A year of returns and departures, as well as blowups in unexpected places.
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.
It has been a turbulent year in the stock and bond markets, as both asset classes have bounced around due to bad news regarding the economy and credit cycle. And in the fund industry, we've seen some very significant personnel changes. Here's a rundown of the events that surprised us the most in 2007.
David Corkins Leaves Janus
Corkins, one of Janus' most experienced, accomplished managers, departed on Nov. 1. This was a big blow to a shop that appeared to be on the rebound; Corkins steered Janus Growth & Income
Jean-Marie Eveillard Back in Action
Another big surprise on the personnel front: Charles de Vaulx, who had taken over several First Eagle funds (including First Eagle Global
El-Erian Returns to PIMCO
In October 2005, Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO's highly regarded managing director and senior portfolio manager who specialized in emerging-markets bonds, left to manage Harvard's endowment, a prestigious position. In September 2007, PIMCO announced it had lured El-Erian back to the firm; he'll become co-CEO and co-chief investment officer (along with legendary bond skipper Bill Gross) when he returns in January 2008. That's a coup for the firm, and it provides PIMCO with a clear successor to Gross when he retires.
Fidelity Contrafund Defies Expectations
Veteran manager Will Danoff carries a heavy burden. Between Fidelity Contrafund
Fidelity's Abby Johnson Once Again a Contender
In 2005, Abby Johnson, the daughter of longtime Fidelity chairman Ned Johnson, switched roles at the firm, from heading up of its money management arm (the firm's flagship business, which was struggling at the time) to running a division that oversees administration for retirement plans. Although the latter division handles a lot of business for Fidelity, the move was seen as a demotion of sorts, and called into serious question whether she would take over for her father when he retired. However, she recently took on a higher profile again--in September, she was tapped to run a new unit that will market Fidelity's funds, in addition to her other responsibilities. Between that move and the departures of other potential successors Bob Reynolds and Ellyn McColgan, Abby Johnson may again be the favorite to take over the firm.
Conservative Fixed-Income Funds Rocked by Subprime Troubles
The subprime mortgage crisis had a direct, immediate impact on lower-quality debt, but eventually led to trouble among even higher-rated bonds. Fidelity Ultra-Short Bond