BlackRock announces new BUI management team

A new portfolio management team will be leading BlackRock’s $314.9m utility and infrastructure trust four years after its creation.

New York-based BlackRock has reshuffled the team in charge of managing its closed-end Utility and Infrastructure Trust (BUI).

As of 31 December, the new team will include director Christopher Accettella and managing directors Tony DeSpirito, CFA Kyle McClements and CFA Bob Shearer, according to a BlackRock release. Accettella, DeSpirito and McClements are members of the Fundamental Equity (FE) platform within BlackRock's portfolio management group. Shearer is a member of the FE division of BlackRock's Alpha Strategies Group.

Accettella joined BlackRock in 2005, and is a trader responsible for executing derivatives and options trades. Prior to joining BlackRock he was an institutional sales trader with American Technology Research, a derivatives and programme trading specialist with Deutsche Asset Management, and a senior associate in the Pacific Basin Equity Group at Scudder Investments Singapore. 

DeSpirito is BlackRock's co-head of the equity dividend team and a portfolio manager for the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund. Prior to joining BlackRock, he was managing principal and portfolio manager at Pzena Investment Management where he was responsible as a member of the executive committee for a suite of investment portfolios. 

McClements began working with BlackRock in 2004 while part of State Street Research & Management (SSRM), which merged with BlackRock in 2005, and is currently a senior trader. While at SSRM, he was a vice president and senior derivatives strategist within the firm' quantitative equity group. 

Shearer is co-head of the equity dividend team and a portfolio manager for the Equity Dividend Fund, and he also manages BlackRock Natural Resources Trust. In 1997, Shearer began working with Merrill Lynch World Natural Resources Portfolio, which merged with BlackRock in 2006. Prior to these positions, he worked for David L Babson & Company as a vice president and assistant fund manager. 

As of 16 December, the company reported that total managed assets in the BUI portfolio were valued at $314.9 million. Just over 71 percent of total market value comes from investments in the US, and 52.4 percent of investments are into utilities, with energy (19.9 percent) and transport following (14.8 percent). 

The five largest allotments in the BUI portfolio include NextEra Energy, CMS Energy, Dominion Resources, Duke Energy Group and American Water Works. Large cap investments account for 60.8 percent of the portfolio, mid cap for 32 percent, cash and derivatives for 4.4 percent and small cap for 2.9 percent. 

Unlike other more mature closed-end infrastructure funds such as Reaves Utility Income Fund (UTG) and Cohen & Steers Infrastructure Fund (UTF), BlackRock's BUI trust is unleveraged and uses an option overlay strategy in order to enhance returns, according to a recent post on SeekingAlpha.