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BlackRock to Reduce San Francisco Jobs in ‘Challenging Markets’

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, plans to eliminate 59 jobs in San Francisco starting at the end of January.

The company, based in New York, disclosed the cuts in a Dec. 7 state filing in California. BlackRock owns the iShares exchange-traded fund business, which is based in San Francisco.

BlackRock, which oversees $3.35 trillion, acquired the iShares business in December 2009 through its purchase of Barclays Global Investors. The firm reshuffled the iShares leadership in September, appointing Mark Wiedman as head of the unit that is the world’s biggest provider of ETFs. BlackRock, led by Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink, had about 10,200 employees globally as of Sept. 30.

“In these challenging markets, BlackRock continues to exercise financial discipline,” Bobbie Collins, a spokeswoman for the company, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “We are focusing resources on key priorities while identifying ways to streamline processes and reduce expenses. This has included shifting some personnel, hiring select key talent, and in some instances eliminating positions consistent with client needs.”

The iShares unit continues to be a “major growth business” at BlackRock, Collins said, along with the firm’s retirement products, the BlackRock Solutions advisory unit and the multiasset investment group.

Job cuts announced by financial firms globally have risen to more than 200,000 this year from about 58,000 in 2010 and 174,000 in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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