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Best places to work in money management

Western Asset Management

Employees participating in the Western Asset 5K smile for the camera at the Rose Bowl; the run is a component of the company’s ever-expanding wellness program.

Fourth place, money managers with 500 to 999 employees

AUM: $435 billion

Employees: 678

"We are focused on a team-based, collaborative approach," said James Hirschmann III, CEO of Western Asset Management Co., the Pasadena, Calif., independent affiliate of Legg Mason (LM) Global Asset Management.

That team approach is a big reason why the fixed-income manager has now notched five wins on Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management program.

"The company culture is very appealing to most people and unique to the industry," one employee said in the BPTW survey. "Even though the culture is relaxed and friendly, it does not lead to a lower work ethic. Everyone is extremely motivated and hardworking."

"One of my favorite parts about working at WAMCO is the Western Wellness program," said another employee. "The Western Wellness committee provides great programming to ensure that employees are focusing on healthy living."

What started with two to five events in 2013 has "gone into overdrive," according to Mr. Hirschmann, with nearly 40 activities and educational programs this year.

And through the firm's Western Asset University, employees have access to a variety of topics, including leadership, communication skills and time management. WAMCO supports employee learning at other institutions as well.

A senior employee, for example, had expressed some skepticism before enrolling in a non-WAMCO leadership program, Mr. Hirschmann said. But the individual "really found it to be well worth the time and investment," he added.