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Calamos Hires Ex-Janus CEO

Columbia files to launch active ETFs, Eagle secures new team, the SEC backs off money fund reforms, and more. 

Rob Wherry, 08/23/2012

Calamos Investments CLMS has hired Gary Black, former CEO of Janus, as its global co-chief investment officer. Black will join the firm's investment committee and will oversee portfolio management, research, trading, and risk management. Black will share those responsibilities with firm founder John P. Calamos Sr. At the same time, Nick Calamos will step back from his role as president of investments and co-chief investment officer. Nick Calamos will remain an advisor to the firm and will continue to serve on its board of directors.

Black is best-known for his stint at Janus Capital Group JNS, first as its president and then as CEO between 2006 and 2009. His stint at Janus was positive, albeit marked with controversy. He moved the firm away from its star manager system to one that was more collaboration-based, altering the firm's compensation plan along the way. That led to a string of high-profile managers heading for the exits.

After leaving Janus, Black founded his own firm, Black Capital. That firm's investment team, which helped run a long/short strategy, will become part of Calamos, too. However, the team will work out of an office located in New York City. Black is expected to spend most of his time in the firm's Naperville, Ill., headquarters.

This is the second deal for Calamos in as many months. The firm announced in July 2012 that it had hired a three-person value equity team from American Independence Capital Management.

Columbia Set to Launch Active ETFs
Columbia is moving deeper into the actively managed exchange-traded fund market. The firm, which last year acquired Grail Advisors and its five active ETFs, recently filed with the SEC to launch an additional 17 funds, including 10 fixed-income offerings. Twelve of the new ETFs will be similar to existing Columbia funds like Silver-rated Dividend Income LBSAX, which is in the top decile of the large-value peer group during the trailing five-year time period through Aug. 23, 2012.

According to the filings, the funds will post their holdings on a daily basis. The holdings and weightings of the ETFs may slightly differ from their open-ended cousins due to trading dynamics. One key question mark is fees; the filings don't disclose whether the new ETFs will charge fees lower than their open-end cousins.

Columbia is trying to build off the beachhead it created when it bought Grail Advisors, an early pioneer in actively managed ETFs. The Grail funds, which now trade under the Columbia name, have a combined $25 million in assets. Industrywide, active ETFs have struggled to attract assets. PIMCO Total Return ETF BOND is the one exception: It has gathered $2.5 billion since its launch earlier this year. The Grail acquisition, though, did provide Columbia an advantage: It makes the firm one of the few to have already passed through the regulatory hoops to gain permission to launch active ETFs.

The move puts Columbia on a different course from some of its competitors. Russell recently announced it would liquidate all but one of its ETFs. FocusShares announced a similar move earlier this month, and Direxion said it would close nine of its triple-leverage ETFs in September 2012. The liquidated ETFs, though, were passively managed.  

Rob Wherry is a mutual fund analyst with Morningstar.

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