BlackRock shake up UK equity team with Abrdn hire

BlackRock shake up UK equity team with Abrdn hire

BlackRock is shaking up its UK equity fund range, with long-serving fund manager Nick Little stepping away, and Samantha Brownlee, an investment director at Abrdn, joining the company. 

A BlackRock representative told FTAdviser that Little will no longer be managing funds at the company, though at present he remains a BlackRock employee and is “exploring opportunities inside and outside the firm".

Little was originally employed by Merrill Lynch Investment Management in 2001, and has been at BlackRock since 2006, when the Merrill Lynch business was acquired by Blackrock. 

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Brownlee joined Aberdeen as a graduate trainee 14 years ago and spent three years as a fund manager, prior to moving to an investment director role in 2018. 

Those moves are part of a wider shake-up of the sprawling UK team at Blackrock, which is divided into two groups, a “core” UK equity team, and an “emerging UK companies” team. 

Brownlee will work alongside Luke Chappell, as part of the UK core equity team.

As part of the shake-up, management of the BGF United Kingdom fund will now be by core equity team, instead of the UK emerging companies team. This fund is around £245mn in size. 

The BFM UK fund will now be run by the UK emerging companies team, and specifically by Roland Arnold, a long standing equity manager at the firm, who also runs the firm’s UK Special Situations and UK Smaller companies funds. This is the fund which Little had managed.

Over the past year to December 5, it has lost 22 per cent. 

The investment approach of both funds remains the same. 

A representative for BlackRock said: “Within BlackRock’s Fundamental Equities business, we are constantly looking to ensure that our product offerings are relevant to our clients’ ever-changing demands and aligned to BlackRock’s long-term strategic growth priorities. We believe these changes will align our UK equity fund range with the evolving needs of our clients.”