BlackRock’s Japan equity star steps down

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Citywire A-rated manager Shin Murakami has left BlackRock with co-manager Kei Fujibe assuming full control of the firm’s small and mid-cap Japan equity fund.

Murakami had been the sole lead on the BGF Japan Small & MidCap Opportunities fund since June 2008 before Fujibe was added to the management team in January 2012.

It is understood Murakami officially left the firm’s Tokyo office at the beginning of 2013. This is with Fujibe assuming sole responsibility for the 17.3 billion yen ($118 million) strategy.

The departure of Murakami is the latest movement among Japanese equity fund managers, with Syz & Co. earlier this month revealing an overhaul for its Japanese strategies.

Murakami joined BlackRock from DIAM Asset Management in December 2007, where he held the role of senior fund manager during his eight years with the company.

According to the most recent available fact sheet, the BGF Japan Small & MidCap Opportunities fund is primarily invested in industrials (22%) and consumer discretionary stocks (18%). Plastics products manufacturer Enplas is currently the largest single position.

The BGF Japan Small & MidCap Opportunities fund returned 20.07% in the three years to the end of January 2013. This compares to its Citywire benchmark, the Tokyo SE 2nd Section CR, which rose 30.78% over this period.