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MONEY MANAGEMENT

Western Asset Management

Western Asset carolers raise their voices in song at the firm's annual holiday party.

A 'large boutique' with many languages and a recognition of values

Third place, managers with 500 to 999 employees

While many employees say that Pasadena, Calif.-based Western Asset Management Co. feels like a small company, CEO James Hirschman III likes to think about it as a “large boutique.”

“On any given day, you'll hear so many different languages spoken here at our headquarters because we bring in employees — across functions — from our nine global offices,” said Mr. Hirschman. The 842-employee unit of Legg Mason (LM) Inc. oversees nearly $450 billion for clients around the world in fixed-income strategies.

“And no matter which of our global offices our clients visit, they should really get a sense of our cultures and core values,” said Mr. Hirschman, so much so that one employee suggested (and the firm agreed) to name some conference rooms after the firm's values. “I want people to want to come to work every day and enjoy the people that they work with. That's what will set us apart.”

Based on employee feedback, the company, a four-time winner in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey, toned down its dress code to allow jeans every day, opened up the Christmas and Rose Parade events to family and friends, and boosted its wellness programs in recent years.

“It's an extremely collegial work environment where everyone's opinion is encouraged and valued,” said one employee in the survey. “The employees are intelligent, driven and focused on providing first-rate client service but also are extremely respectful of one another and encourage each other to succeed. It is the best work environment of which I have been a part.”

Another employee called it a “professional yet relaxed working environment. The company is organized, efficient and makes everyone feel welcomed and part of the Western family. My manager is encouraging, open-minded and motivating. She is so talented at what she does and so forthcoming with knowledge that it makes me want to work harder.”

This article originally appeared in the December 12, 2016 print issue as, "Western Asset Management".