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Artio Global Investment Shuttering U.S.-Equity Funds

Western makes manager changes, Loomis Sayles to rename a fund, and star Vanguard health-care manager to retire.

Morningstar Fund Analysts, 09/07/2012

Artio Global Investment closed Artio US Multicap JMLAX, Artio US Midcap JMDAX, Artio US Smallcap JSCAX, and Artio US Microcap JMCAX to new investors on Aug. 30, 2012. A spokeswoman for Artio said the firm expects to liquidate the funds around the end of October.

These funds have struggled in recent months. All four strategies have been in net outflows since the beginning of 2011, and none have outperformed their category averages in the trailing three-year period through Aug. 31. Additionally, the small size of the funds already made them a difficult business case for parent company Artio.

The liquidations coincide with firmwide struggles at Artio and should allow the shop to focus more closely on its core business of international funds and fixed-income funds. The firm in general has struggled, seeing net outflows in 2008, 2010, 2011, and so far in 2012. The firm's flagship international offerings have been in outflows for almost five consecutive years. Its fixed-income lineup, though, has experienced some growth in the same time frame, as most bond funds have enjoyed net inflows since the financial crisis.

Western Announces Manager Changes
Western Asset announced management changes at two dozen funds in an effort to more accurately portray the impact of the firm's team-based approach on the offerings. In each case, the existing managers are staying put and there are no changes to the funds' mandates. The moves follow on the heels of a broader rebranding effort at the firm.

Most moves are happening at the top. Dennis McNamara, the head of U.S. Generalists, has been added to the portfolio management team of a dozen municipal-bond offerings. He'll work alongside the funds' existing team of Stephen Walsh, the firm's chief investment officer; Robert Amodeo, the head of municipal bonds; and comanager David Fare. McNamara was also added as a manager on Western Asset Total Return Unconstrained WAUAX and Western Asset Adjustable Rate Income ARMZX. Western also appointed Timothy Settel as a manager at Western Asset Adjustable Rate Income. Settel specializes in bank loans, which are a part of the fund's portfolio.

McNamara and Settel weren't the only ones adding to their responsibilities. Mike Buchanan, head of credit, was named portfolio manager at Western Asset Corporate Bond SIGAX, joining Walsh and Ryan Brist, the head of investment-grade corporates. Portfolio managers Gordon Brown and Robert Abad joined Western Asset Emerging Markets Debt LWEAX, and Walter Kilcullen was added to Western Asset High Income SHIAX and Western Asset High Yield WAYAX. Several funds with wide-ranging strategies, such as Western Asset Global Multi Sector WALAX, saw the addition of several portfolio managers each.

In July, Western, a subsidiary of Legg Mason, announced that it would merge four funds and begin removing the Legg Mason name from several of its offerings.

After Lawsuit Settlement, Loomis Sayles to Rename Absolute Strategies Fund
On Sept. 28, Loomis Sayles will give Loomis Sayles Absolute Strategies LABAX a new name, dubbing it Loomis Sayles Strategic Alpha Fund. 

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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