Harbor Capital Appreciation gets a new comanager, some Vanguard expense ratios fall, Oppenheimer changes a value manager, Vanguard rotates some bond fund managers, a Lord Abbett small-cap blend manager leaves, and more.
BlackRock continued to revamp its equity mutual fund lineup this week by replacing three management teams, including what was left of a U.S.-based energy and natural-resources group that last year attracted unwanted attention for an apparent conflict of interest.
The asset-management firm said it will replace the U.S.-based team that has run the $784 million BlackRock Energy & Resources
For more than a decade, Batchelor and Allonby have run the Bronze-rated BGF New Energy and Silver-rated BGF World Energy funds that are sold in Europe. As of Feb. 26, 2013, both funds had trailed their category averages since inception. New Energy had fallen 3.4% annualized since April 6, 2001, while the average European Alternative Energy fund had slipped less than 1.0%. World Energy had gained 6.9% annualized since then compared with 7.9% for the typical European-based equity energy fund. Since October 2011 Batchelor and Allonby also have been part of the team that runs the still relatively new and unrated BlackRock Commodities Strategies
Last year, the longtime manager of the U.S.-based Energy & Resources and All-Cap Resources funds, Dan Rice, stepped down and eventually left BlackRock after news reports revealed a potential conflict of interest. A natural gas drilling firm that Rice helped start and his sons operated had a joint venture with one of the funds' largest holdings, Alpha Natural Resources
The unrated BlackRock Mid-Cap Growth Equity
BlackRock's San Francisco-based Scientific Active Equity team, which currently runs collective investment trusts, will take over Small Cap Growth Equity from lead manager Andrew Thut and Mid Cap Growth Equity's Leger on May 1. Thut, who had been lead manager since 2008 and a comanager since 2004, will help with the transition but ultimately will leave the firm. This is the second big manager change in six years for this fund, whose trailing one-, three-, and five-year results are all below the category average and Russell 2000 Growth Index. BlackRock's Travis Cooke, who came to the firm with its 2009 acquisition of Barclays Global Investors, will be the fund’s new manager; but the Scientific Equity Team uses a mix of quantitative and fundamental approaches that involves many more people. The fund will remain a growth offering, but it may be more benchmark-conscious and possibly offer a lower expense ratio.
The changes are the latest among many that BlackRock has made to its fundamental equity mutual fund teams. The firm recruited managers from other firms to take over several investment teams and funds in 2012, including BlackRock Capital Appreciation, BlackRock Basic Value
Vanguard Rotates Managers, Changes Leaders at Bond Index Group
Vanguard is rotating five members of its investment management team, continuing the firm's practice of periodically revolving key personnel to expand their experience.