The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has instituted criminal proceedings against former BlackRock manager Mark Lyttleton.
The 45-year-old, who ran high profile UK equity funds at BlackRock, is charged with three counts of insider dealing, contrary to Section 52(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1993.
The offences relate to trading in equities and a call option between October 2 2011 and December 16 2011.
Mr Lyttleton has been summonsed to attend City of London Magistrates’ Court today (September 29 2016).
Insider dealing is a criminal offence that is punishable by a fine or up to seven years imprisonment.
Mr Lyttleton was a 21-year veteran of BlackRock and was one of its biggest stars in the last decade, winning kudos for managing both its UK Dynamic and Absolute Alpha portfolios.
The latter topped the Cofunds’ best seller list in mid-2008 and its assets swelled from £300m to £1.4bn in just over a year, according to sister publication the Financial Times.
But the funds struggled after the financial crisis, and UK Dynamic was singled out as a “dog” by financial adviser Bestinvest in 2011.
BlackRock announced in March 2013 that Mr Lyttleton would step down as manager of both portfolios and he left the company on 28 March.
The departure was not related to the FCA's investigation.
A spokesman for BlackRock said: "The FCA has informed us that the charges against a former employee relate to alleged actions carried out in 2011 for his personal gain, while off our premises, and that neither BlackRock, nor any employee, was under investigation.
"There was no impact to any of BlackRock’s clients as a result of the alleged actions.
"The alleged behaviour is totally contrary to the firm’s principles and values, and we strongly support aggressive enforcement of the law in these matters. As charges have now been brought we will not be able to make any further comment."