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Top International Manager Leaves Oppenheimer for TCW

Plus, Putnam's fixed-income chief resigns, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 03/07/2011

Rohit Sah, manager of Oppenheimer International Small Company OSMAX has joined TCW. Sah was a nominee for the Morningstar 2010 International-Stock Manager of the Year award.

Sah launched TCW International Small Cap for his new firm on Feb. 28. It will use a strategy similar to the one he employed at Oppenheimer. It will normally invest in companies located outside of the United States with market capitalizations of $6 billion or less at the time of purchase.

The new fund brings TCW's foreign equity lineup to two funds. Mark Madden, also a former Oppenheimer manager, runs TCW Emerging Markets Equities TGMIX, which was launched in 2009. (Madden's performance on Oppenheimer Developing Markets ODMAX from August 2004 through April 2007 was in line with peers.)

This is disappointing loss for Oppenheimer investors, but not a blow to their other strategies. Sah's process was always a bit different in his use of macro calls as well as his tendency to take on shorter-term positions.

Since Sah didn't have a comanager or dedicated analyst, Oppenheimer International Small Company will return to a team-managed approach. From late 1999 through March 2003, Sah and the team's veteran managers (George Evans, Rajeev Bhaman and Frank Jennings) ran separate sleeves of this portfolio. This time around, Evans and Dominic Freud, who has managed Oppenheimer Quest International Value QIVAX since 2005, will each run separate sleeves and serve as lead managers during this transition. Evans and Freud will determine how to apportion the sleeves. The other managers include Rajeev Bhaman of Oppenheimer Global OPPAX, Frank Jennings of Oppenheimer Global Opportunities OPGIX, Randall Dishmon of Oppenheimer Global Value GLVAX, Justin Leverenz of Oppenheimer Developing Markets ODMAX, and Shanquan Li of Oppenheimer Gold and Special Minerals OPGSX.

Oppenheimer plans to keep the fund closed to new investors.

Putnam's Fixed-Income Chief Resigns
Putnam Investments announced the resignation of Robert Bloemker, head of its fixed-income operations, on Feb. 28. Bloemker helped manage nearly $60 billion, including overseeing the flagship Putnam Diversified Income PDINX and others such as Putnam Absolute Return 100 PARTX and Putnam Absolute Return 300 PTRNX.

Putnam says the strain of a bicoastal commute between its Boston headquarters and Bloemker's home in San Francisco was the reason for the departure.

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