Plus, Fidelity launches distinctive muni funds, PIMCO cuts fees, and more.
Artisan International Value
Managers David Samra and Daniel O'Keefe, Morningstar's 2008 International-Stock Managers of the Year, ply a low-turnover, value-oriented strategy with a compact portfolio of 40 to 50 stocks. The fund is the category's second-best performer since its September 2002 inception.
Fidelity Launches Defined-Maturity Funds
In May, Fidelity will launch four defined-maturity municipal-bond funds, the first open-end municipal funds of their kind. The funds will be named Fidelity Municipal Income 2015, Fidelity Municipal Income 2017, Fidelity Municipal Income 2019, and Fidelity Municipal Income 2021. IShares offers some muni ETFs with similar structures and American Century has some taxable-bond funds that invest in zero-coupon Treasuries.
Many retail investors already buy muni bonds directly with some future liability in mind (if investors have an expense in five years, they buy a five-year bond). The challenge with that approach is that it can be very expensive to buy bonds in smaller dollar amounts, and it's also difficult to get good diversification.
The funds will be run by a team of some of the best muni managers around, led by Mark Sommer. Jamie Pagliocco and Kevin Ramundo will serve as comanagers. The Fidelity funds will clock in with expense ratios of 0.40%, just a bit more expensive than the iShares ETFs.
Fidelity also announced the launch of Fidelity Conservative Income Bond fund, which will be managed by James K. "Kim" Miller. The fund will invest at least 80% of assets in U.S. money market and investment-grade bonds. Miller joined Fidelity in 1991 as a muni credit analyst, became a bond trader in 1998, and then served as a taxable-credit analyst and manager of muni money market funds.
PIMCO Cuts Management Fees
PIMCO announced management-fee cuts to a number of funds in its lineup. The move follows the firm's move to bring distribution in-house (it had formerly been handled by parent Allianz), which will be effective April 11. The firm says handling its own distribution led to the fee cuts.
The reductions affect the A, B, C, D, and R shares of 18 funds in PIMCO's lineup and range from 5 to 15 basis points. Fees at PIMCO Total Return
The fee cuts will be in place May 1.
Janus Worldwide Gets New Skipper
Northern Trust's George Maris is taking over as portfolio manager of the $2.5 billion world-stock fund Janus Worldwide
Maris, who doesn't make big stock or sector bets, is less bold than the traditional Janus manager. He ran both retail and institutional accounts at Northern Trust, and previously served as a portfolio manager at Columbia and Putnam. He posted decent returns versus large-blend and foreign large-blend peers in his few years running funds, including Northern Institutional Large Cap Equity
Maris takes over for Brent Lynn, Morningstar's 2010 International-Stock Manager of the Year, who temporarily stepped in to run the fund when Laurent Saltiel left Janus for another firm after just 13 months at the helm. Lynn's primary responsibility is the top-performing Janus Overseas
Senator Harkin Weighs in on 401(k)s
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, recently proposed some changes to the 401(k) retirement system. Most significantly, he suggested that employees' retirement contributions "need to be pooled to take advantage of economies of scale and managed by professionals who carefully select and monitor every investment in a diversified portfolio." The full text of his speech is here.
Harkin, who made the suggestions during an address at the National Institute on Retirement Security annual policy conference, is also holding a series of hearings on retirement.
Fidelity Manager Changes
Fidelity recently announced a series of manager changes. Peter Saperstone will no longer run Fidelity Fifty
Steve DuFour, who has had challenging tenures on prior funds including Fidelity Equity Income II
A multimanager team will replace Saperstone on Advisor Mid Cap. Monty Kori, Pierre Sorel, Douglas Simmons, Shadman Riaz, Gordon Scott, Michael Valentine, Patrick Venanzi, and Samuel Wald have been named to the fund.
Saperstone is joining the Stock Selector Large Cap Group at Fidelity, which is headed by Bob Stansky. He'll focus on consumer discretionary stocks and will also join the management teams of several funds, including Fidelity Balanced
PIMCO Deepens Global Equity Bench
PIMCO has just hired a number of investment professionals to bulk up its actively managed equities team. The new hires are Singapore-based equity trader Tim Bruenjes; London-based emerging-markets analysts Vlad Cara and Ewan Markson-Brown; and Nate Velarde, an analyst on the Pathfinder deep-value team in London.
They join Niall Hession, an equity trader, and Amit Mehta, a senior emerging-markets-equities analyst, both of whom landed at PIMCO's London office in February. Eden Simmer, a New York-based equities trader, joined the firm in October 2010.
Mississippi Students Beat FINRA to the Punch with New SRO
Students in the Business Law Society at the University of Mississippi have created a self-regulatory organization for independent investment advisors. It will be called the Self-Regulatory Organization for Independent Investment Advisors and will be based in Oxford, Miss.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had recommended the creation of an SRO to monitor investment advisors. The Business Law Society, founded by securities law professor Mercer Bullard, positions the SRO as an alternative to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which has broker-dealer oversight and is poised to do the same for advisors.
PIMCO Total Return's Government Stake at Zero
Check out Morningstar director of fixed-income research Eric Jacobson's take on PIMCO Total Return's move away from government securities.
Ryan Wilsey will begin serving as comanager of Parnassus Small-Cap
The $1.9 billion Invesco Real Estate
David Readerman has joined Forward Management, where he'll be lead portfolio manager for a global go-anywhere strategy he's helping develop. He's also been named a manager of Forward Small Cap Equity
On April 15, DWS Emerging Markets Fixed Income
James Trowbridge is no longer on the management team of VALIC Company I Global Real Estate
John Damian is no longer on the management team of VALIC Company I Value
Barry Ogden is no longer on the management team of Ivy Capital Appreciation
Paul Szczygiel joined the management team of Columbia Small Cap Core
Laudus Mondrian International Fixed Income
Michael Roberge is no longer on the management team of MFS Total Return
Joseh MacDougall is no longer the manager of MFS Technology
Katrina Mead is no longer a manager of MFS Research
On May 1, John Addeo will leave the management team of MFS Strategic Income
On May 16, Nuveen Quantitative Large Cap Core
Schroder U.S. Small and Mid Cap Opportunities
Royce filed to launch a consultant share class of Royce Global Value