What's in a name?


Chief Investment Strategist Ed Kerschner will find out next Monday. That's when the firm's


Strategy fund, which picks growth stocks from Kerschner's "Highlighted Stocks" list, reopens to new investors. Kerschner's clout brought in a mountain of cash last year, but only time will tell if it's strong enough to overcome the fund's weak performance out of the gate.

Since Jan. 1 the fund is down 4.9%, trailing 92% of its large-cap growth peers, as well as the

S&P 500

, according to



PaineWebber brokers have used Kerschner's picks in client portfolios for years, so it wasn't too surprising when they

raised a whopping $2.1 billion in a six-week subscription period before the fund launched on Dec. 2. Because of the huge turnout, the fund also closed to new investors on that date. The average domestic stock fund takes nearly five years to crack the $1 billion asset mark, according to Morningstar. The fund's assets have since slipped below $2 billion.

The fund will reopen to new investors next Monday, but will close again when sales of the fund and an offshore clone for foreign investors cumulatively reach $550 million, according to paperwork filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission


The fund could hit its sales target in a day or two given Kerschner's high profile and many investors' "buy-on-the-dips" approach. On the other hand, brokers might find it a tougher sell than before. So far Kerschner and T. Kirkham Barnaby, the fund's portfolio manager, have focused on growing demand for technology products and services and rising spending by Baby Boomers. That's led to a big bet on retail, tech and telecom stocks, which haven't weathered the market's storm too well.

Merrill Lynch's struggling (MAEFX) - Get Report EuroFund has a new skipper.

James MacMillan has replaced manager Adrian Holmes, according to paperwork filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

Tuesday. Holmes had run the fund since Nov. 1993, the same year MacMillan joined Merrill. The regulatory filing doesn't indicate that MacMillan has any previous fund management experience and he's not currently listed as a fund manager in Morningstar's database.

Holmes's efforts at timing the market haven't borne fruit in recent months. Since taking the fund over in 1993, he beat the average Europe stock fund in four out of six calendar years. But, last year he shied away from market-leading tech and telecom stocks, citing thin-air valuations -- meaning, he missed out on the big fourth-quarter rally. Over the past one-, three-, and five-year periods, the fund trails its average peer.

See Monday's

Fund Openings, Closings, Manager Moves.