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BlackRock plans more employee support after review of complaints

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June 24 (Reuters) – BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) Chief Executive Larry Fink said on Thursday the company would create new support channels for employees and start evaluating the conduct of senior leaders, including himself, after a legal review of intolerant behavior at the world’s top asset manager.

Fink described the steps in an all-hands memo following a review by the law firm of Paul, Weiss that was led by partner Loretta Lynch, a former U.S. Attorney General.

The review came after employees complained about racial and sexual harassment, and the conduct of executives, in a series of reports this spring.

In a Feb. 1 Medium post, for instance, a former BlackRock analyst described being sexually harassed and discriminated against as an Arab-American Muslim woman, including being taunted for not wearing a Christmas holiday sweater. Little happened after she complained to human resources, she wrote.

With some $9 trillion under management, BlackRock is an influential voice pushing for more boardroom diversity and minority representation at portfolio companies.

BlackRock’s changes were reported earlier on Thursday by Bloomberg News.

The law firm’s review “highlighted things I wasn’t happy about. These included instances where people at BlackRock had experiences that did not meet what we all should expect of BlackRock,” Fink said in his memo, provided by a BlackRock spokesman.

BlackRock declined to discuss individual cases, citing privacy.

Fink said BlackRock would make changes including “expanding options for employees to engage on issues that do not warrant a formal complaint” and investing in its human resources team.

To reinforce the message, Fink also said he and another top 25 or so executives going forward will undergo reviews from peers “to ensure we have a clear picture of how the conduct of each of our senior leaders impacts everyone we work with.”