Fund Openings, Closings, Manager Moves: RS Plans Another Fund for Callinan

Plus, more manager changes at Fidelity.
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Jim Callinan is one of the hottest growth managers in the mutual fund business right now, and

RS Investment Management

plans to heap a new fund on his plate.

RS, the San Francisco investment-management arm of

Robertson Stephens

, filed a preliminary prospectus Friday for a new Callinan fund with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

. Last year, Callinan's

(RSEGX) - Get Report

RS Emerging Growth posted a 182.5% return, and he

won

Morningstar's

coveted Domestic-Equity Manager of the Year honor. Emerging Growth focuses on small- and mid-caps, but the new

Aggressive Growth

fund will allow him to seek growth in companies of any size.

The new fund's broader focus will give him more room to invest in bigger, more liquid stocks, which could be a boon since investors are making a habit of sending him money. When Callinan left

Putnam Investments

to take over RS Emerging Growth in 1996, the fund had $193 million in assets. At the end of 1999, the fund had $3.6 billion. He also manages more than $800 million in private accounts. Many small-cap funds have closed at lower asset levels, and some

say the fund should close before its assets cause its returns to drag.

Small- and mid-cap stocks are typically less liquid than large-caps, so a large fund can have a hard time moving nimbly among smaller stocks. If the fund doesn't build or reduce its positions gradually, it can move a stock's price and reduce returns.

Investors don't seem worried about Emerging Growth's size or Callinan's workload. They've shown they're willing to gobble up shares of any fund with Callinan's name on it, and RS has started spreading that name around. In December, RS launched the

(RIAFX)

Internet Age fund and made Callinan a co-manager with Cathy Baker. On Jan. 31, the fund already had $135 million, according to

Lipper

.

Both Emerging Growth (25.8%) and Internet Age (23.9%) are well ahead of their peers so far this year through Friday's close. That kind of performance is probably the firm's best proof that Callinan isn't too busy.

It's not clear when the new fund will launch -- fund companies are prohibited from discussing a new fund until the SEC approves the paperwork. It looks as if Aggressive Growth will run similarly to Emerging Growth, with big sector bets and high turnover, according to the new fund's prospectus.

On Nov. 30, nearly 60% of Emerging Growth was invested in tech stocks. At year-end, the fund's top three tech holdings were

BEA Systems

(BEAS)

(3.9%),

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

(2%) and

E-Tek Dynamics

(ETEK)

(1.7%). The stocks were up 108.8%, 34.2% and 52.3%, respectively, for the year through Friday's close. The fund's turnover rate was 291%, more than triple the average stock fund.

The new fund won't be cheap either. It will charge 1.88% in annual expenses, compared with 1.29% for the average stock fund, according to Morningstar.

More Manager Shuffles at Fidelity

Another tech manager has packed up his fat 1999 return and bonus and left

Fidelity

, where 29 funds have gotten new managers over the past three months.

Late last Friday, the nation's largest fund company announced Matthew Grech had left the company and equity analyst Nicholas Tiller would take his place on

(FSESX) - Get Report

Select Energy Service, effective today. Also, this Friday Jeffrey Feingold will take over

(FSRFX) - Get Report

Select Transportation and

(FSAIX) - Get Report

Select Air Transportation, and Pratima Abichandani will take the reins of

(FSHCX) - Get Report

Select Medical Delivery.

Feingold, who will keep managing

(FSDAX) - Get Report

Select Defense and Aerospace, succeeds Christopher Zepf, who is taking an analyst position in the firm's vaunted technology area. Abichandani, an equity analyst with some experience managing international portfolios, replaces Shep Perkins, who is taking an analyst job covering the communications and utility sectors.

Manager shuffles aren't uncommon at Fidelity, where the average manager tenure is less than three years, according to Morningstar. Turnover is particularly high among the firm's Select portfolios. Fido uses these sector-specific funds to give promising analysts portfolio management experience, and analysts typically rotate among the funds every year or two. In a humbling twist, the high turnover doesn't typically boost or hurt the funds' returns, which is driven more by each sector's performance than manager skill.

Fidelity stars like

(FMAGX) - Get Report

Magellan manager Robert Stansky learned the ropes in this system.

But over the past three months, some manager changes have warranted more attention. On Feb. 1, George Vanderheiden, the venerable

(FDESX) - Get Report

Destiny I manager whose record often earned comparisons with Peter Lynch,

retired. Then on Valentine's Day, Erin Sullivan, a 29-year-old rising star being groomed for bigger things, shocked the firm by

leaving her post at

(FDEGX) - Get Report

Aggressive Growth to start her own hedge fund.

Also, Grech is only the latest tech specialist to take his triple-digit returns from last year and hit the road. On Feb. 7, Andrew Kaplan

left

(FSPTX) - Get Report

Select Technology and

(FSDCX) - Get Report

Select Developing Communications to take a job with

Pequot Capital

, a hedge fund manager based in Westport, Conn.

With more than 180 retail mutual funds, though, it would take a few more changes to truly rattle the $928.8 billion Boston behemoth.

"Every December and January, Fidelity sees a flurry of activity, just after managers get their bonuses. If we see a couple more diversified fund managers leaving, that might be troubling," says Jim Lowell, editor of

Fidelityinvestor.com

, an independent newsletter.

Managers Moves at Alleghany

(CHTIX)

Alleghany/Chicago Trust Growth & Income and

(VERDX)

Alleghany/Veredus Aggressive Growth funds have new co-managers, and

(CHTMX)

Alleghany/Chricago Trust Municipal Bond has a new manager.

Alleghany Funds

announced Tuesday that Richard Drake will Join Bernard Myszkowski on the $524 million Growth & Income fund, Charles McCurdy will join Tony Weber on the $114 million Aggressive Growth fund and Dawn Daggy-Mangerson will take the reins of the $16 million Municipal Bond fund.

Drake joins the firm from

Duff & Phelps

. McCurdy has worked with Weber since the pair founded

Veredus Asset Management

two years ago, and Daggy-Mangerson previously ran national municipal bond funds for

Invesco

.

Alleghany offers 12 no-load funds, run by managers at institutional affiliates

Chicago Trust

,

Montag & Caldwell

, Veredus Asset Management and

Blarilogie Capital Management

.

Each of the three funds has below-average expenses. Of the three, Aggressive Growth appears to be the standout. Last year, the small-cap growth fund posted a 119% return.