BlackRock Hires Chris Jones From JPMorgan To Be CIO For Stocks

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BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has chosen JPMorgan Asset Management Chief Investment Officer Christopher Jones to head up its Americas stocks business. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that he will be going over to BlackRock in a few months and become chief of the America’s most active stock unit. The site attributes the information to an internal memo BlackRock sent to its employees today.

Jones reportedly replaces Chris Leavy, who has been on medical leave since last June. In addition, he will work with Nigel Bolton, who’s head of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK)’s European stock team. Together, they will co-head the firm’s fundamental equity division.

BlackRock seeks to improve performance

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) CEO Laurence D. Fink has been focusing on improving the performance of their funds. The goal is to attract some big assets as equities continue their five-year rally. Leavy had been pushing to replace managers and focus more on returns. Thanks to his views, the firm’s active U.S. funds outperformed 54% of competing firms last year.

But even though BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK)’s overall performance has picked up, its active stock funds in the U.S. continue to trail behind 62% of similar managed funds on an annualized basis over the last three years. Clients pulled approximately $15.4 billion from the firm’s active funds last year but put $74 billion into BlackRock’s exchange-traded funds.

What Jones did at JPMorgan Chase

While at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Jones’ strategies posted strong returns. He ran the investment bank’s $15.5 billion Large Cap Growth fund and also its smaller $1.2 billion Small Cap Growth Fund. The large cap returned 23% each year over the last five years. That actually beat 82% of managed funds which were similar to it. Data indicates that the small cap fund delivered 29% returns during the same time period, placing that fund ahead of 83% of similar funds.

Management said in the memo about Jones’ hiring that they see opportunities to steal market share in many parts of the actively management investment business over the next few years. Shares of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) rose more than 1% in afternoon trading.

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