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More Changes at Putnam

Plus, Aberdeen's fund acquisitions, small-cap fund reopenings, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 07/07/2008

Putnam has tweaked its manager roster again. It recently added Alan McCormack and Mike Scafali as comanagers of Putnam International Equity POVSX. Neither is new to the fund, though. McCormack and Scafali have worked alongside lead managers Joshua Bryne and Simon Davis in recent years. McCormack joined Putnam as a member of the international core equity team in 2006 after having served as the head of global quantitative analysis at the former Citigroup Asset Management. Comanager Scafali has been with the firm for 15 years. He is responsible for portfolio construction and risk analysis across the firm's core equity funds.

Elsewhere, Jim Fetch and Jason Vaillancourt joined as comanagers of Putnam Asset Allocation: Growth PAEAX, Balanced PABAX, and Conservative PACAX. Both managers are team members of the firm's global asset-allocation team, which is overseen by this fund's lead manager Jeff Knight.

Aberdeen Completes Nationwide Funds Acquisition
Aberdeen has completed its acquisition of 26 Nationwide Funds, which have been rebranded as Aberdeen Funds. These funds are Aberdeen's first open-end mutual fund offerings. In October 2007 the firm purchased Nationwide Fund Advisors' active equity investment management business and took over as subadvisor on the majority of Nationwide funds. The fund lineup includes domestic- and international-stock, sector-specific, equity long-short, and market-neutral offerings, representing approximately $2.2 billion in assets.

Small-cap Fund Reopenings
William Blair Small Cap Growth
WBSNX reopened its doors to new investors on June 30. Chicago-based William Blair also announced the return of Mike Balkin, who had comanaged this offering from 1999 to 2005 before leaving to start a hedge fund. He joins current managers Karl Brewer and Colin Williams. The small-growth fund previously closed in mid-2006 when total assets in the strategy climbed above $1 billion. After Balkin's departure the fund suffered poor performance and experienced steady redemptions. The fund's 1.49% expense ratio is pricey relative to no-load small-cap offerings.

Schwab Small-Cap Equity SWSIX is also accepting new assets again as of June 30. The quant-oriented fund has put up poor absolute and relative returns and seen net redemptions since its mid-2006 closing. This fund's 1.24% expense ratio is above the median for no-load small-cap offerings.

A New ETF Blows into the Market
Another new ETF hopes to benefit from the tailwinds of the alternative energy trend. On the heels of the First Trust ISE Global Energy FAN launch, Invesco Powershares introduced its own wind-energy ETF July 1. PowerShares Global Wind Energy seeks to track the modified capitalization-weighted NASDAQ OMX Clean Edge Global Wind Energy Index, which includes stocks of manufacturers, developers, distributors, and users of wind-derived energy. Based on the latest index weightings, the bulk of assets will be invested in Spain, Germany, Denmark, and the United States. The fund has an expense ratio of 0.75%.

Sit Funds' Founder Dies
Eugene Sit, Sit Investment Associates' founder, co-CEO, and co-global-CIO, passed away on June 24. Sit was the longtime lead manager on a number of the firm's funds, including Sit Mid Cap Growth NBNGX, Small Cap Growth SSMGX, and International Growth SNGRX. Sit's son, Roger, president, CEO, and global CIO, will now lead the firm and manager the funds.


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