BlackRock, the world’s largest publicly traded asset manager, reported a 84% decline in fourth-quarter income, to $53 million, for full-year 2008 net income of $786 million, a 21% decline.

Assets under management only declined negligibly, however, by 3.7% to $1.3 trillion.

The year’s results also include a $38 million restructuring charge related to severance and other costs related to a 9% reduction in BlackRock’s workforce.

“Without question, 2008 has been the most difficult market environment in memory, with many markets frozen and assets suffering extreme price declines,” said BlackRock Chairman and CEO Laurence D. Fink. “Problems accelerated in the second half of the year, and 2009 is beginning on difficult footing, with greater headline risk of growing unemployment, weak earnings and increased bankruptcies. Clients increasingly are looking for solutions that span asset classes; they are looking for strategic partners, not product providers; for nimble, liability-driven solutions; risk management; and the safety and liquidity of money market funds.

“I am optimistic about the power of BlackRock’s business model and strength of our platform,” Fink continued. “I believe that industry consolidation will accelerate and that BlackRock will have meaningful strategic opportunities.”

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