SAN FRANCISCO - The Spectrem Group Inc. acquired Access Research Inc., a consulting and research firm specializing in the defined contribution market.
Terms were not available. Access and its eight employees will continue to operate under the Access name out of its Windsor, Conn., offices.
Spectrem acquired the core investment research functions of Access, as well as the marketing and public relations services it offers to money managers and record keepers, said Jeffrey Close, an Access vice president.
Robert G. Wuelfing, Access founder and former chief executive, will remain as a consultant during the transition and eventually will be replaced by Kent Novell, Access executive vice president.
Mr. Wuelfing retained control of the administration of the Society for Professional Recordkeepers and Administrators, the professional association founded by Access Research. Mr. Wuelfing also will take with him control of Access' education and training activities.
AIM reopens fund
BOSTON - AIM Advisors Inc. reopened its Aggressive Growth Fund June 4 and will keep it open until the fund accumulates $500 million in new assets. New investors will be limited to $5,000 minimum and a $250,000 maximum. The fund had $2.5 billion under management as of Feb. 28.
Portfolio manager Bob Kippes sees plenty of good buying opportunities from a combination of positive earnings projections and relatively cheap prices, the company said.
When the fund was last reopened for new investors on July 17-18, 1995, it attracted nearly $1 billion in new cash.
The average annual total return is 23.32% before fees for the five years ended March 31, making it the No. 1 fund among the 112 small-capitalization funds ranked by Lipper Analytical Services Inc., New York.
Price to run new fund
SHORT HILLS, N.J. - Superstar manager Michael Price will launch his latest mutual fund, the Franklin Financial Services Fund, in the third quarter.
The fund will invest in banks, thrifts, loan and mortgage companies, a sector in which Mr. Price has made plenty of money with some of his other mutual funds in the past. For example, Mr. Price pushed Chase Manhattan Corp. to merge with Chemical Banking Corp. in August 1995; Chase's share price rose to $93 from $71 since the merger was announced. The Franklin Mutual Funds family still owns about 7 million shares of the combined entity.
Mr. Price also made about $50 million with a 7.1% stake in Michigan National Corp., when it was purchased by National Australia Bank.
Mr. Price and his team manage $23 billion in the Franklin Mutual family now.
SEC charges Parnassus
SAN FRANCISCO - The Securities and Exchange Commission May 29 charged the president of the Parnassus Fund and two trustees with overstating the fund's asset value from December 1990 to January 1993.
President Jerome Dodson and trustees Marilyn Chou and David Gibson were charged with misvaluing the fund's holdings of a thinly traded stock, Margaux Inc. Mr. Dodson also was charged with misusing research discounts and with lending $100,000 of fund assets to Margaux after it filed for bankruptcy in 1989, against the fund's own rules.
The SEC also charged that Mr. Dodson and Parnassus Investments misused soft-dollar credits granted to the Parnassus Fund for research services, not to the investment management company.
Mr. Dodson maintained his innocence on all charges in a prepared statements and said trustees of the fund will mount a "vigorous defense."
Bankers Trust funds up 30%
NEW YORK - Bankers Trust Co. has seen a 30% increase in its mutual fund assets to $15 billion since the beginning of the year, growth company officials attributed largely to an increased emphasis on new distribution channels.
Bankers Trust is now participating in 22 no-transaction-fee and wrap-fee programs, a strong source of new assets for the company, said Ray DeAngelo, vice president of mutual fund distribution.
The company's 18 mutual funds are available on supermarkets such as the OneSource program of Charles Schwab Trust Co., Jack White & Co. and Fidelity Investments' FundsNet.
PIMCO family growing
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - PIMCO Funds, the mutual fund family of PIMCO Advisors L.P. is enjoying a great asset run-up.
The funds have grown from two bond funds and $16 million in 1987 to more than $26 billion in 37 equity and fixed-income funds as of May 1997.
The annual increase in assets has averaged almost 110%, said Brent R. Harris, chairman of the funds.
Nearly 80% of assets are from institutional investors, primarily pension funds. Consolidation of two affiliated fund families within the company created three share classes that enable retail investors to invest with a $1,000 minimum. Five bond funds and a balanced fund were added in the last year.
Coincidentally, William H. Gross - portfolio manager of the largest fund in the family, the $13 billion PIMCO Total Return Fund - just published a book: "Everything You've Heard About Investing is Wrong!" The book, according to its publishers, Times Business/Random House, offers investors advice for the "coming era of 6% (returns)."
Mr. Gross is a founder and managing director of Pacific Investment Management Co.
BONY offers allocations
NEW YORK - The Bank of New York introduced a new portfolio management service for institutional and individual investors with more than $100,000 to invest.
The Bank of New York will determine the asset allocation for the investor and implement and rebalance the mix using the bank's 10 BNY Hamilton proprietary mutual funds. Six of the 10 funds were just added to the family: an international equity, a large-cap growth equity, a small-cap growth equity, an intermediate investment-grade bond, a Treasury bond fund and an intermediate tax-exempt bond fund
Phoenix Home adds portfolios
HARTFORD, Conn. - Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. added four portfolios from Templeton Asset Management Ltd., Singapore, to its variable annuity program.
The four portfolios are: The Templeton Asset Allocation Series (global); the Templeton Stock Series (global); the Templeton International Series and the Templeton Developing Markets Series.
The first three portfolios will be managed in the United States. The Developing Markets portfolio will be managed by Mark Mobius in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Templeton is the third outside manager added to the stable of products available in Phoenix's variable annuity programs. Sixteen investment management options are now offered.
