This docket consolidates the Clancy, Foote, Fox and Davidson subadviser cases against BlackRock in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In general terms, these cases allege that BlackRock is charging investment advisory fees that are significantly higher than the fees it charges for the same or similar subadvisory services to other mutual funds.
As an example, the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund paid an effective investment advisory fee rate of 66 basis points (0.66%) in 2013. At the same time, BlackRock provided subadvisory services to third-party mutual funds (using the same investment strategy) at between 32 and 44 basis points (0.32%-0.44%), or 50-106% less than what it was charging its own funds.
A second example is the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund, which paid an effective advisory fee rate of 54 basis points (0.54%) in 2013. During the same period, BlackRock charged between 27.5 and 35 basis points (0.275%-0.35%) for subadvisory services to third-party funds with the same investment objectives, or 54%-96% less than what it was charging its own funds.
The plaintiffs filed their consolidated complaint on May 27, 2014, and the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case on June 26, 2014. The plaintiffs filed an opposition brief on July 25, 2014, and BlackRock filed its reply brief on August 11, 2014.
On March 27, 2015, the Court issued an opinion denying the BlackRock motion to dismiss. The Court determined that the plaintiffs have pled sufficient facts about the advisory fees paid to BlackRock--and their relationship to the services rendered--to present a plausible claim that the fees are disproportionately large.
The consolidated case is now in discovery.