July 31, 2017

Organizational Changes at BlackRock

Plan sponsors may wish to consider whether this investment news has any implications for the investment options available within their plans. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada purchases units of the fund listed below, which is established as a segregated fund in accordance with the Insurance Companies Act (Canada).

In March 2017, BlackRock announced that Travis Cooke, Head of Scientific Active Equities (SAE) North America Portfolio Management replaced Vincent Roy as Portfolio Manager on the Active Canadian Equity (ACE) strategy. This change impacts the following funds available on Sun Life's Core investment platform:

  • BlackRock Active Canadian Equity Segregated Fund

Travis Cooke now manages the ACE strategy out of San Francisco as part of an ongoing centralization of SAE. Mr. Roy assumed a role as a product specialist for ACE and the other SAE strategies in Canada.

This change in leadership of the strategy comes on the heels of significant changes to the entire active equity management structure at BlackRock under recently appointed Global Head of Active Equities, Mark Wiseman.

SunINsight Watch List
We believe the quantitative nature of the ACE strategy partially mitigates the impact of the portfolio manager change. ACE idea generation was already centralized within the SAE team based in San Francisco and the team and process will not change. The performance of the ACE strategy has disappointed in recent years and it is unclear whether idea generation or portfolio construction has been the primary issue. Mr. Roy did have discretion to include or exclude the various ideas in the Canadian model and we will need to gain comfort with how Mr. Cooke might influence portfolio construction going forward. The fund has been added to the SunINsight Watch List (in the Additional Monitoring category), in light of this change.

Please contact your Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services representative.