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Yesterday, BlackRock announced that Vincent Devlin, manager of the BlackRock Continental European & BlackRock European Absolute Alpha funds, would be stepping down from fund management.
Stefan Gries and Giles Rothbarth, both members of the BlackRock European equity team, will be appointed as portfolio managers on the BlackRock Continental European fund. Stefan Gries will also continue to co-manage the BlackRock European Absolute Alpha fund and will be joined by David Tovey, another member of the team with 19 years’ experience.
Commenting on the change, Darius McDermott, managing director of FundCalibre, said: “I have to say this move is a bit of a surprise. Vincent had underperformed over the last 18 months but his three and five year performance, as well as his longer track record over his tenure on the funds, are all still ahead of the sector averages.
“The European team at BlackRock is one of the most stable and well-resourced, but we have no choice but to remove the Elite Ratings on both funds. We have not met Stefan or David and, as Vincent was very much the lead manager, we can not attribute the track record required for our AlphaQuest screen to the other managers.”