Merrill Lynch closed four bond funds to new investors because they are being merged into the $1.5 billion Merrill Lynch Core Bond Fund next year, pending shareholder approval. The funds, which have combined assets of less than $300 million, have similar investment objectives, and the company can lower fees with a larger asset pool, said Megan Ochampaugh, a spokeswoman.
Closed are the Merrill Lynch Global Bond, Mercury Total Return Bond and ML Total Return Bond funds, along with the ML Corporate Fund Accumulation Program. The funds will remain open to investment by some existing 401(k) plan participants, and the assets will track over to the Core Bond Fund next year.
Patrick Maldari and James Pagano will continue to co-manage the Core Bond Fund, said Ms. Ochampaugh. They also managed both Total Return Bond Funds. Gareth Fielding, who managed the Global Bond Fund, will concentrate on other fund management responsibilities, as will Melinda Raso and Robert Peterson, co-managers of the Corporate Fund Accumulation Program.