Calamos reopens its Bronze-rated convertible fund, while ClearBridge announces plans to close to new investors its Silver-rated small-cap growth fund. And a small UBS international-stock fund is set to get a dramatic makeover.
On Sept. 5, Denver-based money manager Arrowpoint Partners, which is headed by former Janus portfolio managers, closed on its purchase of Aster Investment Management, which is the advisor to the Meridian funds. Terms were not disclosed. Just prior to the closing of the transaction, shareholders of the funds approved a new investment management agreement in which Arrowpoint's Chad Meade and Brian Schaub became the new skippers of Meridian Growth MERDX. Meade and Schaub managed Neutral-rated Janus Triton JATTX from July 2006 to May 2013 and Neutral-rated Janus Venture JAVTX from July 2010 to May 2013, posting top-flight returns at both charges, before joining Arrowpoint. They're expected to ply a small- and mid-cap growth strategy at Meridian Growth that strongly resembles the one they used at Triton. The San Francisco-based managers they're replacing at Meridian Growth are expected to stay on at the firm; William Tao is supposed to assist Meade and Schaub, while Jamie England and Larry Cordisco will continue to work on the value team. England also will continue comanaging the very small Meridian Equity Income MEIFX, which has assets of just $30 million.
The name of Meridian Value MVALX has changed to Meridian Contrarian as part of the agreement, but its strategy and managers aren't changing.
Calamos Reopens Convertible Fund
Calamos Convertible CCVIX announced its reopening as of Sept. 6. The fund closed in October 2012. John Calamos Sr., Calamos' CEO and co-Global CIO, pointed to a robust new issue market as the reason for the fund's reopening. Driving the new issue market, he said, have been an improving global economy and widening spreads that have increased interest of convertible security issuers. He also noted that, in a rising-rate environment experiencing economic expansion, convertibles have historically performed better than more-traditional fixed-income counterparts. This Bronze-rated fund, which has assets of $1.1 billion, is managed by a team of experienced managers and analysts with top-down input from Calamos Sr. and Gary Black.
Separately, Calamos Convertible in June added Eli Pars to its broad team of managers. Pars is a senior vice president and co-portfolio manager on Calamos' Growth/Fixed Income Team, focused on global convertibles. With the addition of Pars, Calamos Convertible now has 10 named managers.
ClearBridge to Close Silver-Rated Small Cap Growth Next Month
ClearBridge Small Cap Growth SASMX is closing to new investors as of Oct. 1. This fund, which has a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver, has had strong performance, including top-quartile returns in 2011 and 2012, which attracted more and more inflows. The fund, managed by Aram Green and Jeffrey Russell, now has $2.6 billion in assets.
UBS to Convert International-Equity Fund Into Sustainable Fund
UBS is planning to give a significant makeover to a small international-stock fund, converting it into a fund focused on global firms whose business models stand to benefit from sustainability trends and that are in socially responsible lines of business.
Around Oct. 28, UBS International Equity BNIEX will change its name to UBS Global Sustainable Equity Fund and swap out its management. Current managers Nicholas Irish, who is based in London, and Stephan Maikkula, who is based in San Diego, will be replaced by the Chicago-based duo of Bruno Bertocci and Shari Gilfillan. (Bertocci had comanaged the fund from 1998 until 2003.) UBS long has had a global sustainable equity strategy available overseas, and Bertocci has been that strategy's lead portfolio manager since 2007.
Irish and Maikkula will remain with UBS, and Irish will stay on as the manager of the $87 million Nationwide Global Equity GGEAX, which was a fund adoption of UBS' former global equity fund. Both Maikkula and Irish will continue to manage strategies for clients globally, including U.S.-registered funds through UBS' subadvisory business.
On the revamped fund, Bertocci and Gilfillan plan to invest at least 65% of assets in companies based outside the U.S. and will use both positive and negative screening processes to identify potential securities for the fund. They plan to exclude stocks related to alcohol, tobacco, defense, nuclear weapons, genetically modified organisms, water bottles, gambling, and pornography. They'll also look for fundamentally attractive, undervalued companies whose business models benefit from sustainability trends, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency, environmental, health-care, and social improvements.
UBS International Equity has just $18 million in assets. The fund has meaningfully lagged its category and index over one- and three-year time frames and has roughly produced the same return as its category and index over the past five years. It also has underperformed meaningfully over 10- and 15-year time frames.
Senior fund analysts Greg Carlson, Cara Esser, and Gregg Wolper and fund analysts Robert Goldsborough and Kailin Liu contributed to this report.