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Alpine Woods Settles IPO Case

Plus, Missouri drops 529 fees, Transamerica shuffles subadvisors, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 02/14/2011

Alpine Woods Capital Investors, LLC and its chief executive officer, Samuel Lieber, reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding trading of initial public offering shares in two of the firm's smallest funds. Alpine agreed to retain its compliance consultant (which the firm hired before the SEC investigation began) and pay a penalty of $650,000. Samuel Lieber will pay $65,000.

The SEC alleged that between Feb. 1, 2006, and Jan. 31, 2008, Alpine Dynamic Financial Services ADFSX and Alpine Dynamic Innovators ADINX took part in a disproportionate number of IPOs (relative to the firm's 11 other open-end funds) and quickly sold some or all of the shares within three days of purchase without disclosing to either the fund board or investors how these trades impacted performance. Further, the SEC alleged that Alpine's policies and procedures didn't prevent the disproportionate allocation of IPO shares, and that the firm's compliance program didn't have enough resources in place to monitor the activities. During the two-year period in question, the chief compliance officer also served as the chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and chief administrative officer.

Missouri Drops 529 Fees
Missouri's MOST 529 college savings plan is getting cheaper, according to an announcement from State Treasurer Clint Zweiful. Costs for the direct-sold plan will range from 0.29% to 0.38% for age-based and index options, down from 0.55%. Actively managed portfolios' costs will range from 0.53% to 0.60%, down from 0.87% to 1.58%. For the advisor-sold plan, no account owner's fees will increase and 27% of them will see fees decrease.

These cuts make the direct-sold plan, which earns an average Morningstar analyst rating, more competitive on the fee front with Vanguard's direct-sold plans in New York and Nevada, which are the industry's cheapest.

Also, Missouri retained Upromise as its plan manager for the next five years and announced that DWS Investments will be the exclusive distributor of its advisor-sold MOST 529 plan.

Transamerica Subadvisor Shuffle
Transamerica recently announced a number of subadvisor and fund name changes that will take place at the end of next month.

JPMorgan and BlackRock will become the subadvisors of Transamerica Balanced IBALX and the fund's name will change to Transamerica Multi-Managed Balanced.

Wellington Management will become the sole subadvisor of Transamerica Diversified Equity TADAX. The fund's name will change to Transamerica WMC Diversified Equity.

Systematic Financial Management will become the sole subadvisor of Transamerica Small/Mid Cap Value IIVAX. The fund's name will change to Transamerica Systematic Small/Mid Cap Value.

Finally, Morgan Stanley will become the sole subadvisor of Transamerica Focus IALAX and Transamerica Growth Opportunities ITSAX. The funds' names will change to Transamerica Morgan Stanley Capital Growth and Transamerica Morgan Stanley Growth Opportunities, respectively.PAGEBREAK

Currency Trading Cost Concerns Heat Up
The Wall Street Journal reported that some large investment firms, including BlackRock and Fidelity, have raised concerns that they have been overcharged for currency trades by custodian banks. These banks facilitate U.S. investments in foreign firms, converting dollars into local currencies at the time of purchase and facilitating the reverse upon sale of the security. According to the Journal, attorneys general in three states have filed or are joining lawsuits against custodian banks. California filed suit against State Street Corporation STT and Virginia joined a suit against Bank of New York Mellon BK. The state of Florida has indicated it will join a suit against Bank of New York Mellon.

Old Mutual Asset Management Names New CEO
Old Mutual announced this week that Peter L. Bain has been named president and chief executive officer of Old Mutual Asset Management. Previously, Bain served in a senior executive role at Legg Mason.

Invesco filed plans to launch a new emerging-markets equity fund. Invesco Emerging Markets Equity Fund will invest in companies with a market capitalization greater than $1 billion. This new fund will be the firm's second emerging-markets equity fund if shareholders approve the merger between Invesco Van Kampen Emerging Markets MSRAX and Invesco Developing Markets GTDDX.

Turner Funds is bringing three new alternative funds. Turner Market Neutral will be run by Matthew Glaser. Turner Medical Sciences Long/Short will be managed by Vijay Shankaran. Turner Titan, a global long-short fund with a focus on large caps, will be managed by Christopher Baggini.

Forward Management, LLC will launch the Forward Commodity Long/Short Strategy fund.

Greenwich Advisors India Select GINAX will liquidate on Feb. 25, 2011.

Noman Ali is no longer on the management team of John Hancock Global Agribusiness JCWAX, John Hancock Global Infrastructure JBRAX, or John Hancock Global Timber JWDAX.

Western Asset Global High Yield SIHYX will liquidate on April 15, 2011.

Timothy Porter joined William Ferer and Ronald Sorenson on the management team of Reaves Select Research RSRAX.

Westcore Blue Chip Value will merge into Westcore Blue Chip WIMVX on March 28, 2011.

Stephen Komon is no longer a manager for Natixis Westpeak ActiveBeta Equity WABAX. The fund is now managed by Khalid Ghayur and Stephen Platt.

ING Wells Fargo Health Care IEHTX will change its subadvisor to BlackRock Advisors from Wells Capital Management on April 29, 2011. The fund's name will change to ING BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities.

On Feb. 16, 2011, Madison Mosaic Small/Mid-Cap MADMX will close to new accounts and most new investments in existing accounts.

Legg Mason ClearBridge Diversified Large Cap Growth CFLGX will merge into Legg Mason ClearBridge Appreciation SHAPX in June 2011.

AllianceBernstein Diversified Yield AGSAX has changed its name to AllianceBernstein Unconstrained Bond.

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