Last month's decision by BlackRock, the $5 trillion-in-assets money-management giant, to lay off staff while trimming its traditional stock-picking business, has ended jobs for "less than 10" Philadelphia money-management pros, spokesman Ed Sweeney told me, as more and more investors are shifting to exchange-traded and indexed funds. (A reader reported layoffs there.)
New York-based BlackRock still employs about 80 in its offices at the Cira Centre next to 30th Street Station, about 1,000 at its office center in Princeton, and another 1,000 at offices in Bellevue, Del., north of Wilmington.
The company's stock-investments business is based partly on a group developed by the dividend-focused trust department of the former Provident Bank, a predecessor of PNC Financial Services Group, one of BlackRock's owners.
Philadelphia was an early center of the mutual-fund industry: Vanguard Group, with more than $4 trillion in assets, the majority in U.S. indexed and bond funds, is based in Malvern; SEI is based in nearby Oaks.
Though many of the "value-oriented" smaller shops and bank trust departments that once defined Philadelphia investing have withered, the city is still home to Legg Mason's Brandywine Asset Management and to the U.S. headquarters of the multinational Aberdeen and Macquarie investment groups, among others.
The Boston-based Wellington Management Co. and John Hancock funds management groups have stock-pickers based on the Main Line. Susquehanna International Group, one of the nation's biggest investment trading firms, is based in nearby Bala Cynwyd. The Franklin Square and Penn fund groups are based at the former Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.