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BlackRock Hires UBS’s Kemp in Push to Boost Stock Funds

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, hired Lawrence Kemp from UBS AG as it seeks to improve performance of its equity products.

Kemp, who was head of U.S. large-cap growth equity, will be a managing director and head of BlackRock’s fundamental large-cap growth team when he joins the firm Dec. 10, said Bobbie Collins, a spokeswoman for the New York-based firm. Kemp will replace Jeffrey Lindsey, who told BlackRock he is leaving in February after 10 years, Collins said.

BlackRock, which manages $3.67 trillion in assets, is trying to woo investors back into its active equity funds. The firm replaced the group that oversees investment products with five specialized units in August, in the most sweeping overhaul since its 2009 takeover of Barclays Global Investors. Clients pulled $12.7 billion from BlackRock’s active stock funds this year through Sept. 30.

“Our fundamental equity, I spoke about that in the last few quarters, and it has been a disappointment,” said BlackRock’s Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink during a conference call with investors and analysts last month. “Our performance issues are concentrated in a handful of teams, mostly in the United States.”

Kemp, who will be based in New York, is scheduled to oversee the $4.9 billion BlackRock Capital Appreciation Fund, the $73 million BlackRock Focus Growth Fund and Fundamental Large Cap Growth Portfolios, including sub-advised and institutional portfolios, starting Jan 1., according to Collins. The BlackRock Capital Appreciation Fund returned 11 percent this year, behind 64 percent of peers, and the Focus Growth Fund has returned 11 percent in the retail share class, trailing 54 percent of rivals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Kemp will report to Chris Leavy, who took over the responsibility for BlackRock’s large-cap portfolios from Robert Doll, the firm’s former equity chief investment strategist, who said in June he was leaving.

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