Manager changes at MFS and Pioneer, Lord Abbett to merge away its small-blend fund, and Alger hires three former members of Allianz's international equity team.
Over the past week, Vanguard and Oppenheimer have announced soft closes of their funds, continuing a trend that has been occurring in some of their categories.
Vanguard Wellington and Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Close to New Institutional and Advisor Accounts
Vanguard announced immediate soft closes of Gold-rated Vanguard Wellington
Oppenheimer Developing Markets to Soft Close on April 12
Meanwhile, Silver-rated emerging-markets fund Oppenheimer Developing Markets
Now Oppenheimer has announced plans to undergo a soft close of the fund, effective April 12. Oppenheimer's decision to slow inflows at this fund comes on the heels of a couple other sensible fund closures in the emerging-markets space. Since the start of this year, Virtus Emerging Markets Opportunities
MFS Announces Several Manager Changes
MFS announced several portfolio manager changes that will become effective April 2013. Jonathan Sage will be joining the portfolio management team at Bronze-rated MFS Total Return
In addition, Ward Brown will be added as comanager of MFS Strategic Income MFIOX and MFS Diversified Income. Brown will work with comanager Matthew Ryan on the emerging-markets debt portion of the funds, and the two comanagers have experience collaborating on Bronze-rated MFS Emerging Markets Debt A
Finally, Robert Persons will transition off of Silver-rated MFS Utilities
Lord Abbett Small Cap Blend to Merge Away
As reported last week, Michael T. Smith, longtime manager of $700 million Lord Abbett Small Cap Blend
Pioneer Switches Managers at Slumping Emerging-Markets Fund
Pioneer Investments has swapped managers at struggling Pioneer Emerging Markets
The new managers have experience running international offerings. Mencini served as lead manager to Pioneer's Luxembourg-based European research fund from mid-2009 to mid-2012. Salvatori manages two Europe-based funds--Latin American and Russian equity mandates--and has served as a comanager to Pioneer International Value PIIFX since 2008. The managers also have the support of Pioneer's 10 London-based emerging-markets equity analysts. Mencini will work with the analysts on fundamental stock selection, while Salvatori will focus on portfolio construction. Ratto will incorporate a macro overlay and manage currency exposure, according to Pioneer.
The fund's performance has suffered in recent years. After posting positive results in the mid-2000s the fund lost 59% in 2008, faring worse than nearly all peers. In 2009, then-manager Christopher Smart stepped away to become a deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Since then, the fund's struggles continued. The offering currently ranks in the bottom decile of the emerging-markets category in the trailing one-, three-, five-, and 10-year periods through March 5.
Alger Expands International Capabilities
Alger announced the firm has hired three former members of Allianz's international equity team. Pedro Marcal will lead Alger's new international group, along with his former Allianz colleagues Ajoy Reddi and Warren Zhang. Marcal earned mixed results at Allianz. As comanager on Allianz AGIC International Growth funds he outperformed the typical foreign large-growth peer, although he trailed the diversified Pacific/Asia norm while manager of Allianz AGIC Pacific Rim (both funds merged or liquidated in 2012).
Alger, a mostly domestic-oriented growth shop, had already made small inroads to international investing by launching Alger China U.S. Growth CHUSX in 2003 and by hiring an emerging markets team headed by Deborah Vélez Medenica in 2010 (the firm has since also launched Alger Emerging Markets AAEMX). Neither fund has attracted a significant amount of assets nor garnered an attractive track record.
Senior fund analysts Karin Anderson and Kevin McDevitt, and fund analysts Michelle Canavan, Robert Goldsborough, Flynn Murphy, and Kathryn Spica contributed to this report.