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ClearBridge CEO Departs

Goldman Sachs funds' group suffers another departure and more.

Morningstar Fund Analysts, 12/08/2011

Peter Sundman is out as CEO of Legg Mason subsidiary, ClearBridge Advisors.

On Dec. 1, the firm sent clients a letter announcing Sundman's departure. ClearBridge acknowledged that part of the reason behind Sundman’s departure is cost, and the firm doesn’t intend to replace the former CEO, whose next career move isn't yet known. Rather, as the letter also noted, CEO responsibilities at the firm will now be consolidated with those of ClearBridge president Terrence Murphy.

Murphy is a ClearBridge veteran, serving as the shop's chief operating officer since 2006 and becoming president in 2011. Between 2000 and 2005, Murphy worked for Citigroup Asset Management, or CAM, the roll-up of investment firms that Legg Mason acquired in 2005 and subsequently rechristened ClearBridge. At CAM, Murphy held positions as director of planning and analysis and as chief financial officer.

No material impact on the investment team seems likely to result from this executive-suite shuffle. Chief investment officer Hersh Cohen, a successful money manager with more than four decades of industry experience, remains in place and retains day-to-day team-management and oversight responsibilities.

Goldman Funds Sees Another Manager Exit
Goldman Sachs' asset management business continues to suffer manager departures. This time it's James Clark, global head of portfolio construction and risk management in the fixed-income team. His announced retirement follows on the heels of Katinka Domotorffy, chief investment officer and head of quantitative investment strategies. Clark's and Domotorffy's departures follow planned exits at the end of the month by David Shell and James Otness, portfolio managers in the fundamental equity group.

Clark and Domotorffy were both listed as part of the five-member team managing Goldman Sachs Balanced GSBFX. The three other portfolio managers will remain on this strategy into 2012. Stephen Warren will be taking over Clark’s responsibilities on the fixed-income team. Warren is an 11-year veteran of the firm and was previously in the cross-sector team, which also has responsibilities for looking across the fixed-income portfolios. Clark had only assumed his current role in January 2010, previously acting as co-head of U.S. fixed income, with expertise in mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. He joined Goldman Sachs Asset Management, or GSAM, in 1994, becoming a managing director in 2001 and joining the lucrative ranks of partner in 2006. His sudden departure is another example of the personnel turnover cropping up across GSAM's funds and, in particular, departures among high-level partners at the firm.

Goldman Sachs also announced a small shuffle to their value equity manager lineup. According to the firm's filing, Dolores Bamford will no longer serve as a comanager for the Goldman Sachs Large Cap Value GSLIX and will assume responsibility for coverage of the industrials sector. John Arege will no longer serve as a comanager for the Goldman Sachs Mid Cap Value GSMCX, picking up coverage of the large-cap energy sector. Bamford and Arege will remain as comanagers of other funds they're listed on.

Royce continues its strategy of increasing its funds' foreign exposure, reaching all the way to its smallest funds. Royce Discovery RYDFX, with just $3.5 million in assets, may now invest up to 25% of its net assets in foreign securities, more than double its current 10% limit to foreign companies. On average during the last five years, the fund has invested under 5% of assets in foreign companies.

Morningstar fund analysts cover more than 1,700 mutual funds and write regular commentary covering fund industry news, fund investing trends, picks, portfolio planning, international investing, and more.

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