $76m as a result.

Despite a difficult first quarter last week BlackRock warned the biggest risk to investors would come in the second quarter of this year.

Blackrock's quarterly global investment outlook, written by its global chief investment strategist, Richard Turnill, and his team, highlighted Chinese yuan devaluation, the possibility of Britain leaving the EU, and the chaotic US presidential campaign as all contributing to difficulties over the next three months.

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