DENVER - Thomas F. Marsico, who until August managed the Janus Twenty and Growth & Income funds, didn't waste much time after his surprise departure from the Denver fund complex.
He already has registered two no-load mutual funds with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"We've tried to set up a structure where we could offer the same product through a number of different distribution channels," said Mr. Marsico.
His new firm is Marsico Capital Management L.L.C. He has negotiated a strategic alliance with NationsBank Inc., which has taken an ownership stake in the firm. Neither Mr. Marsico nor a spokeswoman for the Charlotte, N.C., banking company would disclose details of that arrangement.
Separately, Mr. Marsico said he is advising a fund within American Skandia Life Assurance Co.'s variable-annuity lineup and might run another fund for the Shelton, Conn.-based firm. Talks with other insurers are continuing, he said.
And Mr. Marsico has big plans for the institutional market, too, particularly 401(k) plans. "That's something where NationsBank can be a help to us," he said, citing the bank's relationship with more than 750,000 small and midsize companies.
Mr. Marsico's firm, based in Denver, will focus on his specialty: large-cap growth stocks. The funds are expected to be out early next year.
Mr. Marsico's track record is enviable. Janus Growth & Income had a compound annualized return of 20.8% in the five years ended Sept. 30, according to Chicago fund researcher Morningstar Inc.
The four-star Twenty fund, meanwhile, racked up a compound annualized return of 18.22% over the 10 years ended Sept. 30.
"The resources required (in running small-cap funds) are very extensive," he said. "I just want to focus on what we do best."
Mr. Marsico envisions an international fund in the future, but probably not for several years.
NationsBank presumably will offer the Marsico funds alongside the more than 50 funds it now sells through its NationsBanc Advisors Inc. unit. The proprietary NationsBank funds have $32 billion in assets.
NationsBank has been looking to add to its fund offerings, "but they really didn't like the idea of making high-priced acquisitions," said Moshe Orenbuch, banking analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. in New York.
The deal with Mr. Marsico may have been NationsBank's way of attaining what would normally be higher-priced talent at a more affordable price, according to Mr. Orenbuch. "Marsico is something of a name," he said.
As he awaits the regulatory approvals needed to roll out the funds, Mr. Marsico is running money for wealthy clients. (The minimum he'll accept is $1 million).
Mr. Marsico has recruited three individuals for his investment team: Jeffry Strauss, formerly a principal at Robertson Stephens & Co. in San Francisco; James Hillary, who was a principal at Jersey City, N.J. -based W.H. Reaves & Co. Inc.; and former Janus research analyst Jordon S. Laycob.
A Robertson Stephens spokeswoman said Mr. Strauss was in institutional sales. Mr. Marsico, who had dealings with him for a dozen years, said Mr. Strauss has "a lot of large-cap ideas." Mr. Hillary specialized in oil and gas and communications stocks; Mr. Laycob will be a fixed-income specialist.
Crain News Service