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Fund Times

FPA's Rodriguez Is Back

Plus, Columbia shuffles tech managers, Templeton manager exits, and more.

Three-time Morningstar Manager of the Year winner Bob Rodriguez of FPA Capital returned from his one-year sabbatical in January (we noted his pending sabbatical back in March 2009). He hasn't resumed portfolio management duties on  FPA Capital  and  FPA New Income (FPNIX) but is serving as the firm's CEO and focusing on broad macroeconomic issues.

Both funds will continue to be ably run by the managers who took over when Rodriguez stepped back. FPA Capital is run by Dennis Bryan and Rikard Ekstrand (who had both been comanagers on the fund with Rodriguez), while FPA New Income is run by Tom Atteberry, who was named comanager in 2004.

In a recent interview with Morningstar, Rodriguez professed amazement at investors' increasing appetite for risk. He also indicated that one of his key areas of focus is preparing FPA for a possible future crisis, which he fears might occur in the next two to five years, triggered by increasing national debt. (For more on Morningstar's interview with Rodriguez, stay tuned for Russ Kinnel's Fund Spy, which will post to on Monday.)

Columbia Shuffles Tech Managers
The latest round of post-acquisition manager changes at Columbia affects the family's technology funds. It's the latest in a series of changes and fund mergers following its acquisition by  Ameriprise Financial (AMP).

Rich Parower has joined veteran manager Paul Wick on  Columbia Seligman Communications and Information (SLMCX), the technology category's largest offering with $4.3 billion in assets. Parower has called the shots with Wick at Columbia Seligman Global Technology (SHGTX) since 2006.

Reema Shah, who had comanaged both funds, has left. Ajay Diwan will no longer comanage Communication and Information, but he remains on Global Technology with Parower, Wick, and Benjamin Lu.

Communications and Information's 10-year record is top decile, and since Wick came on board, the fund's 15.5% annualized gain far outpaces the S&P 500 Index's 9.3% return. Global Technology's record is also strong, although not as strong as its sibling's; it has topped 70% of its technology-focused peers over the past decade.

In related news,  Columbia Technology (CTCAX) will merge into Global Technology in the coming months, pending shareholder approval.

Templeton Manager Departs
Bradley Radin, who has comanaged both  Templeton Foreign Smaller Companies  and  Templeton Global Smaller Companies (TEMGX), has left the firm.

Martin Cobb, who has been with Franklin Templeton since 2003, was named to both funds. He'll take over the lead role at Foreign Smaller Companies, joining Harlan Hodes (who had comanaged the fund with Radin since 2007) and Cindy Sweeting (who rejoined the fund after comanaging it from 2000-08).

Cobb will also join the team running Global Smaller Companies, although Hodes will serve as lead manager. He'd also comanaged this fund alongside Radin since 2007. Sweeting, who has served here as comanager since 2000, will also remain on board.

Fidelity Reports Rise in 401(k) Balances
Fidelity Investments recently reported that the average 401(k) balance rose to $71,500 as of the end of 2010, a 10-year high since the firm began tracking the data based on Fidelity's 11 million 401(k) participants. That figure rose to $183,100 at year's end for participants who had been active for the past decade, up from $59,100 at the end of 2000.

ING Sells Real Estate Business
On Feb. 15, ING, the global financial services firm, announced it was selling a majority of its ING Real Estate Investment Management business to  CB Richard Ellis (CBG) for $940 million. The deal includes Clarion Real Estate Securities, the suburban Philadelphia-based company that serves as the subadvisor on ING's U.S. real estate mutual funds. The sale had been widely expected since ING had the business on the auction block for some time. The deal, though, should mean a cosmetic change for the funds' shareholders. Clarion is expected to stay on as the advisor after stakeholders approve the deal in the second half of 2011.

GE Funds Renamed
GE Asset Management has renamed its retail lineup. The funds will now be known as the Highland funds. The institutional versions of the funds will retain their current names. For example, GE U.S. Equity has become  Highland U.S. Equity , but GE Institutional US Equity's (GUSIX) name remains the same.

Highland will take over as advisor to the retail funds and, in turn, will hire GEAM as subadvisor. Under this new manager-of-managers structure, future subadvisory changes will require only board, not shareholder, approval. GE has indicated that while the retail and institutional share classes are currently clones of one another, they could potentially have different managers going forward.

Fidelity filed to launch Fidelity Global High Income in May 2011.

Manning & Napier filed to launch Manning & Napier Emerging Markets on May 1, 2011.

BlackRock Ohio Municipal Bond  and BlackRock Kentucky Municipal Bond  will liquidate on July 14, 2011.

BlackRock Small Cap Core Equity  and BlackRock Global Financial Services  will liquidate on April 27, 2011.

 BlackRock US Opportunities (BMEAX) will close to new investors on Feb. 28. Almost $2 billion had flowed into the fund since 2008, causing its total assets to surge to $4.6 billion.

Dreyfus Institutional Income Advantage  will liquidate. No new investments can be made in the fund.

Goldman Sachs All Cap Growth (GALLX) will change its name to Goldman Sachs Flexible Cap Growth on March 31, 2011.

Richard Gable will leave Sun Capital Advisers and join MFS on May 1, 2011. Gable currently manages the real estate portion of MFS Diversified Income (DIFAX) as a subadvisor, and MFS expects to terminate the subadvisory agreement with Sun Capital on May 1, 2011.

Gregory Jones joined the management team of Old Mutual Large Cap Growth .

Derrick Wulf is no longer on the management team of Old Mutual Dwight Intermediate Fixed Income  and Old Mutual Dwight Short-Term Fixed Income .

TCW no longer subadvises  Touchstone Mid Cap Growth (TEGAX). Westfield Capital Management is the sole subadvisor of the fund.

Darren Jaroch has replaced Shigeki Makino as manager of  Putnam Global Equity (PEQUX).

Mutual fund analysts Rob Wherry and Kailin Liu contributed to this report.


Courtney Goethals Dobrow does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.