BlackRock’s profits soar

PROFITS at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, soared 77 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, beating all expectations yesterday.

Higher hedge fund fees and inflows into its exchange-traded fund business generated earnings of $670m (£419m), or $3.42 per share, up from $379m, or $2.39 per share, in the same period in 2009.

The result far outstripped analyst forecasts of $2.90 per share and show BlackRock consolidating its performance after a year in which first-quarter results missed expectations and the second quarter was dogged by fears over low fee income and outflows of capital.

BlackRock, which bought Barclays’ US investment arm for $15bn in 2009, has $3.6 trillion of assets under management despite another huge capital outflow in the past quarter.

Net fund inflow was $23.9bn excluding $38.7bn in withdrawals from clients that had held accounts with both Barclays and BlackRock before the merger and did not want all their funds to stay with one firm.

“Away from merger-related outflows, new business was robust,” chief executive Laurence Fink said. “We believe merger-related outflows are largely behind us.” BlackRock shares closed up 2.29 per cent at $198.01.