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Lazard Closes One Fund, Opens Another

Plus, Wasatch's new purchase, SEC's million-dollar distribution, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 09/01/2008

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.

Lazard Emerging Markets LZEMX will close its doors to new investors on Sept. 30, 2008. A strong track record coupled with the rise in popularity of emerging-market strategies has helped drive up the fund's assets under management from approximately $354.9 million at year-end 2002 to $7.6 billion as of July 2008.

On or near Emerging Markets' closing date, Lazard Asset Management will introduce Lazard Developing Markets. Unlike its established sibling which uses a value-oriented strategy, the new emerging-markets fund will subscribe to a relative-growth approach. Kevin O'Hare, who previously served as a comanager on Emerging Markets but was taken off it to prepare for this fund's launch, will comanage. Peter Gillespie, who has been with the firm for roughly a year, but has yet to manage mutual fund assets, will also serve as comanager. James Donald, the lead manager on Emerging Markets, will help oversee this fund, but will not run it day to day.

Wasatch to Acquire 1st Source Funds
Wasatch Advisors recently announced its parent company, WA Holdings, will purchase 1st Source Corporation Investment Advisors' lineup of three funds--the $688 million 1st Source Monogram Income Equity FMIEX, $110 million 1st Source Monogram Long/Short FMLSX, and the $91 million 1st Source Monogram Income FMEQX. As part of the deal, managers Ralph Shive of the Income Equity and Long/Short funds and Michael Shinnick of the Long/Short fund will join Wasatch as employees and will continue to oversee the funds. Manager Paul Gifford will continue to run the Income fund as a 1st Source employee. The transaction is expected to be completed by year-end.

SEC Makes Distribution to Putnam, Janus Investors
Nearly five years after the market-timing and short-term trading scandal rocked the fund industry, the SEC has announced that it will make the first batch of distributions to Putnam Investments Management and Janus Capital Management's investors who were harmed by the firms' misconduct. More than 600,000 affected Putnam investors will receive nearly $40 million and more than 325,000 affected Janus investors will receive more than $18 million. The SEC will ultimately distribute $150 million to Putnam investors and $100 million to Janus investors, which will be funded by the two fund shops.

Changes at Ailing John Hancock Funds
Daniel Cole has replaced comanagers Alan Norton and Henry Mehlman as skipper on JHancock Small Cap Equity SPVAX and JHancock Mid Cap Equity JCEAX after both funds posted uneven performance in recent years. Cole recently joined the funds' subadvisor MFC Global Asset Management after a stint comanaging Columbia Small Cap Growth II NSCGX since 2001. Prior to that he was a vice president and portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman Management Company.

New Shipping ETF Sets Sail
Claymore Securities launched a shipping ETF this week. Claymore/Delta Global Shipping ETF SEA seeks to track the performance of the Delta Global Shipping Index, which includes companies that derive the bulk of their revenue from seaborne transport of dry bulk goods, and the leasing or operating of tanker ships, container ships, and specialty-chemical ships. The latest portfolio includes 30 stocks and the majority of assets are invested Greece, the United States, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. The fund's expense ratio will be capped at 0.65% until Dec. 31, 2011.

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