BlackRock Pink Slips Six

March 3, 2003 ( - BlackRock fired a half dozen fund managers last week, after the asset manager's large cap stock funds lost three-quarters of their assets in just over a year, according to Reuters, citing a person familiar with the situation.

The firm, with some $273 billion under management, has reportedly replaced Chris Kaufman, who headed management of the $383 million Large Cap Value Equity Portfolio, along with fund managers Gemma Ivol, Paul Sloate, and John Chambers.

Both Matthew Considine and Steven Ralston, who team managed the $152 million Large Cap Growth Equity Portfolio, were also replaced.

BlackRock spokesman Brian Beades told Reuters that f ive new hires the firm announced last week would take over management of its large-cap stock family. Last week BlackRock said that David Byrket and Frederick Herrmann would head the new large cap investment team. New York-based BlackRock, known primarily for its fixed income management (90% of the firm’s assets under management are in bond funds) has been trying to grow its equity business.

“Under” Achievers

The Large Cap Growth Equity Institutional fund had an average decline of 11% over the last five years, worse than 93% of the funds in its class, according to the report, citing data from Morningstar. Meanwhile, the fund’s assets under management have fallen 80% since the end of 2001.

The Large Cap Value Equity Institutional fund has lost 6%, on average, during the last five years, underperforming 85% of the funds in its class. Its assets have fallen by 76% since late 2001.

The new hires, which will also help to manage BlackRock’s Select Equity Portfolio and Balanced Portfolio funds, rely on computer models and analysis of financial statistics to pick stocks.