In the latest sign that the financial-services sector is a hot place to be,


has rolled out a sector fund.

Orbitex, perhaps best known for growth investing via its sizzling


Orbitex Health & Biotechnology fund, announced its new broker-sold

Orbitex Financial Services

fund Monday. The broker-sold fund will spread its assets among banks, brokers, insurers, asset managers and other financial shops, but it could end up with leaning toward insurance stocks. That's because the firm has hired

Century Capital

to run the fund and insurers have typically made up more than half of


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Century Shares Trust, a financial sector fund run by the firm. The new fund will be managed by Lanny Thorndike, who works for Century Capital.

Rising rates often pinch financial firms' profits and they've kept financial funds in the market's doghouse for a couple of years, but stabilizing rates and a spate of mergers have buoyed the group. So far this year, the average financial sector fund is up some 16%, according to


. That beats technology and telecommunications funds, two of last year's highest fliers.

Century Shares Trust's particular focus on insurance stocks has led to a spotty record. It's up 19.7% since Jan. 1, but trails its average peer over the past one-, three-, five-, and 10-year periods, according to


. Thorndike was added to its management team last year. From 1994 to 1999, he was a health care analyst for

William Blair and Company


The fund won't be the cheapest on the shelf. Its Class A shares will levy a maximum 5.75% front-end load or sales charge, while Class B and Class C shares will carry a maximum 5% and 1% back-end load, respectively. Annual expenses will be 2% on Class A shares and 2.6% on Class B and Class C shares. The average financial sector fund's expense ratio is 1.72%, according to Morningstar.