Dear Dagen: What's Got Janus So Wary of the Web?

The firm won't post publicly available info.
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There is caution. And then there is paranoia.

You decide which one has prevented Janus from posting the holdings of its two new funds on its Web site.

The two funds,

(JAGTX) - Get Report

Janus Global Technology and

(JAGLX) - Get Report

Janus Global Life Sciences, opened on the last day of 1998. But the firm still hasn't posted any portfolio information about the funds on its site.

The firm originally said the information would be posted March 31, but a Janus spokeswoman says that "was just an estimate." The firm then moved that date to mid-June. Now Janus says investors will have to wait until July 15 to see any details about these funds on the Janus site.

To a certain extent, it's understandable that a firm of this size and popularity would want to keep the holdings of two new funds shrouded for as long as possible to prevent people from trading on the information. (Global Technology had $947 million as of April 30, and Global Life Sciences had $196 million.)

Indeed, a letter on the Janus site says as much. The firm has "a long-standing policy of disclosing top fund holdings only after an appropriate delay. This helps avoid copycats, front-running and other 'outside' trading that could hurt our efforts to build positions in our best ideas at the best prices."

"New funds are particularly sensitive to such situations," the letter continues. So the firm has decided to give the managers of these two new funds "a little extra time to build their portfolios 'in privacy.'"

Fine. Maybe they want "privacy" because they're still building positions in these stocks.

But here's where that reasoning falls apart: The complete details on the entire portfolio of these two funds are already available in the semiannual report, which went out to shareholders in June.

The semiannual report is a public document that is readily available to anyone via the

EDGAR

database and includes a complete list of holdings for these funds as of April 30. Plus, the April 30 top 10 holdings for the other Janus funds are already displayed on the Web site.

I would think that anyone who really wanted to trade on these holdings would have had the wherewithal to extract this information a month ago.

The Janus spokeswoman says, "We want our shareholders to be made aware of holdings first."

But some shareholders obviously use the firm's Web site, too.

Tom Harper

, who identified himself as a shareholder in both the Global Technology and Global Life Sciences funds, wrote to

TheStreet.com

to cry out for greater visibility of the funds' holdings.

Unfortunately, I can't force the issue. Fund companies are required to release the complete holdings of their funds only twice a year, in the annual and semiannual reports. The annual report gets mailed to shareholders within 60 days after the end of the fund's fiscal year, while the semiannual is sent 60 days after the end of the fiscal half-year.

Many fund companies will keep a more current list of top 10 holdings on their Web sites -- or at the very least, they post the information that's already publicly available. But obviously that's not always the case.

Some people might question the value of an investor's having a list of a fund's holdings. But I don't see the harm in posting a fund's top stocks on the Web, especially if the information is already available in a public document.

Has Janus just not figured out how to use the Internet?

For those of you who just want a gander at the top 10 lists for Global Technology and Global Life Sciences, here is a list as of April 30.

If you want to know more about the full range of stocks that the funds own, you can find their semiannual report at

FreeEDGAR. Look for the N-30D filed under "Janus Investment Fund."

Camera Shy

When you shoot someone for a magazine cover, make him promise to stay at his employer past the publication date.

Popular fund manager Ryan Jacob appears on the August 1999 cover of

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

. But as of about three weeks ago, Jacob is no longer running the fund that he made (or made him) famous: the

(WWWFX) - Get Report

Internet fund.

When I saw the cover, I thought it was unusual for

Kiplinger's

to spotlight an Internet fund manager and unfortunate that the guy had recently left the fund.

Actually, the

news of Jacob's possible departure came out just in time for

Kiplinger's

to catch the issue before it went to print. But Deputy Editor Fred Frailey says the magazine decided to keep Jacob on the cover once they found out that he would be starting his own firm and fund. The magazine did rework a little bit of the text in the story to include information about Jacob's departure.

"I'm sure glad he didn't resign a week later," Frailey adds.

No, I don't have any information on Jacob's new firm, but you can keep an eye on his Web site at

www.jacobassetmanagement.com.

Dear Dagen aims to provide general fund information. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell funds or other securities.