BOSTON -- State Street Research & Management Co. introduced simplified and redesigned mutual fund prospectuses. The company called its process radical "prospectus reform." The new format incorporates changes likely to be required by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Rather than write the prospectus and then design a marketing campaign, State Street Research flipped the process.
The "plain English" prospectus is shorter and easier to read with a more recognizable "brand name" feel than a typical, technical mutual fund prospectus. Outside consultants assisted in developing a more appealing, easier-to-read product.
The equity income fune was the first to undergo prospectus reform. The remaining 15 funds will convert to the new format during 1998. They also will be translated into Chinese and Spanish.
Other communications changes scheduled for the next three months include a streamlined mutual fund application, a CD-ROM featuring portfolio manager interviews and a newly designed consolidated statement for private clients.
State Street Research's Web site opened in mid-November at www.ssrm.com.
Fund supermarket goes online
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- E*Trade Group Inc., known for online investment services, launched a mutual fund supermarket offering access to more than 3,000 funds, from families such as INVESCO, T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Founders Funds and the Vanguard Group of Investment Cos.
E*Trade's Mutual Fund Center also offers extensive online research and proprietary fund screening tools to help investors find historical information, fund and manager profiles and prices and portfolio holdings.
Let's meet at Mutual Fund Cafe
NEW YORK -- Mutual fund professionals are sharing more than java at the Mutual Fund Cafe, the first Internet site for the sell-side of the industry. The site, www.mfcafe.com, provides business, sales, marketing and compliance news for fund executives.
The proprietors of the online coffee shop are Weschler Ross & Partners, a marketing and design company; DeRemer & Associates, strategic consultants; Financial Research Corp., industry trend analysts, Putnam, Lovell & Thornton, investment bankers; Jane A. Kantor, legal counsel; Matthew Greenwald & Associates, market researchers; and accountant Ernst & Young.
Fund focuses on China
PASADENA, Calif. -- Guinness Flight Investment Management Ltd. created the first mutual fund for U.S. investors that will invest entirely in companies in mainland China or in companies with a significant interest in the country.
Nerissa Lee, based in Hong Kong, is the fund's primary portfolio manager. The New Mainland China Fund will close when it reaches $50 million.
Nationwide adds options
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Nationwide Life Insurance Co. added 39 investment options from 13 external managers to its BEST OF AMERICA FUTURE Annuity program. The new variable annuity debuted this month and offers an insurance fee of 0.95%, about 25% lower than the industry average.
Hired to provide investment options were American Century Investment Management, Dreyfus Corp., Federated Investment Counseling, Fidelity Management & Research Co., J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc., Morgan Stanley Asset Management Inc., Neuberger & Berman Management Inc., OppenheimerFunds Inc., Salomon Brothers Asset Management Inc., Strong Capital Management Inc., United Asset Management, Van Eck Associates Corp. and Warburg Pincus Asset Management Inc. Five funds from Nationwide Advisory Services Inc., an affiliate, will be offered.
4 new managers at Putnam
BOSTON -- Putnam Investments announced the addition of four portfolio managers to its core growth equity department.
Michael Arends will manage institutional large-cap growth equities and will join the team managing the $4.8 billion Putnam Global Growth Fund. He was a manager at Phoenix Duff & Phelps.
Michael Stack was hired as part of the team managing the $18.9 billion Voyageur Fund and related institutional accounts. Mr. Stack had been an analyst at Independence Investment Associates Inc.
William Miller is now co-manager of the $1.8 billion Putnam Capital Appreciation Fund. Mr. Miller most recently was an analyst and assistant portfolio manager at Delaware Management Co.
Eric Wetlaufer was hired as a senior portfolio manager and will head the midcap investment team within the core-growth equity group. The team manages more than $6 billion in midcap equities for retail and institutional investors. Mr. Wetlaufer replaces Jennifer Silver, who left the company. Mr. Wetlaufer will be lead manager of the $4.4 billion Vista Fund. He had been a portfolio manager at Cadence Capital Management.
Services promise data faster
NEW YORK -- Lipper Analytical Services Inc. added two electronic services for fixed-income funds for faster delivery of performance data.
