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Fund Times: Fidelity's Institutional President to Retire

Plus, Longleaf Partners reopens, Legg Mason's newest, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 01/28/2008

Peter Smail, president of Fidelity Investment's institutional money manager Pyramis Global Advisors, will retire at the end of the first quarter. A 20-year veteran of Fidelity, Smail will continue working with the firm on a consulting basis thereafter. Pyramis has not yet announced his successor. Fidelity has managed institutional accounts for years but only launched Pyramis in 2005 under Smail's direction. It now accounts for $162 billion of Fidelity's $1.6 trillion of assets under management.

Longleaf Partners Fund Now Open to All.for the Moment
Southwestern Asset Management's Longleaf Partners LLPFX--a Fund Analyst Pick in the large-blend category--reopened to new investors Jan. 18. The fund, which is managed by Mason Hawkins and Staley Cates, is trying to raise $1.5 billion to take advantage of new opportunities and add to current holdings. Southwestern initially reopened the fund only to its current shareholders (it had been closed even to them), and then opened it further to shareholders of other Longleaf funds. This fund probably won't stay open for long. It already has seen about $730 million of net inflows since mid-November. It's apparent that investors are looking beyond the fund's tough 2007: Its 10.0% 10-year annualized gain tops 95% of rivals.

Legg Mason 130/30 Fund Now Available
Legg Mason Partners 130/30 U.S. Large Cap Equity
LMUAX is open for business. The fund will be subadvised by Batterymarch, a firm that has nearly 40 years of experience in quantitative equity strategies and now manages about $30 billion. Yu-Nien (Charles) Ko and Stephen Lanzendorf are its managers. They'll use 30% of the portfolio to short stocks (bet that they will decline) and use the proceeds of the short sales to boost the fund's long positions to 130% of fund assets. This fund's A shares charge a 1.86% expense ratio.

Baron Makes Change at Mid-Cap Fund
Baron Asset BARAX has a new lead manager. Andrew Peck, who joined the fund's management team in 2003, has taken over as the fund's sole manager. Firm founder Ronald Baron stepped down from lead manager responsibilities. Baron will continue to manage Baron Growth BGRFX and Baron Partners BPTRX.

AIM Reopens Europe Fund
AIM Investments is reopening AIM European Small Company ESMAX to new investors Feb. 1, 2008. The fund, managed by Jason Holzer and Borge Endresen, has been closed to new investors since March 2005. The duo also comanages AIM European Growth AEDAX, AIM International Small Company IEGAX, and AIM International Growth AIIEX. AIM says it may reclose the fund, which has nearly $400 million in assets, if its total assets approach $500 million. Although the fund has had an outstanding five years in the Europe-stock category, the future could be rockier. In the past three months, the fund has lost more than 27%.

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