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Janus Worldwide Fires Manager

Plus, AllianceBernstein slashes more jobs, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 04/06/2009

Morningstar's fund analysts cover 2,000 mutual funds. Their full analyst reports, including Stewardship Grades, are available in Morningstar Principia Mutual Funds Advanced and Morningstar Advisor Workstation Office Edition.

After a rocky five-year tenure, Janus Worldwide's JAWWX Jason Yee has gotten the boot. The world-stock fund struggled under Yee, losing 5.7% per year since he took over in July 2004 and trailing 80% of its peers. Most recently, Yee's penchant for beaten-down companies haunted the fund as some bad calls on financials--including an ill-timed move into beleaguered AIG in mid-2008--and a slew of underperforming tech stocks hampered the fund. Poor performance triggered redemptions, and the fund's assets plunged to $1.6 billion, down from $4.7 billion three years ago.

Yee is also out at Janus Global Opportunities JGVAX, a much smaller world-stock fund he ran since its launch in mid-2001. Greg Kolb has comanaged that fund since mid-2005. Yee had fared better there: The fund's record during his eight-year reign lands in the category's top quartile.

Laurent Saltiel will replace Yee at Janus Worldwide. Saltiel has been an analyst at Janus for seven years and has run Janus Advisor International Equity JAIEX since its November 2006 inception, with good results in that relatively brief span. He previously covered tech and health-care stocks for RS Funds. Saltiel will likely take a more growth-oriented approach at Worldwide than Yee did, though he will be sensitive to valuations and will limit the fund's sector and country bets versus the MSCI World Index.

Kolb will now run Janus Global Opportunities solo. The impact here should be minimal because Kolb was already responsible for most of the day-to-day work.

More Heads Roll at AllianceBernstein
Another 237 employees have been laid off at AllianceBernstein as the firm continues cutting costs. The latest wave affected 31 members of the investment team, including analysts, portfolio managers, and research directors. Since December 2007, the number of investment professionals has dropped from 617 to 540, a 12% decline. The most recent casualties include Eric Hewitt, co-head of the consumer sector since 2007; Jeff Singer, CIO of the Canadian value investment policy group; senior growth team members Jim Russo and Thomas Zottner, comanagers of AllianceBernstein Small/Mid Cap Growth CHCLX; and Craig Ayers, part of the relative value team that runs AllianceBernstein Growth & Income CABDX.PAGEBREAK

Several analysts on the growth and value teams were also let go. After three rounds of layoffs during the past several months, the analyst ranks stand at 258 as of March 31, 2009, down from 308 in December 2007. Meanwhile, the firm recently shuttered its China office and laid off four analysts there, moving operations to the Hong Kong office.

The employee headcount now stands at 4,760, a 15% reduction since December 2007. The firm has been under steep pressure as assets have plunged during the market downturn.

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