BlackRock has stood by its head of European equities Nigel Bolton amid an insider dealing probe.
The Italian regulator Consob launched legal proceedings against Bolton (pictured) last week, accusing him of using non-public information to sell a 2.3% stake in oil services group Saipem last January the day before a major profit warning.
According to Consob, investors who bought the shares from BlackRock ended up losing more than €114.5 million. The regulator also accused BlackRock of failing to provide sufficient information relating to the trade.
A spokesperson for BlackRock told Wealth Manager: 'Our portfolio manager made the decision to sell Saipem shares based on a growing wave of negative publicly available information that was widely disseminated in the marketplace. It was a decision that was made as a fiduciary on behalf of our clients. Insider trading is abhorrent to BlackRock’s values, and we would never tolerate it.'
'The mere fact that shares were sold shortly before a profit warning is not evidence of insider trading, particularly when the information on which the trade was made was widely available in the marketplace. BlackRock conducted a thorough investigation and found there is no evidence to support the allegations.
'We believe we have fully cooperated with Consob, and we will continue to do so. We look forward to working with Consob to resolve this situation. None of our clients nor any of our funds will be affected by these proceedings.'
Bolton controls around £14 billion worth of assets at BlackRock.