BlackRock’s McKenna Starts Hedge Fund With $270 Million

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BlackRock Inc. has started an event-driven hedge fund one year after hiring Harvard Management Co.’s Mark McKenna to run the strategy.

Global Event Partners, which seeks to profit from corporate events such as takeovers, divestitures and management changes, began trading in June and had $270 million in assets, according to a July investor presentation viewed by Bloomberg. BlackRock hired McKenna in June 2014 and was expecting to start the fund last year, the company said in a memo at the time.

BlackRock, led by Chief Executive Officer Laurence D. Fink, is expanding its alternative-investment business as it seeks to bring in more fee revenue and meet demand from investors that want less correlation to stocks and bonds. As part of the expansion, the New York-based firm in 2013 started a long-short credit fund managed by Dave Trucano.

Ed Sweeney, a spokesman for BlackRock, declined to comment.

Hedge funds accounted for $31 billion of the firm’s $4.72 trillion in assets as of June 30. BlackRock has historically expanded such offerings through acquisitions, adding private equity with its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co.’s investment unit in 2006 and a hedge fund-of-funds business from Quellos Group in 2007.

McKenna, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine force, co-founded and ran Harvard Management Co.’s event-driven strategy after joining the endowment in 2009. He also spent six years at hedge-fund firm Caxton Associates and was a vice president in mergers and acquisitions at Citigroup Inc.

The event-driven fund was down about 3.9 percent as of the second quarter, according to the presentation. It will generally invest 80 percent of capital in stocks and the rest in credit. It will charge a 1.5 percent management fee and the firm can take 20 percent of profits without meeting a return hurdle.

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