One-stop shopping is alive and well in the sector-fund arena, but it's not necessarily a bargain.
On Monday, the broker-sold
John Hancock Growth Trends
fund, which will split its assets evenly among technology, health and financial services stocks, started a four-week subscription period.
During a subscription offering, investors can reserve launch-day shares for a set price -- $10 in this case. At the end of the offer, Sept. 22 for this subscription, the fund briefly closes to new investors, while the manager starts building the fund's portfolio.
Before you break out your checkbook, keep in mind the fund won't strategically focus on the hottest sector at any given time, and it might be cheaper to just pick a sector fund in each of the three industries.
The Boston fund shop will reallocate the fund's assets annually, and each day's cash flows will be divided evenly among the three sectors. Hancock, perhaps best known for its financial-stock picking acumen, has a different sector specialist running each third of the fund. The health care duties have been farmed out to non-Hancock managers.
American Fund Advisors
will pick the fund's tech stocks. The Hancock affiliate also runs the
John Hancock Technology fund, where co-managers Barry Gordon and Marc Klee have held the reins since its 1983 inception. The pair has taken a somewhat conservative path, and the fund's returns have hovered just above or below the tech-fund category's average over the last 10 years.
Hancock's financial-sector team, which also runs
John Hancock Financial Industries and other financial-sector funds, will pick this new fund's financial stocks. Led by veteran Jim Schmidt, the team is regarded as expert in the sector. Over the past three years, the fund is up 12.5%, just slightly behind the category's average. Over the past year it's up 19.2%, beating the
and 90% of its peers.
Mercury Asset Management
affiliate, will run the health care portion of the fund. Hancock has its own health care fund,
John Hancock Health Sciences, but its underwhelming record may have moved the firm to look elsewhere. Linda Miller has been the fund's lead portfolio manager since 1996, and it trails its average peer over the last one-, three-, and five-year periods.
The Growth Trends fund might be three funds in one, but it isn't cheap. There is a maximum 5% sales front-end charge on class A shares and up to a 5% back-end sales charge on B shares. Class C shares have a 1% charge on both the front and back ends.
The fund's expense ratio is expected to be 1.65% for Class A shares and 2.35% for class B and class C shares. On average, funds focusing on the tech, health and financial sectors carry a 1.7% expense ratio, according to