BlackRock’s Plackett to take sabbatical

BlackRock’s Richard Plackett is to take a six-month sabbatical from managing money after more than a decade at the company, Investment Adviser can reveal.

Mr Plackett, who is head of the UK Small and Mid Cap team, runs the group’s £2bn UK Special Situations fund and the contracts for difference (CFD) portfolio of the £331m Throgmorton Trust and is to take leave from April.

The group said Mr Plackett’s co-manager Roland Arnold would assume responsibility for the UK Special Situations fund while Ralph Cox would take over the CFD portfolio on Throgmorton with Mike Prentis continuing to run the long only part of the trust.

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Mr Cox will also assume responsibilities as head of the team while Mr Plackett is on leave.

“After more than a decade at BlackRock, and 25 years as an investor, Richard Plackett, managing director and portfolio manager on the UK Small and Mid Cap team, has requested and been granted a six-month sabbatical which will commence on April 1,” a spokesperson for the group said.

“BlackRock fully supports this request from a long serving member of the portfolio management team. Roland Arnold, co-manager of the BlackRock UK Special Situations fund since 2012, will continue to manage the fund during Richard’s sabbatical. We look forward to welcoming Richard back in October.”

The group said the size of the team had doubled in size from three members to six since Mr Plackett joined in 2002 and it was because of this that the company was able to grant his request.

Mr Plackett took a break between leaving M&G Investments and joining BlackRock in 2002 when he pursued his leisure interests and also wrote a book on the War of the Roses. He intends to do similar activities this time as well as travelling with his family.

Mr Arnold joined Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM) in 2000, which later merged with BlackRock in 2006. At MLIM, Mr Arnold was a fund manager on the UK small/mid cap team. Prior to joining MLIM in 2000, he worked at a UK retail bank as a performance and credit analyst.

Mr Cox, managing director and portfolio manager, also joined BlackRock following the merger with MLIM in 2006. At MLIM, Ralph was responsible for managing the ML UK Emerging Companies Hedge fund, as well as several small and mid cap portfolios for institutional clients. He began his career with MLIM in 1999.