BlackRock Inc., the world's largest asset manager, posted a small rise in second-quarter profit as the company saw net outflows for the first time in nearly three years.

Net outflows totaled $36.6 billion, with investors pulling out $7.3 billion from BlackRock's long-term funds. It is the first time that the New York-based firm has posted outflows since the third quarter of 2012.

The bulk of those outflows were from large international institutional investors pulling funds from low-fee index-based products. CEO Larry Fink told Reuters in an interview that those investors put the money into cash or reallocated into active BlackRock strategies.

Ten of BlackRock's largest institutional clients have pulled $40 billion from BlackRock over the past two quarters, he said.

"It's raining in some parts of the world and some of these countries have built large rainy day funds," Fink said.

But many of these same investors reallocated into BlackRock's more profitable active strategies, according to the firm. BlackRock saw $2.5 billion in net inflows into its institutional active strategies.

Overall, investors poured $10.85 billion into BlackRock's exchange-traded funds, with the lion's share going into equity funds.

Retail flows totaled $10.8 billion, the bulk into fixed income funds.

The inflows into active strategies and ETFs are key to BlackRock because they garner higher fees than institutional index strategies.

For every $10,000, an investor in a BlackRock retail fund pays around $64 a year, compared with $34 for an exchange-traded fund and $10 for institutional clients, according to the firm.