Fund Openings, Closings, Manager Moves: Kopp Closes Emerging Growth at $1 Billion

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The

(KOPPX)

Kopp Emerging Growth fund, which returned 148% last year, kept its promise to close at $1 billion this week.

Current shareholders and retirement plan participants can still invest in the fund and, in an unusual twist, current shareholders can also open additional accounts. The $6 billion dollar

Kopp Funds

also manages private accounts, but Emerging Growth is the firm's only fund offering.

Although a news report claims the broker-sold small-cap growth fund shut its doors Wednesday, a company official confirmed that the fund actually closed to new investors at the close of business Monday. No formal announcement is available on the shareholder portion of the company's

Web site, which is divided between shareholder and broker sections.

Last year the fund sunk 80% of its assets into small-cap tech stocks and rode the hot sector to a triple-digit return. But the two-year-old fund's bets haven't always paid off. In 1998, the fund posted a .2% return, lagging 67% of its peers, according to Morningstar. The fund lost nearly 24% in the third quarter that year.

So far this year the fund is up 7.8% through Tuesday's close, while its average peer is under water. Closing the fund should help managers LeRoy Kopp and Sally Anderson nimbly move among small and micro-cap stocks. The industry rule of the thumb is that most small-cap growth funds become unwieldy when assets top $1.5 billion.

The fund is only offered in Class A shares, which charge a maximum 3.50% load or sales charge. The fund's 1.5% annual expenses match the average for its category, according to Morningstar.

Andrew Kaplan, the Fidelity manager who led

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Select Technology and

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Select Developing Communications to triple-digit returns last year, has jumped ship. For details see

TSC's

story.

On Wednesday,

Scudder Kemper Investments

announced a plan to merge or liquidate 40% of the firm's directly sold funds. For details see

TSC's

story.

New Options for the Socially Conscious

Friends Ivory & Sime

, a $60 billion socially conscious asset manager based in London, will launch two no-load socially responsible funds Wednesday for U.S. investors:

European Social Awareness

and

Social Awareness

.

Socially conscious funds weigh a company's ethical standing as well as its financial health in choosing investments. For instance, a socially conscious fund may screen the market for companies that have a certain market cap and are growing earnings faster than a given rate, and then only invest in those that don't promote alcohol, tobacco or gambling.

These two new large-cap growth funds will screen out companies "with substantial involvement in military contracting, environmental damage or pollution, nuclear power and promoting tobacco, alcohol or gambling," according to paperwork on file with the

Securitites and Exchange Commission

. The funds also will seek companies that support human rights and diversity in hiring.

There are about 60 self-described socially conscious funds, according to

Morningstar

.

The firm's announcement claims European Social Awareness may be the first Europe-only socially responsible fund. This might be the case, although

(MMPNX)

MMA Praxis International and

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Calvert World Value International are two socially conscious funds with more than half of their portfolios invested in Europe.

The funds are available through

SEI Investments

. Expenses will be capped at 1.25% for the first year. The average large-cap growth fund has expenses of 1.48%, according to Morningstar.

Tuesday's

Fund Openings, Closings, Manager Moves.