BlackRock launches thematic fund range

BlackRock launches thematic fund range

BlackRock is to launch a range of six equity funds that will screen investments based on their social impact and use machine learning to contribute to stock selection.

The range includes one global and five regional exposures, comprising World, US, Emerging Markets, Pan-European, Europe excluding UK, and Asia excluding Japan funds.

All six screen the social and environmental footprints of the companies in which they invest.

The funds are managed by the more than 80 people in BlackRock's systematic active equity (SAE) team, based in San Francisco and London.

A spokesman for the investment house said the fund range will use a range of technologies, including Big Data and machine learning, to help the fund managers select stocks.

Range Ongoing Charge Figures 
World 40 basis points (bps) 
Pan Europe 35 bps 
Europe ex-UK 35 bps 
US 30 bps 
Emerging Markets 60 bps 
Asia ex-Japan 50 bps 

The managers will also use what 'investment signals' from a variety of data sources, including earnings calls, internet traffic and satellite images, to better inform their investment decisions, according to the spokesman.

The strategy mirrors one launched in the US last year.

Michael Gruener, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa retail at BlackRock, said: "Client demand has evolved beyond a binary call for active or index investment solutions. Portfolios are now constructed from a range of techniques to reflect the vast array of options and information available to investors. 

"The advantage range, and expansion of our product spectrum, bolsters our active equity franchise and our unique ability to deliver differentiated returns for our clients."

Adrian Lowcock, investment director at Architas said: “This fund range offers investors a very unique and forward looking way to get exposure to active management.  

"Using technology to help make investment decisions is going to become more common as it enables fund managers to gain a competitive advantage. BlackRock are well positioned for this as they have a large well resources team.

"However new techniques bring new risks and idiosyncrasies so investors may wish to see what the long term performance results look like."