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Stephen Yacktman Succeeds Father as Yacktman's Sole CIO

Artisan to close Artisan Small Cap to new investors, Putnam fixed-income manager Daniel Choquette departs, and Praxis adds comanagers to its allocation and index funds. Also, Mario Gabelli makes a very large gift to his alma mater.

On July 25, Don Yacktman announced that his son, Stephen Yacktman, had taken over as sole chief investment officer of Yacktman Asset Management, the subadvisor to Gold-rated  Yacktman (YACKX) and Silver-rated  Yacktman Focused (YAFFX). Don and Stephen had shared the CIO title during the past seven years. The transition was an expected part of the firm's succession plan. The move, Don Yacktman wrote, reflects Stephen's contributions to the firm during the past 20 years.

Don has stressed that he is not stepping back from his work at the firm. He will continue to contribute ideas as a member of the portfolio team.

Prior to founding the Yacktman firm in 1992, Don managed  Selected American Shares (SLADX) for nearly a decade, during which time he was named Fund Manager of the Year by Morningstar in 1991.

Artisan Small Cap Closing to New Investors
Silver-rated  Artisan Small Cap (ARTSX) will close to most new investors on Aug. 2, 2013. The $1.2 billion fund had more than $220 million in net inflows in the six months from October 2012 through March 2013, according to Morningstar data. Factoring in assets in separate accounts, this small-cap strategy soaked up roughly $1.9 billion in assets as of June 2013.

The fund's soft close is a shareholder-friendly move that should allow its managers to maintain the flexibility to make significant investments in their best ideas. This will be the sixth of 13 Artisan funds to close to new investors. It is also the first Artisan fund to close to new investors since the fund's advisor, Artisan Partners Asset Management, went public earlier this year. It is another positive sign that the fund's parent company is continuing to emphasize shareholders' interests over asset growth.

Putnam Fixed-Income Manager Leaves Firm
On July 29, Daniel Choquette stepped down as a comanager of Putnam US Government Income (PGSIX), Putnam American Government Income , and Putnam Income (PINCX), and also has left the firm. Choquette had comanaged the first two charges since 2005, and had been a named manager at Putnam Income since 2011.

Michael Salm, who co-heads Putnam's fixed-income group, will continue to serve as lead manager of Putnam US Government Income and Putnam American Government Income. Both funds follow a strategy that's heavy on government-backed mortgage securities, fitting Salm's expertise as head of the firm's mortgage team.

Salm will also continue to contribute ideas to Putnam Income, alongside Brett Kozlowski and new comanager addition Michael Murphy, who came aboard on July 29. One of the fund's other comanagers, Kevin F. Murphy, was also removed as a comanager on July 29.

Praxis Names Comanagers to Allocation and Index Funds
In mid-June, Delmar King and Benjamin Bailey were named comanagers of Praxis Genesis Balanced (MBAPX), Praxis Genesis Growth (MGAFX), and Praxis Genesis Conservative (MCONX). King and Bailey will support manager Chad Horning, who has led the funds since their December 2009 inception. King and Bailey have comanaged Praxis Intermediate Income (MIIAX) since 1994 and 2005, respectively. The intermediate-term bond fund has struggled in recent years, and its five- and 10-year returns fall more in line with the peer group average.

The Genesis funds have yet to post solid returns. Praxis Genesis Growth lags more than half of its aggressive allocation peers in the trailing three years through July 29, 2013, while Praxis Genesis Balanced and Praxis Genesis Conservative lag more than 70% of their respective peers during the same period.

Additionally, in mid-June, Dale Snyder was named a comanager of Praxis Value Index (MVIAX) and Praxis Growth Index (MGNDX). Snyder has worked as an analyst for the funds' advisor, Everence Capital Management, since 1999, including contributing ideas to Praxis Intermediate Income and separate accounts.

Gabelli Donates $15M for New Columbia Business School Campus
This past week, Columbia Business School announced that  GAMCO Investors (GBL) chairman Mario Gabelli is donating $15 million to help pay for a new, $600 million campus for Columbia Business School.

A Columbia Business School alum and noted mutual fund manager who was named Morningstar's 1997 Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year, Gabelli will join forces with Pequot Capital Management founder Arthur Samberg, who has agreed to donate $25 million to the new facility.  The university now has raised about $500 million for the new campus, which would be part of Columbia University’s Manhattanville complex in New York City, according to a report from Reuters.

The new school facility is targeted for a 2018 opening.

Fund analysts Robert Goldsborough and Flynn Murphy contributed to this report.


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