The Lipper Mutual Fund Index Service provides daily updates for 37 fixed-income fund indexes via e-mail or the Internet. The service also includes total return performance data for each index for 12 time periods and historical index values back to the inception of each index.
Weekly worksheet files on taxable and tax-exempt fixed-income funds are available each Friday as part of the Lipper Weekly Electronix Fixed-Income Fund Performance Service. Total return and principal-only returns are given for eight time periods. Peer group comparisons can be created. Clients receive a faxed report every Friday of their chosen funds' performance and investment objective ranking.
*New Providence Capital Management L.L.C., Atlanta, introduced the Capital Growth Fund, which will emulate the strategy used to manage part of Sir John Templeton's offshore fund, Best Investments International.
The strategy is growth-oriented and uses a concentrated large-cap style. The goal is to identify companies that will provide high capital appreciation through rapid earnings growth, compounded by price-to-book earnings valuation expansion. John K. Donaldson, Shannon D. Coogle and Kyle A. Tomlinson are the fund managers.
*State Street Research Corp., Boston, closed the value-oriented, small-cap Aurora Fund to new investors Nov. 5 when it went over $600 million. Rudy Kluiber is the fund's manager.
*Fidelity Investments, Boston, added C class share pricing and a new international equity fund for its Fidelity Advisor family of mutual funds, which are distributed through bank, broker and insurance company channels.
The new C shares are available without a front-end sales charge and pay the financial intermediary an upfront commission of 1% and annual trail payments of 1% beginning in the 13 months after an account was established. There is a contingent 1% back-end load fee if fund shares are redeemed in the first 12 months. The Fidelity Advisor funds also offer A, B and T shares and institutional class shares.
*John Hancock Funds, Boston, will merge five of its mutual funds with similar investment goals on Dec. 5.
The Global Marketplace will merge into the Global Fund; the Discovery and the Disciplined Growth Funds will merge into the Growth Fund; the Utilities Fund will merge into the Growth and Income Fund; and the Limited-Term Government Fund will merge into the Intermediate Maturity Government Fund.
*Phoenix Duff & Phelps, Hartford, Conn., continued its expansion into value investing with the introduction of the Phoenix Value Equity Fund, managed by Christian Bertelsen, former chief investment officer of Dreman Value Advisors. The fund will invest in large-cap value stocks.
Mr. Bertelsen also will manage the Phoenix Small Cap Value Fund.
*Putnam Investments, Boston, opened its Global Growth and Income Fund to the public this month. The fund's managers -- Deborah Kuestner, Hugh Mullin and George Stairs -- manage the fund in the same value style as its 40-year-old Putnam Fund for Growth and Income.
The fund has been open for investment to Putnam employees since early 1995.
*MFS Investment Management, Boston, added two new funds. The MFS New Discovery Fund, managed by Brian Stack, is a small-cap growth fund. Mr. Stack also manages an institutional small-cap fund, the MFS Emerging Equities Fund.
The other new fund, the MFS Equity Income Fund, is managed by Lisa B. Nurme. Ms. Nurme is a member of the investment team for the MFS Total Return Fund. The new fund will invest at least 65% of assets in income-producing equity securities and can invest up to 35% of assets in fixed-income securities.
The fund's manager may also invest up to 35% in foreign stocks and bonds.
*Scudder, Stevens & Clark Inc., Boston, introduced an International Growth & Income Fund, with Sheridan P. Reilly being lead manager. The fund attracted $25 million from 3,300 accounts during a subscription period.
Scudder also announced the debut of the Scudder Financial Services Fund, co-managed by Thaddeus W. Paluszek, Peter A. Taylor and William F. Truscott. Messrs. Paluszek and Taylor are equity analysts; Mr. Truscott is director of global equity research. The no-load sector fund will invest primarily in stocks of banks, insurance companies, investment companies and other financial services providers.
Scudder also named Mark Boyadjian lead manager of the Scudder GNMA Fund and the AARP GNMA & U.S. Treasury Fund, replacing David Glen, who moved to Scudder's institutional group. Mr. Boyadjian most recently was head of Scudder's mortgage products development and the mortgage trading desk.
Contact Christine Williamson at [email protected]