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Cox’s workload questioned as BlackRock fund downgraded

Cox’s workload questioned as BlackRock fund downgraded

Morningstar has raised concerns about BlackRock manager Ralph Cox’s workload as it downgraded his UK Smaller Companies fund.

The ratings agency has downgraded the BlackRock UK Smaller Companies fund from bronze to neutral.

Analyst Jeremy Beckwith said he was “concerned by Mr Cox’s increased workload following his promotion to head the team as well as the additional lead portfolio management responsibilities he has recently taken on”.

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Mr Cox took on the role of head of BlackRock’s UK small and mid cap team when Richard Plackett took a sabbatical last year and he retained the role following Mr Plackett’s return.

Mr Cox also manages the contracts for difference (CFD) portfolio on BlackRock’s Throgmorton investment trust.

Mr Beckwith said although the BlackRock UK Smaller Companies fund had previously had a successful approach, Mr Cox’s recent execution of that approach had been “disappointing” recently.

The fund has delivered third quartile performance in the IA Smaller Companies sector in one, three and five years, according to FE Analytics, though it is in the second quartile over 10 years.