Controversy Causes BlackRock Manager to Step Down
Dan Rice had run
BlackRock announced comanager Denis Walsh, who worked closely on the fund with Rice the last 13 years, will take over the reins, along with Dan Neumann, who oversees several BlackRock energy closed-end funds. There are no indications the duo will greatly alter the fund's strategy of using energy price forecasts to find attractively priced companies, mostly in the small- and mid-cap universes. That strategy has generated peer-beating results but above-average risk. Indeed, the fund is one of the most volatile in the equity energy category and has lost more in down markets than rivals.
Rice won't be going very far. He continues to manage BlackRock institutional accounts but is prohibited from talking to Walsh and Neumann about portfolio holdings. Rice has also agreed to not take any future leadership role at Rice Energy while employed at BlackRock or assist the firm in any public fundraising it may do.
The fund's rating remains under review for now.
Eaton Vance Shores Up International Equity Resources
The move fits with Eaton Vance's history of supplementing the firm's organic growth with acquisitions and strategic subadvisor partnerships. In recent years the firm has brought new global macro strategies to the fore, including the December launch of Eaton Vance Parametric Structured Currency EAPSX. But adding Hexavest as a subadvisor--and a potential future subsidiary--gives Eaton Vance an opportunity to build out its relatively small global and international fund lineup.
Changes Continue at Columbia Fund
Columbia announced Strategic Investor CSVAX will be renamed Columbia Global Dividend Opportunity. The fund will also adopt a new strategy: It will invest at least 80% of its assets in income-producing securities, it will have a 40% minimum exposure to foreign companies, and it will no longer have a focus on small caps, convertible securities, and special situations. In addition, its benchmark index will now be the MSCI All World Country Index. The tweaks to the strategy will occur in August. The changes to the fund's name and strategy follow an earlier announcement in April 2012 that outlined an overhaul of the management team. After posting a lackluster record, comanagers Emil Gjester and Jonas Patrikson stepped down and will leave the firm later this year. Michael Welter has also been relieved of his manager role but is still an analyst at Columbia. They were replaced by Steve Schroll, Laton Spahr, and Paul Stocking, who help run six other Columbia funds, including several dividend-focused offerings.
Michael Carey was removed as a portfolio comanager of BlackRock International Opportunities BREAX and BlackRock Global Opportunities BROAX. The funds will retain Thomas Callan, who has managed the former since 1999 and the latter since its 2006 inception. New comanager Nigel Hart will join the funds, while comanager Ian Jamieson remains with both funds.