Plus, PIMCO's new fund, Morgan Stanley's mortgage-bond team shakeup, and more.
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.
AllianceBernstein has announced significant changes at its growth funds.
The nearly $1 billion in assets large-growth offering AllianceBernstein Growth will become an analyst-driven fund focused on domestic growth stocks. The firm's sector analysts will recommend picks for the portfolio that will be reviewed by a portfolio oversight group including Lisa Shalett, the firm's global head of growth equities; Vadim Zlotnikov, CIO of growth equities; Scott Wallace, a senior member of the firm's large-cap growth team that runs AllianceBernstein Large Cap Growth
The $560 million AllianceBernstein Mid-Cap Growth will become a less aggressive small- and mid-cap growth fund and will change its name to AllianceBernstein Small/Mid Cap Growth. The firm's small/mid-cap growth team, which also runs AllianceBernstein Small Cap Growth
Wood will still have a vehicle for her potent mix of macro and micro investing, though. The firm will give her the $1.3 billion in assets AllianceBernstein Global Technology and turn it into a wide-ranging fund called AllianceBernstein Global Thematic Growth. Instead of keeping at least 80% of the fund's net assets in tech companies, the fund will use Wood's combination of top-down thematic research and fundamental analysis to invest opportunistically across sectors and regions. The fund will invest in 60 to 80 companies and will use the MSCI All Country Index as its benchmark. It will focus on companies fostering and benefiting from technological change. Wood will be joined by former Mid Cap Growth team member Amy Raskin, as well as the firm's former Japan analyst Stephen Tong; director of global economic research on fixed income Joseph Carson; and Shalett; and Zlotnikov. The $100 million in AllianceBernstein Global Health Care also will merge with Global Thematic Growth, largely because the firm has decided that it is hard for investors to achieve good results with sector funds. Global Health Care's longtime manager, Norman Fidel, also is retiring.
The AllianceBernstein Global Research Growth
Last but not least, the firm will allow its global and international funds to go beyond traditional currency hedging. The funds will be able to make small active currency bets in the future. The managers will be able to take long and short positions in currencies and invest in currency-related derivatives, according to filings.
PIMCO to Launch Emerging-Markets Stock Fund
PIMCO has filed plans with the SEC to launch its first emerging-markets stock fund. PIMCO EM Fundamental IndexPLUS Total Return will track the Research Affiliates Fundamental Index (RAFI) Emerging Markets Index which, unlike traditional market-cap-weighted indexes, weights companies according to fundamental metrics such as sales, book values, cash flows, and dividends. The fund will get exposure to the Research Affiliates index by investing a portion of its assets in total return swaps. Bill Gross will run the remainder of the assets using an approach similar to PIMCO Total Return's
Shakeup at Morgan Stanley Bond Fund
Following its recent mortgage-related stumble, Morgan Stanley Institutional Core Plus Fixed Income
Pending shareholder approval, Dreyfus Emerging Leaders
Janus Aspen INTECH Risk-Managed Growth, managed by Janus subsidiary INTECH, shut its doors forever Aug. 11. This $10 million quant fund adhered to a unique strategy that didn't work well. Unlike most of its peers, who rank stocks on valuation or momentum metrics, the fund's computer models screened for stocks in the Russell 1000 that were volatile and lowly correlated with one another. The fund delivered weak results over its short three-year life. It gained an annualized 2.2% in the three-year period ended July 31, 2008, lagging two thirds of its large-growth rivals. INTECH has yet to disclose when the fund will be liquidated.
ING International Value Opportunities had a short life as well. The $8 million fund, which was launched in March 2007, will liquidate on or around Sept. 27. It suffered from poor performance and had a high expense ratio.
Dan Culloton is a senior fund analyst for Morningstar.
Wenli Tan contributed to this article.