BlackRock Multi-Sector Income Trust has fired one of its fund managers for conflict-of-interest after he reportedly loaned a whopping $75million to an indie film studio that cast his daughter in one of their movies.
Randy Robertson was let go by BlackRock earlier this week in light of the claims, leaving the fund scrambling to take ‘vigorous steps to recover value for shareholders’ and ‘enhance the level of oversight and due diligence related to these type of transactions’.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Robertson loaned the $75million sum to Aviron Pictures in 2017. Two years later, the film studio released the romantic drama, After, starring the fund manager’s actress daughter, Rebecca Lee Robertson.
At the time of the loan, BlackRock Multi-Sector Income Trust had $750 million in assets, so it appeared ‘an unusually aggressive bet’ to funnel 10% of that sum into Aviron, a ‘small, privately held movie company’.
The Wall Street Journal reports that ‘investors should always be wary whenever a fund puts more than a few percentage points of its assets into an obscure investment’.
Aviron is owned by William Sadleir, a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and a deputy secretary of state who later moved into the indie movie business.
Randy Robertson (left) has been fired by BlackRock for a conflict-of-interest after he reportedly loaned $75 million of investor money to film studio Aviron, later cast his daughter in one of their films. Robertson is pictured left with Aviron’s owner, William Sadleir
Rebecca Lee Robertson, the daughter of Randy Robertson, attends the premiere of her movie After, produced by Aviron Pictures
He claims Robertson brought his actress daughter to an initial BlackRock/ Aviron business meeting back in 2015.
Sadleir says that Aviron ‘subsequently arranged for Rebecca Lee Robertson to meet with casting agents and managers’.
‘Anytime there was an opportunity to put her in a movie, we considered her,’ he stated.
Several years later, Sadleir says that Robertson agreed to release $10 million in financing for the romantic drama, After, when he learned that Aviron had finally cast his daughter in a film.
After, released last year, has a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was panned by Variety as ‘an innocuous teen pulp soap opera
‘I can’t tell you that he made the decision purely because his daughter was in the movie, but I can tell you BlackRock approved that financing after turning down the opportunity to finance several earlier movies,’ Sadleir said.
After, released last year, has a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was panned by Variety as ‘an innocuous teen pulp soap opera’.
BlackRock Multi-Sector Income Trust had $750 million in assets when it invested $75 million into Aviron Pictures
Aviron is ‘small, privately held movie company’ owned by William Sadleir
The Wall Street Journal describes BlackRock’s $75million investment in Aviron as ‘failed bet’.
The fund was reportedly ‘outperformed by more than 99% of its peers over the past year’ because of the money loaned to the film studio.
BlackRock has launched legal proceedings against Aviron and its owner, William Sadleir.
Robertson, who worked with BlackRock since 2009, has not made any comment.
Rebecca Lee Robertson is pictured in another film. She did not respond to The Wall Street Journal’s request for comment