Two UK smaller companies managers step down

Last week brought the announcements of two key departures in the UK Smaller Companies sector after a week of multi-manager moves and fixed- income hirings.

Richard Plackett, the manager of BlackRock UK Smaller Companies, and Simon Bailey, the manager of M&G Smaller Companies, are stepping down from their funds.

Plackett has handed the management of BlackRock UK Smaller Companies to Ralph Cox, who has run it alongside Plackett since August 2007 and has also worked with him on the BlackRock UK Emerging Companies hedge fund since its launch in 2004. Plackett will continue his other roles within the company. (article continues below)

Bailey will step down in November and hand over the management of the £169m fund to Louise Nash, who joined M&G from Cazenove in 2008. Like Plackett, Bailey will remain with M&G in a different role within the global equities team.

The announcements coincide with a wave of hiring in multi-manager and fixed income, both of which have proved highly popular since the financial crisis.

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and BlackRock both made key bond appointments as the European Fund and Asset Management Association revealed last week that fixed- income inflows had risen to €23 billion (£20 billion) in August.

In the most senior appointment in the multi-manager arena, Aberdeen Asset Management promoted Graham Duce and Aidan Kearney as co-heads of multi-manager investments, following the departure of Michiel Timmerman.

Their new remit will cover funds of hedge funds as well as retail vehicles.