A subsidiary, Phoenix Duff & Phelps, also launched a new REIT institutional mutual fund for small to midsized pension plans.
Barbara Rubin and Michael Schatt are co-managers of the Phoenix Real Estate Equity Securities Portfolio.
Munder offers lifestyle trio
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Munder Capital Management, introduced three lifestyle funds May 29.
The Lifestyle Funds can invest in a basket of more than 20 mutual funds offered by Munder Capital.
Munder controls the asset allocation between the funds using a downside risk control model.
The three Lifestyle Funds are: the All-Season Maintenance Fund, the All-Season Development Fund and the All-Season Accumulation Fund, which seeks to provide investors with long-term capital appreciation. The investment objectives of the funds range from conservative to aggressive to meet investment goals of retail and defined contribution plan investors.
BOSTON - John Hancock Funds added the V.A. Financial Industries Fund as an investment option in its Declaration Variable Annuity.
The fund is managed by James Schmidt and Thomas Finucane, both members of the team that manages $6.5 billion for the insurer in bank-related mutual funds, including the $5.1 billion John Hancock Regional Bank Fund. The variable annuity portfolio is a clone of the $500 million John Hancock Financial Industries mutual fund, also managed by Messrs. Schmidt and Finucane.
The addition brings to 11 the number of investment options available in the Declaration Variable Annuity.
Strong Funds, Menomonee Falls, Wis., launched Strong On-Line News and Markets, a Web service that allows tracking of mutual fund and stock investments in as many as five personalized portfolios. Users also can create customized performance charts of either Strong's funds or other securities and compare reSee Funds on page 33Funds
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turns to major market indexes. The service is housed at http: www.strong-funds.com.
Founders Asset Management Inc., Denver, sponsor of the Founders Funds, added the Personalize Investorsite feature to its Web site, www.founders.com.
The tool allows investors to customize features so they only receive information important to them, such as account information, commentary from favorite portfolio managers and news.
Charles Schwab Trust Co. Inc., San Francisco, enhanced its SchwabPlan Web site to provide 401(k) plan administration features and give plan participants on-line transaction capabilities and account information access. Links to Schwab's main Web page (www.schwab.com) provide access to investment education and market and performance information.
Travelers Life & Annuity Co. Hartford, Conn., now offers investors the option of a hard copy or diskette version of prospectuses through the Digital Prospectus program. Travelers is one of the first financial services companies to apply a ruling from the Securities and Exchange Commission that allows companies to offer electronic prospectus delivery, provided paper versions remain an option.
Interactive Data Corp., Boston, will introduce new portfolio pricing products for the mutual fund industry later this year. The new system will provide enhanced productivity, better communication capabilities, improved reporting and flexible output formats.
The Investment Company Institute, Washington, just launched a public policy Web site at www.ici.org. The site offers the latest information on legislative, regulatory and economic developments affecting mutual funds and investors. Industry statistics, educational material, congressional testimony and regulatory comment letters are housed on the site. The ICI page also provides a link to other Web sites, including those of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers.
First Data Investor Services Group, Boston, just made on-line access to information and transaction capabilities available to investors in funds of Wright Investors' Services, Bridgeport, Conn. A link to Wright's home page at www.wisi.com and First Data's transaction system went live May 23.
First Data provides back-office services to Wright and reports that Wright will introduce nine new international funds later this year. It offers 20 funds now.
Altamira Investment Services Inc., Toronto, launched two mutual funds. The T-Bill Fund, which will invest exclusively in Canadian treasury bills and other short-term instruments denominated in Canadian dollars. The Short Term Canadian Income Fund is a bit more aggressive and will invest in high-quality, short-term debt instruments guaranteed by the Canadian and U.S. governments, by Canadian provincial governments and chartered banks.
Shareholders of the $165 million New USA Growth Fund approved May 28 a proposal to transfer all of the assets of the fund into the MFS Emerging Growth Fund. The fund has been sold by New USA Mutual Funds Inc., Los Angeles, to MFS Investment Management, Boston. Terms were not disclosed.
Guardian Investor Services Corp., New York, introduced two funds - the Guardian Park Avenue Small Cap Fund and the Guardian Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Fund.
The small-cap fund will be co-managed by Larry Luxenberg and Chuck Albers. Mr. Albers, who also manages the Guardian Park Avenue Fund, will use a top-down approach. The fund initially will have a strong weighting in real estate investment trusts, which the company's mathematical models show having an attractive combination of value and momentum.
The emerging markets fund is managed by Edward Hocknell and is sponsored by a partnership of The Guardian and Baillie Gifford & Co., Edinburgh.
The Franklin Templeton Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., reassigned portfolio manager duties on the Templeton Emerging Markets Income Fund Inc.
Ronald A. Johnson joined Neil Devlin and Umran Demirora on the portfolio management team, replacing Tom Latta. Mr. Latta will concentrate on developed international markets for other funds, said a Franklin Templeton spokeswoman.
Key Asset Management Inc., Cleveland, introduced the Victory Real Estate Investment Fund, which will invest in real estate investment trusts and commercial properties. Portfolio managers are Richard E. Salomon and Patrice Derrington, both of Spears, Benzak, Salomon & Farrell, a KeyCorp subsidiary.
Amy L. Donovan was named business manager of the AMA InvestmentLink program set up by Scudder, Stevens & Clark Inc., New York, and the American Medical Association.
Ms. Donovan joined Scudder in February from Fidelity Investments, Boston.
The InvestmentLink program provides the AMA's 260,000 members and 40,000 students with wealth management services including investment management products such as mutual funds, discount brokerage, financial planning and a variable annuity program.