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Marsico Loses Yet Another Mandate

A raft of manager changes at Fidelity, a comanager exits Invesco China, and Kansas' 529 plans drop their fees and offer some new, low-priced options.

Morningstar Fund Analysts, 07/22/2013

Earlier this week, Advanced Series Trust, or AST, submitted a filing stating it would be adjusting its subadvisor lineup, dropping Marsico from AST Marsico Capital Growth and BlackRock from AST BlackRock Value. Loomis Sayles will replace Marsico, and Herndon Capital will replace BlackRock.

This is a particular blow for Marsico, as the firm has lost three additional subadvisor arrangements in as many months. The firm's Neutral-rated flagship products, Marsico Growth MGRIX and Marsico Focus MFOCX, have both done well year to date through July 16, 2013, with both funds outperforming 80% of their large-growth peers. The funds' since-inception results are also strong. Still, struggles at the firm are likely detracting from its prospects going forward. The firm earns a Negative parent pillar rating, driven largely by a high level of investment team turnover that occurred from 2010 through mid-2012.

Catching Up on Manager Churn at Fidelity
There have been a number of recent changes at Fidelity's sector- and industry-focused funds. Effective July 16, 2013, Annie Rosen has taken over Fidelity Select Automotive FSAVX, replacing Michael Weaver. Also in July, Jonathan Kasen has been added as a comanager on Fidelity Series All-Sector Equity FSAEX. The fund adopts Fidelity's multimanager, sector-neutral format, with each manager running a sector-focused portfolio. Monty Kori and Nathan Strik are no longer listed on the fund. Kasen and Kori have been added as comanagers on Fidelity Advisor Balanced FABLX.

In June 2013, Christopher Lee replaced Benjamin Hesse as a comanager of the Neutral-rated Fidelity Stock Selector All Cap FDSSX. Hesse had managed a financials-focused sleeve of the multimanager fund since November 2009 and was manager of Fidelity Select Financials FIDSX from October 2008, which Lee also took over. Lee also assumed Hesse's responsibilities on industry-focused Fidelity Select Brokerage & Investment Management FSLBX and Fidelity Series Broad Market Opportunities FBMAX.

In addition, effective June 15, Peter Deutsch joined Court Dignan as a comanager on the $426 million Fidelity Select Insurance FSPCX. In April 2013, Asher Anolic become the sole manager on the $1.1 billion Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals FPHAX, replacing Andrew Oh, who has left the firm and founded his own shop, Viabay Capital. At that time, comanager Ryan Oldham also departed industry-focused Fidelity Select Natural Gas FSNGX, with Ted Davis remaining as the sole manager.

Invesco China Comanager Departs
May Lo has left Invesco and is no longer listed as a comanager on Invesco China AACFX as of July 12. Joseph Tang remains as the fund's sole lead. The fund, relatively tiny at $104 million in assets, has struggled year to date, losing 8.1% through July 16 and ranking near the bottom quartile of its peer group. Tang continues to be supported by two analysts, and he intends to hire a third in the near future.

Technical Change at 3 Templeton Funds
Matthew Nagle is no longer listed as a comanager on the Bronze-rated Templeton Foreign TEMFX, as well as Neutral-rated funds Templeton Growth TEPLX and Templeton World TEMWX. Even so, the change is more of a formality and shouldn't impact the funds. The firm reports that Nagle still participates as a portfolio manager and analyst on the funds, but since relocating to the firm's office in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he can no longer remain listed on the funds as its advisor, Templeton Global Advisors, is incorporated in Nassau, Bahamas.

Kansas 529 Plans Cut Fees, Add Options
Investors in the Learning Quest and Schwab 529 college savings plans, both managed by American Century for the state of Kansas, now benefit from several lower-cost investment options. Effective July 1, the Learning Quest plan has lowered its fees for its age-based index portfolios by 5 basis points to 0.45%. In addition, the Schwab 529 plan added six low-cost index-based portfolio options to its lineup. The portfolios are composed of six underlying index funds, five offered by Schwab as well as Vanguard Total Bond Market Index VBMFX, and can be used as part of an age-based track or as stand-alone portfolios.

Fund analysts Robert Goldsborough and Kathryn Spica and fund analysis intern Noah Braendel contributed to this report.


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