Business

BlackRock offers unlimited time off

Asset manager wants to be more tech-focused

FILE PHOTO - Larry Fink, Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, takes part in the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
FILE PHOTO - Larry Fink, Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, takes part in the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

BlackRock Inc., taking a page from Silicon Valley where ping-pong tables and on-site gyms are common perks, is offering unlimited time off.

The world’s largest asset manager began rolling out the option earlier this month, confirmed Brian Beades, a BlackRock spokesman. The New York-based financial business previously allotted vacation days based on seniority and job title.

BlackRock, with Wall Street roots, is providing a benefit that’s considered appealing to younger workers used to more casual and flexible environments. It also comes as CEO Larry Fink seeks to transform the company into more of a technology-focused firm.

One of its most important products is Aladdin, a risk-management system offered to investment professionals.

“We are obviously a technology company as well as an asset management company,” Jeff Smith, BlackRock’s head of human resources, said in an interview Wednesday. “When we are competing in places like Silicon Valley, that is very important. It sends a signal.”

Smith said the change was made in response to surveys that found employees across almost every region and all demographic groups valued flexibility.

Within the past two years, the money manager began letting employees wear less formal work attire. The time-off policy follows Silicon Valley companies such as Netflix and Zynga which have given unlimited vacation to attract top engineers.

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