State Street Research
is just the latest fund shop to hop on the tech gravy train, filing paperwork this week to launch a new technology fund, as well as domestic and international versions of a concentrated
State Street joins a growing number of fund shops, including
, that have belatedly gotten wired. Their sudden interest in tech probably has a lot to do with the dollars that have been flowing into tech funds at a
The filing for State Street's all-cap
fund is pretty vague. It will be run by the firm's technology team (no names, thanks a lot) and will spread its assets among telecommunications, software, hardware, Internet, electronics and semiconductor stocks, to name just a few subsectors. The fund will own companies of any size and can even invest up to 35% of its assets in nontech stocks.
Then there's State Street's
Concentrated International Growth
funds, which sound a lot like the $37.2 billion
Janus Twenty fund. Of course, you can't blame State Street for copying the successful, but closed, fund.
filed to launch its own updated version.
Both of State Street's concentrated funds will hold just 25 to 35 growth stocks. The domestic fund will invest primarily in
large-caps, while the international fund can choose stocks of any size from emerging or developed markets.
Ken Woodworth and Bruce Ebel will run the domestic fund. Woodworth runs State Street's
Legacy funds, three large-cap portfolios with fair records under his tenure. Ebel just joined the firm from Loomis Sayles, and the filing doesn't disclose any previous fund management experience.
Thomas Moore will run the international fund. The filing doesn't disclose the previous funds he has managed, and he isn't listed as a manager on any retail fund, according to
. The prospectus does note that he's been an investment professional for 21 years.
The new funds aren't too cheap. On all three, State Street levies a maximum 5.75% load, or sales charge, on class A shares, while the maximum back-end charge on class B and class C shares ranges from 1% to 5%.
In terms of annual expenses, the three funds' class A share expenses are right around their category averages. But the class B and C share expenses are above average.
On a side note, if you buy funds through a
broker, ask if he or she is pitching State Street funds for their quality or their higher payout. Each filing notes that the affiliated brokerage is sometimes paid an additional 0.25% on State Street fund sales.
AIM Funds Merging
plans to merge five funds managed by affiliate
into similar AIM funds in mid-April.
On Wednesday, fund directors approved the merger of
New Pacific Growth into
Advisor Large Cap Value into
Emerging Markets Debt into
Global Government Income into
Global Income and
Global Growth & Income into
By and large, the mergers make sense. The disappearing funds are typically smaller, similar, more expensive and have weaker performance than the funds swallowing them.
The only one that sticks out a bit is moving Emerging Markets Debt into Developing Markets. Typically, the idea of a merger is to put the shareholders in a fund that's similar to the one they bought. While both funds focus on developing markets, these shareholders are being asked to move from a bond fund to a stock fund.
Of course, it's not always easy to find an appropriate merger partner for a niche fund. Looking at AIM's funds, the only other option was Global Income. It's not a great fit either, since it appears to focus on developed markets. Moreover, Global Income is already slated to gulp Global Government Income.
Nations to Launch High-Yield Fund
Though investors are cashing out of bond funds in
droves these days,
is bravely launching a new broker-sold high-yield bond fund.
Nations High Yield
will invest primarily in domestic and foreign junk bonds -- those typically rated Ca or lower by
or CCC or lower by
Standard & Poor's
. Lower-rated bonds typically offer higher interest, but have greater default risk than bonds issued by more solid companies or the U.S. government.
will run the fund. The firm manages more than $6 billion in high-yield investments.
The fund isn't particularly cheap. Class A shares charge a maximum 4.75% front-end load, or sales charge, and the maximum back-end load on class B and C shares ranges from 1% to 5%. Annual expenses are 1.03% on A shares and 2.03% on B and C shares. The average high-yield bond fund's expenses are 1.32%, according to Morningstar.
Fund Openings, Closings, Manager Moves.
Fund Openings, Closings, Manager Moves.