BlackRock reorganizes sales force, taps JPMorgan executive

By Reuters

Nov 11, 2014 06:19 PM EST

BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) is reorganizing its sales force and has hired Lee Beck, a former managing director with J.P. Morgan Funds, to oversee sales to wirehouses, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters.

The New York-based company is splitting its private client-focused sales force into two groups: wirehouses and independent broker dealers effective January, according to an email on Tuesday from Frank Porcelli, head of the U.S. wealth advisory business at BlackRock.

Beck, who begins his new role at BlackRock early next year, had previously overseen global strategic relationships for J.P. Morgan Funds (JPM.N). In this role, which is new, Beck will oversee sales dedicated to wirehouses, or large national broker-dealers such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) or Morgan Stanley(MS.N).

The action comes as BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, is seeing huge inflows into its U.S. exchange-traded funds and bond mutual funds. BlackRock's U.S. iShares ETFs have recorded inflows of $64.9 billion year to date through October, according to the company.

Investors have poured $17.46 billion into its U.S. bond funds over the same period. BlackRock's actively managed equity funds, whose performance has lagged, have seen $6 billion in outflows through October, according to Morningstar.

BlackRock, which bought Barclays Plc and its iShares exchange traded funds in 2009, spent much of 2013 integrating the iShares exchange-traded fund sales force with its own mutual fund sales force.

In 2011, Porcelli told Reuters that the company's goal was to double its $300 billion actively managed retail fund business by end of 2014. As of Sept 30, the company's retail funds had $525.5 billion, according to the firm.

"We are preparing to capture more fully opportunities in the independents and wirehouses," Porcelli wrote in Tuesday's email about the changes.

Effective immediately, BlackRock will start rotating its sales leaders across channels and roles "to enhance training and development," according to the memo.

BlackRock's reorganization comes as many analysts are saying the company is well-positioned as clients move their money away from bond manager Pacific Investment Management (Pimco) following the surprise departure of fund manager Bill Gross.

In October alone, BlackRock's bond funds saw inflows of $5.2 billion, the most investors have put into the company's bond funds since May 1998, according to Morningstar.

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