Fund Manager Adams Parts Ways With Berger Associates

Also, Stein Roe cleans house.
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Patrick Adams, who helped launch two of

Berger Associates'

highest-flying funds, is leaving the firm. No word on where he's going.

Last year, Adams'

(BESLX)

Select fund was the firm's top performer, turning in a 72.3% return, vs. a 28.6% return for the

S&P 500

.

The

(BEBAX)

Balanced fund he co-managed with John Jares also beat the benchmark with a 34.4% return in 1998. So far this year, Select is up 3.9% and Balanced is up 13%. The S&P is up 8.8%, by comparison.

Upon joining Denver-based Berger in 1997, Adams took over the ailing

(BEONX)

Berger 100 fund which was in its fourth year of trailing the market. He was unable to turn the fund around. It finished 1998 more than 12 percentage points short of the S&P 500. It's up 5.5% so far this year.

Jares is now sole manager of the Balanced portfolio. He has been named co-manager of the Berger 100 fund along with Tino Sellitto. Amy Selner and Mark Sunderhouse are the new co-managers of the Select fund.

Selner also manages the firm's

(BESCX)

Small Company Growth and

Mid-Cap Growth

funds. Sellitto is at the helm of the

(BEOOX)

Growth and Income fund. Sunderhouse manages Berger's

(BENGX)

New Generation Fund.

The firm also announced that Jack Thompson will succeed Jerry Lavin as president and CEO of Berger, effective in November. Thompson joined Berger last February as executive vice president. He served as executive vice president of crosstown rival

Janus Capital

from 1983 to 1995.

Stein Roe Cleans House

Reacting to the poor performance of many of its mutual funds,

Stein Roe

Friday announced several funds would be merged, liquidated, restructured or assigned new managers.

Pending shareholder approval, the Chicago-based fund firm plans to merge its $561 million

(SRFCX)

Capital Opportunities fund into the recently launched $3 million

Growth Investor

fund -- a growth fund investing in the same securities as the firm's popular

(SRYIX)

Young Investor portfolio. The Young Investor fund is up 14.7% over the last year. All unrealized capital gains in the Capital Opportunities portfolio will be distributed before the merge takes place.

A new manager has been assigned to the $769 million

(SRSPX)

Special fund. David Cantor replaces Gerry Sandel, effective immediately, the firm says. The fund will be renamed the

Disciplined Stock

fund and will pursue a mid-cap growth-and-value investment strategy. "Stein Roe is traditionally known as a growth company," says Wendy Rauch, a Stein Roe spokeswoman. "And that fund had taken on more of a value bent," she says.

Cantor will continue as manager of Stein Roe's

(SRPEX)

Growth & Income fund. That fund is up 14.3% over the last 12 months. Sandel will leave Stein Roe, according to the firm.

The sickly

(SRSVX)

Special Venture fund will be liquidated on or before June 28, the firm announced. Investors in the $65 million fund will have the option of redirecting their investments to other Stein Roe funds before the liquidation. The move will be a taxable event to Special Venture shareholders.

Finally, the $49 million

(SRGOX)

Growth Opportunities portfolio will be restructured to emphasize a mid-cap growth strategy rather than its current approach of investing in stocks of any capitalization. The fund will be renamed

Stein Roe Mid-Cap Growth

and will continue to be managed by Eric Maddix and Arthur McQeen, the firm says.

The restructuring means some securities will be sold, which could trigger capital gains distributions.