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Best places to work in money management

ClearBridge Investments

Volunteers take some serious heat in the kitchen, top, to provide hot meals for 250 families through the firm’s partnership with the United Way and The New York Common Pantry.

Third place, money managers with 100 to 499 employees

AUM: $123 billion

Employees: 212

"If we can't identify how an activity benefits the client, then we reassess whether it's worth doing," said Terrence Murphy, CEO of ClearBridge Investments LLC, an operating unit of Legg Mason (LM) Global Asset Management.

That ethos at the six-time winner in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management program has helped move the firm forward, with a "great deal of autonomy and trust," one employee wrote in the BPTW survey.

Keeping the team focused on the client "is the real driver,'' Mr. Murphy said. "If we get the client relationship correct, the result is positive growth and a rewarding employee experience. We encourage our people to share ideas, listen effectively and value others' opinions."

"Incredible leadership has cultivated a 'root-for' culture where individuals are valued but so is teamwork," noted another employee. "The company cares a great deal of making this an inclusive work environment with the ability to excel regardless of background."

"It's a family more than a job," a longtime employee noted. "You can talk to anyone on all levels at any time."

"Management respects the employees, is very approachable, and listens to employee suggestions regarding the business and the environment in which we work," said another employee, noting the addition of sit-to-stand desks in recent years.

The New York-based firm stresses work-life balance and features lunch groups on financial fare from retirement and estate-planning to meditation, self-defense and martial arts. The company also works with local and national charities such as Animal Haven, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Lupus Foundation of America.