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Manager Steps Down at Restructuring Fund

Matthews makes a manager change and more. 

Morningstar Fund Analysts, 05/04/2012

David Williams has stepped down from Columbia Value & Restructuring EVRAX, the final step in his retirement from a fund he has helped run since 1992. The offering, which used to carry the Excelsior brand name until a merger with Columbia, is eclectic. Williams focused on firms going through restructurings or consolidation. While competitors eschewed such debt-laden companies, Williams dove in if the firms had strong cash flows and sensible price tags. The fund was more volatile than peers, but over Williams' tenure its 12% annualized return exceeded the large-value category average by more than 4 percentage points. Nick Smith and Guy Pope, Williams' comanagers, remain on the fund. Smith has worked closely with Williams since 2005. Pope has amassed a strong record at Columbia Contrarian Core LCCAX. That said, the fund's Neutral rating stems from concerns about whether that duo can replicate Williams' long-term success.

Matthews Makes Manager Change
Matthews International Capital Management, the advisor for the Matthews Asia Funds, announced Jesper Madsen stepped down as comanager of Matthews Asian Growth & Income MACSX. Comanager Robert Horrocks is staying put while Madsen will continue to run Matthews Asia Dividend MAPIX and Matthews China Dividend MCDFX. While Asian Growth & Income shareholders lose a strong manager, this move was widely expected. Madsen had been pitching in on this fund in the wake of the early 2011 departure of its previous manager, Andrew Foster. (Foster now runs Seafarer Overseas Growth & Income SFGIX.) Late last year, the firm elevated Kenneth Lowe to comanager at Growth & Income. Lowe, who joined the firm in 2010, previously worked as an investment manager at Martin Currie Investment Management in Scotland. Lowe's promotion allows Madsen to focus on his two other charges. The moves don't affect the fund's Silver rating. 

Parnassus Promotes From Within
Parnassus Equity Income PRBLX now has a second portfolio manager. Benjamin Allen joins lead manager Todd Ahlsten, who has run this socially responsible fund since 2001. Allen joined Parnassus in 2005 as a senior research analyst and became director of research in 2008. He was one of a team of three who have been building a respectable record at Parnassus Mid-Cap PARMX since they became comanagers in October 2008. Matthew Gershuny and Lori Keith will continue comanaging the mid-cap offering.

Name Change for Perritt Offering
Perritt Emerging Opportunities PREOX, the U.S. domestic-stock fund with the smallest average market cap, changed its name to Perritt Ultra MicroCap on April 30, 2012. The change reflects the fact the offering invests in companies with a market cap of $300 million or less at the time of purchase.

Goldman Sachs Mid Cap Value GCMAX has announced it will close to new investors on July 27, 2012. The fund had $8 billion in assets as of May 2, 2012.

Following the approval by its board of trustees, Buffalo Science & Technology BUFTX will be renamed Buffalo Discovery, effective June 29, 2012. 

MainStay Government MGVAX added Steven Rich as a manager. The fund is subadvised by MainStay affiliate MacKay Shields. Rich joined the firm in 1995 and is head of structured products at the firm.

BlackRock Multi-Sector Bond Portfolio BMSAX will be revamped in June 2012. The fund will be renamed BlackRock Secured Credit Portfolio, it will get a new benchmark index and new managers. The fund will focus on selecting secured instruments, such as bank loans and bonds, and will no longer be limited to investing a maximum of 35% of assets in high-yield bonds or maintaining a portfolio average credit quality above investment grade.

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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