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So Long, Scudder

Plus, changes at Federated, Loomis Sayles, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 07/21/2008

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.

One of the oldest and most famed mutual fund brands has gone away. DWS Scudder Investments, the U.S. asset-management division of Deustche Bank, recently changed its name to DWS Investments. The Scudder name was the last remnant of Scudder, Stevens and Clark, an investment-management firm founded in 1919, which introduced America's first no-load fund. The shop effectively disappeared when it was acquired by Zurich Financial Services, who transformed it into Zurich Scudder in 1997 and sold it to Deustche in 2001. DWS Scudder changed its name to match the parent company's brand for its global asset-management platform, DWS Investments.

Federated Buys Prudent Funds
Federated Investors announced yesterday that the firm will acquire the $1.2 billion Prudent Bear BEARX, a bear market offering, and $507 million Prudent Global Income PSAFX, a world-bond offering, from David W. Tice & Associates. This purchase will allow Federated to broaden its alternative-investment lineup and Prudent Bear to take advantage of Federated's salesforce to gather assets. According to the company's news release, the sale involves an initial payment of $43.0 million and subsequent payments of as much as $99.5 million over the next of four years. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2008. At that point, the funds will be rebranded as Federated Prudent Bear and Federated Prudent Global Income.

Investors shouldn't expect many changes at the management or strategy levels. Founder David Tice will become Federated's chief portfolio strategist of alternative investments, and assistant manager Doug Nolan will remain responsible for the day-to-day management of both funds. Unfortunately, the Prudent funds also will keep their main drawback: high fees. Federated says the funds' expense ratios will be comparable to where they are now, which is above-median for no-load offerings in their respective categories.

Loomis Sayles to Shutter Small-Cap Offering
On Sept. 15, for the first time since its launch in 1991, Loomis Sayles Small Cap Value LSSCX will close to new investors. The $1 billion fund's growth has been slow and steady over the years, and managers Joseph Gatz and Daniel Thelen currently run a total of $2.3 billion in the strategy overall. Although the fund has held up better than 70% of its small-blend rivals during a tough stretch for small caps, it still shed 20% for the 12 months through July 9. That hasn't deterred investors, though, who've continued to buy in. Existing shareholders will be able to add to their investments after the fund closes.

Putnam to Launch New Fund
Putnam's latest fund will have lots of room to roam. Putnam Total Return, which seeks to stay ahead of inflation, can invest without limit in U.S. and international stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. The fund can also leverage as much as 50% of its net assets under what it calls normal market conditions. Lead manager Jeff Knight and comanagers James Fetch, Robert Kea, Rob Schoen, and Jason Vaillancourt of the firm's global asset-allocation team will oversee the fund. The front-load offering will have a 1.53% expense ratio. Putnam has yet to disclose the launch date.

Renowned Momentum Investor Dies
Former fund manager and financier Gerald Tsai Jr. has died. Tsai started Fidelity Investments' first aggressive growth fund in 1958. His momentum-driven approach was pioneering and it pushed the fund to dizzying heights in the 1960s' bull market. He left Fidelity to start his Manhattan Fund, which experienced tremendous success before he sold it in 1968. He was 79.

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