Skip to Content
Market Update

Wells Fargo Swallows Great Plains Funds

Investors may enjoy better returns with new managers.

Shareholders have approved the merger of three Great Plains funds--Equity , Premier , and Intermediate Bond --into three Wells Fargo offerings with similar mandates-- Equity Income , Small Cap Value , and Income .

The remaining Great Plains fund, Tax-free Bond , which already focuses primarily on issues whose interest is exempt from Nebraska's income tax, will be aptly renamed Wells Fargo Nebraska Tax Free Bond. The merger will be effective on September 8.

The funds aren’t just losing their names. Managers Robert Campbell and Cameron Hinds, who directed these offerings for the funds' advisor, First Commerce Bank, will no longer be involved. Wells Fargo acquired First Commerce on June 16, and even the tax-free bond fund, which doesn’t have a peer in the Wells Fargo lineup, is getting a new manager--Steven Galliani, of Wells Capital Management.

Great Plains investors shouldn’t fret too much; the Wells Fargo funds have slightly better records and longer histories.

Wells Fargo managers probably won’t have to struggle much to incorporate their burgeoning assets. After all, with the exception of the Premier fund, the Great Plains offerings are quite a bit smaller than the funds acquiring them. The acquisition of Premier, on the other hand, more than doubles the assets of Wells Fargo Small Cap Value; still, it will be a far smaller fund than its average peer in the small-cap value category. The transition may look relatively painless, but investors should remember that because new managers will likely retool the portfolios, the merger could result in increased turnover and some capital-gains payouts.