BlackRock , the world's largest money manager, sees investors shifting their investments away from bonds to equities this year, a senior executive told Reuters on Thursday.

We think the outlook for equities is positive, Richard Kushel, head of portfolio management, said on the sidelines of a conference in Germany, adding that he expected many investors to shift to this asset class.

We see the biggest opportunities in the U.S. and Asia, he said, mirroring the view of BlackRock's chief equity strategist Bob Doll, who two weeks ago said U.S. stocks could post double-digit returns in 2011 for the third straight year and outdo global markets.

Many investors see dividend paying stocks emerge as a good alternative to fixed income, Kushel said.

We see our client demand is very high for that, he said. That is a way to get income relative to the way investors traditionally got it in bond markets.

Though credit problems remain a concern, opportunities remained in this asset class, he said.

There are opportunities in the (European) periphery. We are certainly not fleeing those markets, Kushel said.

At the same time, Blackrock expects growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to remain very strong.

But I do not think we are seeing that at the expense of actively managed funds -- at least not for managers, who can produce real alpha, Kushel said, referring to those who can outperform markets.

He said BlackRock was not afraid of the shift as it has the leading ETF business in the world.

Another Blackrock manager told Reuters in December that he expected the global market for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to grow around 20 to 30 percent next year, fueled by Asia where the market is still maturing.

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze)