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NEW YORK, June 13 (Reuters) - One of BlackRock Inc's longest-serving mutual fund managers, who is responsible for tens of billions of dollars in investors' money, is stepping down.
Dennis Stattman, who has run what is now BlackRock's largest mutual fund for more than 28 years, will retire from his role at the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund in August, according to an internal memo on Tuesday.
The fund currently has $40 billion in assets under management.
Stattman, who turns 66 this month, is "confident that the time is right to complete a carefully planned process of transitioning management of Global Allocation to the team he built," according to the memo signed by two top BlackRock executives, Rob Kapito and Rich Kushel.
A BlackRock spokesman said Stattman was not available to comment.
The retirement is the latest sign of a changing order at BlackRock, a bellwether for an industry challenged by investors' flight to lower-cost products. The world's largest asset manager, BlackRock also offers relatively low-fee index funds through its iShares brand.
The New York-based company has also been handing over more responsibilities from its traditionalist stockpickers to its data-crunching quantitative investors in a bid to boost performance. In March, the company announced a formal restructuring that cut fees and some portfolio managers.
Merrill Lynch & Co started the Global Allocation Fund in 1989 as the market was still clawing back from losses in the 1987 Black Monday market crash. Merrill sold that investment management business to BlackRock, then a much smaller company, in 2006.
The fund is a "multi-asset" portfolio of stocks, bonds and other investments, pitched as offering strong returns and protection from market swings.
Relatively low-cost institutional shares of the fund have returned nearly 10 percent a year since the fund started 28 years ago, beating most of its few surviving rivals.
During the financial crisis in 2008, the fund beat most its peers and managed to take in new cash from investors. Yet Global Allocation has recorded about $25 billion in withdrawals since 2012, according to Thomson Reuters' Lipper research unit.
The fund's other four portfolio managers - Dan Chamby, Russ Koesterich, David Clayton and Kent Hogshire - will all continue in their roles. Chamby is a veteran at the fund's helm, while Koesterich, Clayton and Hogshire were elevated to portfolio manager roles earlier this year.
They will continue to manage a sprawling team of more than 50 people who focus on the fund, including analysts, traders and marketing personnel.
Stattman will continue as an adviser to the asset manager's Multi-Asset Strategies Group, which oversees the fund, according to the memo. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Tom Brown)