| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 14 Bob Shearer, who manages one of
BlackRock Inc's largest funds, is planning to leave the
world's biggest asset manager later this year, executives said
in a memo on Tuesday.
Shearer is a managing director and lead portfolio manager
for the nearly $22 billion BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund
, BlackRock's third-largest mutual fund and its biggest
concentrated primarily on picking stocks, aiming to buy stakes
in companies that can boost their dividends.
Responsibility for the group that oversees the fund and
related accounts will be handed over to Tony DeSpirito,
currently a co-head and co-portfolio manager on the team, the
Institutional shares of the fund gained 7.2 percent a year
for the past 10 years, according to Lipper, beating most of its
rivals. Shearer has been portfolio manager on the fund since
2001, while DeSpirito stepped into a leading role in 2014.
"Ever the professional, Bob told us he arrived at this
decision in part because of the strength of the team and
prospects for the business," according to the memo provided to
Reuters by the company.
The document is signed by Mark Wiseman, who oversees
stockpicking strategies globally at BlackRock, and Nigel Bolton,
a chief investment officer there.
BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink has been
working to boost the investment performance of the New
York-based company's stockpicking funds by encouraging its
traditionalist teams to embrace data mining and rules-based
It hired Wiseman away from Canada's biggest public pension
fund last year to quarterback that process.
Much of the investment management industry has been fighting
to thwart a move from active funds to typically lower-cost
passive ones that merely track an index. BlackRock is also a
major manager of index funds through its iShares exchange-traded
Investors pulled $20 billion from BlackRock's active stock
funds last year, while pushing $75 billion into its stock ETFs.
BlackRock managed $5.1 trillion overall at the end of 2016.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Alan Crosby)