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Nuveen Hires Former BlackRock Strategist Robert Doll

Nuveen's Incoming Chief Equity Strategist Robert Doll
Nuveen Asset Management's incoming Chief Equity Strategist Robert Doll will offer a weekly markets commentary, just as he did at BlackRock, and continue his annual list of 10 market predictions, he said in a telephone interview today. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Nuveen Asset Management hired Robert Doll as chief equity strategist, less than six months after he announced his retirement from the same role at BlackRock Inc., where he was known for his bullish stance on stocks.

Doll, 58, will also serve as senior portfolio manager directly overseeing about $1.5 billion and reporting to David A. Chalupnik, Nuveen’s head of equities, the Chicago-based company said today in a statement. Doll will offer a weekly markets commentary, just as he did at BlackRock, and continue his annual list of 10 market predictions, he said in a telephone interview today.

“We have been building out our multi-asset-class business, and bringing in Bob is the next step in enhancing that brand,” Bill Huffman, president of Nuveen Asset Management, said today in an interview from New York.

Nuveen, known principally for its funds that invest in municipal bonds, has expanded its stock and taxable bond strategies in recent years. It acquired U.S. Bancorp’s FAF Advisors, owners of the First American family of mutual funds, in 2010. Doll, who has worked in the asset-management industry for 34 years, retired June 30 to devote more time to his family, faith and philanthropic interests, Bobbie Collins, a BlackRock spokeswoman, said at the time.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced a shakeup of its investment unit on Aug. 1 aimed at reversing withdrawals from actively-managed products. Doll said there was “no difference of opinion” between himself and BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink that led to his departure.

‘Better Fit’

“BlackRock has gotten very big very quickly,” Doll said. “I’ve chosen to join a smaller firm that’s a better fit for me.”

Under Doll, BlackRock’s Large Cap Growth Fund beat 59 percent of its peers with a 12 percent average annual return over the three years ended June 3, the day before Doll announced his retirement. The Large Cap Core Fund returned an annual 9.1 percent and trailed 83 percent of peers over the same three-year period. The firm’s Large Cap Value Fund had an average annual return of 6.4 percent over those three years, falling behind 95 percent of peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Doll was president and chief investment officer of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers before BlackRock bought the unit in 2006.

He graduated from Lehigh University and received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Doll serves on boards for groups including the Word of Life Fellowship and Kingdom Advisors, according to their websites.

“This is an attempt to take the good things happening at Nuveen and turbo-charge that,” Doll said.

Nuveen Asset Management oversaw about $117 billion as of Sept. 30, according to the company. Its parent, Nuveen Investments, is a unit of Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC.

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