A couple of sector fund managers are looking for more elbow room.

Starting Oct. 1,

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Vanguard Energy fund manager Ernst von Metzsch will be able to invest up to 50% of the fund in foreign stocks, up from 30%, according to a Friday regulatory filing. The move is due to foreign shops' growing presence in the sector, according to the paperwork.

John Hancock Funds

has also filed papers indicating it will ask shareholders of its broker-sold

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John Hancock Financial Industries fund to remove the requirement that at least 25% of the fund's assets be invested in bank stocks. That sleeve of the financial services sector has lagged behind brokerages and asset managers this year.

At the end of June, von Metzsch was close to Vanguard Energy's 30% ceiling with a 26.8% foreign-stock weighting. The average natural resources fund has a 24% foreign weighting, according to

Morningstar

. For his part, Jim Schmidt, leader of the Financial Industries fund's management team, was right around the 25% bank weighting at the end of June, according to Hancock's Web site.

It's hard to argue with either manager. Von Metzsh has run the Vanguard fund since its 1984 inception with solid results. He's beaten his average peer over the last one-, three-, five-, and 10-year periods, according to Morningstar.

Schmidt's shareholders will probably lift the bank-stock minimum gladly. Financial Industries is up 37.3% over the last year, beating some 89% of its peers. Schmidt's broker-sold

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John Hancock Regional Bank fund, however, is up just 1.7% over the last 12 months, trailing some 90% of its peers.

Ian McDonald owns shares of John Hancock Financial Industries fund.