BlackRock’s Stephanie Bothwell
BlackRock will see a number of changes within its fundamental European equities team over the next two months, as David Tovey will leave the firm on 2 April.
Tovey, a 23-year BlackRock veteran, will take a break from the industry to think about his next challenge, the firm said. The manager has been part of BlackRock’s European equity team since 2013.
As a result of the departure, BlackRock said it would make “several appointments a realign certain portfolio management responsibilities” within its fundamental European equities team.
“These moves reflect our commitment to developing investment talent as well as realising the best performance for clients and assuring consistency in investment strategy,” a spokesperson told Investment Week.
Tovey will be replaced as co-manager alongside Stefan Gries on the BSF European Absolute Return and BFM European Absolute Alpha funds by Stephanie Bothwell.
Darius McDermott, managing director of FundCalibre, said Tovey was a highly rated manager, so the departure was a loss for BlackRock. “But as far as the fund is concerned, I do not think it is a problem,” he countered.
“Stefan Gries has been co-manager since launch and is also a very good manager and well-respected. He also has the support of probably the most well-resourced European equity team in the industry at the moment – as well as one of the best performing.”
McDermott said the European Absolute Alpha fund would retain its Elite rating from FundCalibre.
The fund also has an ‘A’ rating from Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research, which the firm said would neither be removed nor suspended. Analysts said they had been “reassured” by the steps taken by BlackRock to ensure continuity.
Elsewhere, Christopher Sykes will become sole portfolio manager of the BGF Swiss Small and Mid Cap Opportunities fund, which he has been co-manager of since 2019. Sykes will also continue to co-manage the BSF European Opportunities Extension alongside Bothwell, who will be appointed as co-manager.
Bothwell joined BlackRock in July 2018 as European equity analyst and has worked closely with Tovey, Gries and Sykes since.
The manager joined from Merrill Lynch, where she spend six years first as vice president, equity research – mining, and then head of European chemicals research. Before that, she had been an equity analyst at Oriel Securities and senior associate at PwC.
BlackRock wished Tovey well for his next chapter.
It will be the second overhaul of BlackRock’s European equity funds, after manager Alister Hibbert stepped back from the management of the BFM European Dynamic and BGF Continental European Flexible funds, to be replaced by Giles Rothbarth.
Hibbert stepped back to focus on the recently launched Global Unconstrained Equity strategy.