Bart Geer takes over BlackRock Basic Value, Marsico Capital restructures its debt, and more.
Columbia announced late last week that it will merge away 18 investment products, including 14 mutual funds, three variable portfolios, and one money market fund. The consolidation is part of the firm's ongoing efforts to rationalize its lineup following the firm's 2010 acquisition by Ameriprise Financial, owner of the RiverSource funds. Many of the mergers combine old RiverSource and Columbia funds with similar strategies and management teams, so there are no real surprises.
Columbia's average performance numbers may get a boost as the majority of the surviving funds have a relatively superior risk-adjusted performance record. For example, the 1-star rated Columbia Frontier SLFRX and Columbia Select Small Cap ESCAX funds and 2-star rated Columbia Small Cap Growth II
Columbia has merged away 51 open-end funds and 16 variable portfolios since it combined RiverSource.
Bart Geer Takes Over BlackRock Basic Value
Former Putnam Equity Income
Geer built a solid 10-year record at Putnam Equity Income, using a mix of computer models and fundamental stock research to earn a 7.1% annualized gain over 10 years that outpaced both its large-value peer average and the S&P 500 Index by roughly 1 percentage point.
There'll be some strategy and portfolio changes for the BlackRock fund, but it's too early to tell how drastic they'll be. Rendino hasn't strayed very far from his Russell 1000 Value Index benchmark, while Geer was willing to move away from the benchmark's sector weightings at times and kept a lower market cap average than most peers.
Marsico Capital Management Restructures Debt Again
Marsico Capital Management has undergone a second debt restructuring, cutting the firm's debt burden in half and also reducing management's equity stake to less than 40%. Following the deal, firm founder Tom Marsico retains 100% voting control of the company. Financial woes have followed the fund company since 2007 when it bought itself back from Bank of America in a highly leveraged deal.
The recent debt restructuring gives the asset manager much more runway to meet those obligations, which is a good thing since the all-equity-focused shop has seen significant outflows in recent years. Though the firm looks to be on more solid financial footing, two-plus years of significant investment team turnover have left a less experienced group of portfolio managers and analysts to run the funds.
Janus Hires Three Fixed-Income Analysts
Janus hired three new fixed-income analysts--Craig Klein, Jason Brooks, and Corinna Lyons--as it continues to invest in its fixed-income resources. Janus' global and multiasset assets under management have grown from $7.8 billion four years ago to about $29 billion today. In late 2010, the firm launched Janus Global Bond
American Funds Pushes Further Into Fixed-Income Space
American Funds filed to launch three new bond funds in 2013. American Funds Global High-Income Opportunities will search for high-yielding bonds in both developed and emerging markets and, according to the filing, may investment significantly in bonds of various currencies. American Funds Inflation Linked Bond will invest at least 80% of assets in inflation-linked bonds issued by the U.S. government. American Funds Corporate Bond will invest globally and keep at least 90% in investment-grade bonds.
Like other American Funds funds, multiple managers will run independent sleeves of the funds, although the filing didn't identify the managers. The track record at the firm's current fixed-income funds is mixed; all seven have Neutral ratings.
Franklin Templeton to Purchase Hedge-Fund Manager K2
Franklin Templeton will acquire fund of hedge funds manager K2 Advisors, first purchasing a majority stake from private equity firm TA Associates and then acquiring the remainder of the firm over a multiyear period beginning in 2016. The purchase will add to Franklin's alternatives options. According to the announcement, K2 has approximately $9.3 billion in assets under management.
Principal Broadens Income Search
Principal Funds will add DDJ Capital Management as a subadvisor on the Neutral-rated Principal Global Diversified Income
Fidelity Promotes Sector Analyst
Fidelity assigned Ted Davis, a June 2012 hire from AllianceBernstein, as co-portfolio manager on Fidelity Select Natural Gas
Dreyfus Plans for Management Changes at Fixed-Income Funds
Kevin Cronk was added as a portfolio manager for Dreyfus High Yield
Buffalo filed a prospectus for a new Buffalo Dividend Focus Fund. According to the filing, John Kornitzer of Buffalo Flexible Income
TIAA-CREF filed to launch TIAA-CREF Social Choice Bond Fund. The fund, to be managed by Stephen Liberatore of TIAA-CREF Inflation Linked Bond
Hartford filed to launch the Hartford Quality Bond and Hartford Global Alpha funds. Wellington will subadvise both funds, with Michael Garrett (of Gold-rated Vanguard GNMA
Columbia and Huber Capital replaced Davis Selected Advisers as co-subadvisors to MassMutual Select Large Cap Value
Goldman Sachs filed to launch a world-bond fund. According to the filing, the fund will invest in a minimum of three countries, with no more than 25% of assets in any single non-U.S. country. Iain Lindsay of Goldman Sachs Global Income GSGIX and Hugh Briscoe will manage the fund. Expenses were not listed in the filing.
David Millar is no longer listed as a comanager on JHancock Global Absolute Return Strategies
David Tiley is no longer listed as a comanager on Ivy Cundill Global Value
Loomis Sayles Small Cap Growth LSSIX closed to new investors effective Sept. 14, 2012.
Nationwide filed to launch a core plus bond fund. William Bellamy of TS&W Fixed Income
Ralph Eucher is no longer listed as a member of the board of directors at Principal. Nora Everett will take over the role of chair.
Hatteras has hired KeyPoint Capital Management and White Oak Global Advisors as subadvisor to Hatteras Alpha Hedged Strategies
Target Large Capitalization Growth
ALPS Advisors filed to launch four new ETFs based on indexes from Goldman Sachs: ALPS/GS Momentum Builder Growth Markets Index, ALPS/GS Momentum Builder Multi-Asset Index, ALPS/GS Momentum Builder Asia ex-Japan Index, and ALPS/GS Risk-Adjusted Return US Large Cap Index. Estimated expenses were not listed in the filing. See this article for more information on the new funds.
Brown Advisory filed to launch an emerging-markets fund. Somerset Capital Management is listed as the subadvisor, with Edward Lam and Edward Robertson serving as portfolio managers. The expenses for the fund start at 1.30%.
Lord Abbett's board of trustees approved the plan to combine Lord Abbett Stock Appreciation
ING removed Thornburg as subadvisor on ING Thornburg Value IMOIX. Thornburg replaced MFS in 2006 but has suffered from subpar performance in recent years, ranking in the bottom-decile of the large-blend category for the trailing five-year period. Pending shareholder approval, the fund will merge into the Neutral-rated ING Growth and Income
Allianz AGIC Growth
Senior fund analysts Karin Anderson and David Kathman, fund analysts Michelle Canavan, David Falkof, Kathryn Spica, and Rob Wherry, and ETF analyst Robert Goldsborough contributed to this report.