BlackRock energy fund manager Batchelor quits

Construction-Energy-Oil-Fuel-700x450.jpgRobin Batchelor, manager of BlackRock Global Funds’ World Energy Fund and New Energy Fund, is to leave the manager at the end of the year after 20 years with the firm.

Batchelor will be replaced on the funds by Alastair Bishop, who will join existing co-manager Poppy Allonby to run both funds. Batchelor will continue on the funds until the end of the year.

“Robin Batchelor informed us earlier this year that he wished to leave the fund management industry after a 20-year career on the Natural Resources Equity team. He would like to pursue other business interests and will leave BlackRock and the industry at the end of this year,” says a note to clients from BlackRock.

Bishop joined BlackRock’s resources team in 2010, focusing on the energy sector. Allonby has been co-manager of the fund since 2002.

Morningstar has placed the fund under review following the news. The World Energy fund previously had a silver rating, while the New Energy fund had a bronze rating.

“We believe Batchelor brought a wealth of experience to both strategies and his impending retirement is undoubtedly a loss to the team, particularly in the current challenging environment,” says Morningstar analyst Fatima Khizou.

BlackRock says the Natural Resources Equity team is well resourced. “[The team] is one of the largest investment managers of dedicated resource sector assets in the world (by AUM) and continues to be one of the best resourced and most experienced in its field. There are 19 people on the team, including experienced senior leadership,” says the note to clients.

The World Energy Fund has been third or fourth quartile over the past one, three and five years. It has delivered a 40 per cent loss in the past year, compared to a 34.1 per cent loss for the MSCI World Energy sector. Over three years it has returned annualised performance of -12.4 per cent compared to -7.5 per cent for the benchmark.

Batchelor joined BlackRock in 1996, working on gold and mining funds initially and then founded the energy funds business at the firm in 1999.

He previously rant he BlackRock New Energy investment trust but it was liquidated in 2014.