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PIMCO Total Return ETF Clears $3 Billion in Assets

AMG bids for Harbor Capital parent Robeco, and a key fixed-income manager leaves American Century.

Morningstar Fund Analysts, 10/12/2012

PIMCO Total Return ETF BOND, which continues to set records as the fastest-growing actively managed exchange-traded fund in history, hit yet another milestone this past week in crossing the $3 billion mark in assets.

Seven months in, the new ETF not only is the largest active ETF around, but it also has meaningfully outperformed the PIMCO Total Return PTTRX open-end mutual fund, which is the largest U.S mutual fund. The ETF continues to surpass most people's expectations. BOND also is well ahead of the second-largest actively managed ETF, sibling PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy ETF MINT, which has a little more than $2 billion in assets. After that in the actively managed ETF world is WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt ELD, which has about $1.36 billion.

AMG Among Bidders for Harbor's Parent Company
Rabobank, the Netherlands' largest retail bank, is considering three offers for its asset-management wing, Robeco, according to a Reuters report on Oct. 10. A sale of Robeco, which could reap as much as $2.5 billion, according to reports, also would include mutual fund firm Harbor Capital Advisors, which has more than $67 billion in mutual fund assets. Robeco acquired Harbor Capital in 2001.

One of the bidders is reported to be Affiliated Managers Group AMG, which owns stakes in boutique asset management firms like Third Avenue Management, Aston Asset Management, and Tweedy, Browne Company. AMG, in conjunction with private equity firm Permira, would plan to split up Robeco.

Japanese financial services company Orix also submitted a bid, in addition to a joint bid from private equity firms Advent International and CVC, according to Reuters.

Fixed-Income Manager Departs American Century
Federico Garcia Zamora announced that he will leave American Century on Nov. 30 to join a Boston-based fixed-income investment manager. Zamora assists John Lovito, American Century's head of international bond investing, in managing American Century International Bond BEGBX and in running the foreign-currency strategy within American Century Global Bond AGBAX and American Century Strategic Inflation Opportunities ASIDX. Comanager Simon Chester and credit analyst Tim Doyle, who joined American Century's London office last year and worked closely with Zamora and Lovito on the firm's currency strategy, will fill in for Zamora while the company searches for a replacement. Though Zamora played a key role in implementing the American Century's foreign-currency strategy, Lovito continues to hold primary responsibility for its formulation.

Dodge & Cox, American Funds to Benefit From Sprint Nextel Takeover
News on Thursday morning that Japanese mobile firm Softbank Corp. is readying a bid to acquire Sprint Nextel S has driven up shares in the third-largest U.S. cellphone company by 13%, as of this writing. Which fund firms so far are the biggest beneficiaries of this rally? Morningstar data shows that Dodge & Cox and American Funds are far and away the largest holders of Sprint Nextel stock. At press time, Sprint had confirmed the discussions are ongoing and that they involve "a potential substantial investment by Softbank in Sprint."

Etc.
BlackRock BLK plans to launch a new global long/short equity fund. In September 2011, the firm launched BlackRock Global Long/Short Credit BGCAX, a nontraditional bond fund that has attracted more than $300 million in assets. BlackRock Global Long/Short Equity will be managed by Raffaele Savi, Kevin Franklin, and Paul Ebner.

BBH Broad Market BBBIX has changed its name to BBH Limited Duration Fund.

Eaton Vance EV plans to launch a new alternative strategy fund in December to be subadvised by its subsidiary, Parametric Portfolio Associates. Eaton Vance Parametric Structured Global Small-Cap Fund will be run by Parametric veterans Thomas Seto and David Stein.

Michael Godfrey, who comanaged a sleeve of Vanguard Emerging Markets Select Stock VMMSX for subadvisor M&G, has resigned. Matthew Vaight will continue as the sole manager for the M&G portion of the fund.

DWS Investments added Kumar Vemuri as a portfolio comanager of DWS Enhanced Emerging Markets Fixed Income SZEAX. Additionally, the firm added Vemuri and Ohn Choe as comanagers of DWS Enhanced Global Bond SZGAX.

DWS is removing portfolio comanager John Ryan from DWS GNMA GGGGX and DWS Strategic Government Securities KUSAX. Lead manager Bill Chepolis will remain at the helm of both funds, in addition to the comanager teams supporting him.

William Chester, a portfolio manager of Westcore Select WTSLX and Westcore MIDCO Growth WTMGX, is retiring from the funds' advisor, Denver Investments. The funds have been team managed and current comanagers Mitch Begun and F. Wiley Reed will take lead responsibility for the funds.

First Trust has filed to launch the First Trust Short Duration High Income Fund, an open-end fund that could come to market by the end of 2012. The fund will be managed by William Housey, Scott Fries, and Peter Fasone.

Associate director of fund analysis Dan Culloton, mutual fund analysts Shannon Kirwin and Flynn Murphy, and ETF analyst Robert Goldsborough contributed to this report.

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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