We have decided to retain our A Rating on the BlackRock GF European Special Situations fund.

The fund's current manager, Mr Constantis, will be relinquishing his management responsibilities of this fund at the beginning of January 2021 to focus on his long/short strategy. From this point, the fund will be managed by Stefan Gries, an experienced investor in his own right, who is also the co-manager of the BlackRock European Absolute Alpha fund, which has an A rating in our Academy of funds. We believe Mr Gries, who is a fellow colleague of Mr Constantis, will run this fund just as capably and with a similar investment philosophy to the current manager; both are patient and invest with high conviction in what can be a relatively concentrated portfolio of growth companies. Harnessing the resources of Blackrock's large European investment team, Mr Gries also seeks to make investments in companies which have consistent records of value creation and strong free cash flow generation. As a result, our conviction in the fund's rating remains strong and is unchanged as it reflects our view of the impending successor and the current manager, who will continue to manage this fund until the end of this year.

However, we have taken the decision to lower our AAA rating on the BlackRock European Dynamic fund to an A rating.

BlackRock have announced that the fund's long standing lead manager, Alister Hibbert, will be relinquishing his portfolio management responsibilities on this fund to concentrate on other responsibilities at the firm. From the start of January 2021, the fund will be solely managed by Giles Rothbarth, who has worked closely with Mr Hibbert for several years and since 2019, co-managed this fund. We think Mr Rothbarth is a skilled investor who has been well primed for the fund's succession. His temperament is suited to the demands of the mandate and we believe the manager makes good use of the resources available to him, namely, BlackRock's highly regarded European Equity team. That said, we have lowered our rating to reflect the forthcoming change of management, as being solely responsible for such a large body of assets can be challenging for any fund manager and indeed, is a new addition to Mr Rothbarth's resume.