After working in human resources for major financial institutions including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and DBS Bank, the Asia-based Flora Yim jumped at the chance to break new ground at BlackRock, a global investment firm and technology provider poised to expand its local presence in China. “When I learned that China would allow foreign asset managers to wholly own asset management companies in the country starting in 2020, I knew that it was time to consider working for this sector. BlackRock is trusted to manage more money than any other asset manager and their commitment to helping China address its retirement challenge is evident,” she says.
Yim, who joined BlackRock as their HR Business Partner for North Asia in early 2020, believes her experience in the region—particularly at helping grow financial service businesses in China—makes her the ideal person to help the company hire and develop talent in this market. “I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai, and managed to work with talent around the globe,” she says.
Here, Yim talks about what projects she’s working on, the roles she’s hiring for in Shanghai and Beijing, and what she loves most about BlackRock’s company culture.
What attracted you to work at BlackRock?
BlackRock is a relatively “young” company (compared to those I’ve worked for in the past) with more than three decades of history. The entrepreneurial spirit here is strong and it provides a lot of room for new ideas and innovation. Most importantly, it’s a firm that truly values its talent and puts people first. Talent is a standard agenda item for almost every forum. Career development is a given here, not a benefit. During the pandemic, a lot of support has been offered to employees to ensure our health and well-being are taken care of.
What are you responsible for in your role?
I am the HR business partner of the North Asia Region as well as the client business and corporate functions in Asia Pacific (APAC). The responsibilities of a business partner are very broad, from setting and driving the talent strategy with the leadership team to helping individual colleagues obtain the necessary support from the wider HR team. Aside from being a business partner, I also see myself as a “talent custodian” of the firm—to make sure that our employees can perform at their best and grow together with BlackRock.
What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?
Definitely our new business ventures in China! We are launching two major businesses in the mainland: a fund management company that is wholly owned by BlackRock and a wealth management company, a joint venture of BlackRock, the China Construction Bank, and Temasek Holdings. Just one of these is already an exciting initiative, not to mention that we are doing both at the same time!
You joined BlackRock less than a year ago. What was the interview process and onboarding experience like?
I met a number of colleagues both inside and outside of HR during the interview process. It was both enjoyable and helpful for me because, by meeting such a diverse team of colleagues, I was able to gain a better understanding of the firm’s priorities and culture and determine whether or not it was a team that I wanted to work with.
I joined the firm when the outbreak of COVID-19 had just started. Honestly, it was challenging as two weeks after I joined the firm, we were requested to work from home. Having said that, the challenges were manageable because my manager and the team were all very supportive and tried their best to help me settle in.
Tell us about BlackRock’s growth in the APAC region, specifically in China.
As I shared earlier, we are launching a fund management company and a wealth management company. The fund and wealth management markets in China have enormous potential for global asset management companies like us. The growth of the middle class and the aging population in China present a lot of opportunities for BlackRock to provide its expertise to support the Chinese people to have greater financial well-being and retirement planning. We trust that our business in China will grow and thrive but, of course, to make that happen, we need talented people to join us in this new endeavor.
What types of roles are you hiring for in Shanghai and Beijing?
A wide range! Almost every function we have at the company still has roles open on the team. They range from front office and corporate function roles, to positions within investing for researchers and portfolio managers.
What do you like best about the culture at BlackRock?
I would pick innovation and diversity and inclusion. Our people are generally very driven and tend to find ways to make things better. Innovation therefore becomes something natural, and this enables us to create better solutions for our clients as well as our own colleagues. For diversity and inclusion, the firm makes good and conscious efforts in upholding its commitments in this area and offers a collaborative and accepting environment for people of different backgrounds to work together well.
What advice do you have for candidates who want to apply for a job at BlackRock?
First of all, take action now and apply! If you are invited to speak with us, keep an open mind, enjoy the process, and share openly and honestly about how we could support your career aspirations.