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Berger Plans Tech Fund

Berger Associates is expanding a joint partnership begun last year to add a retail technology fund to the Berger Funds lineup.

Berger, the $3.4 billion no-load fund family in Denver, is planning to merge the InformationTech 100 Fund into the newly-created Berger Information Technology Fund later this year. Bay Isle Financial Corp. of San Francisco, the firm which currently is the adviser to InformationTech, will be sub-adviser to the new fund. William Schaff, InformationTech's portfolio manager, will continue to run the new fund.

In December, Berger and Bay Isle said they had formed a joint venture to manage two separate products - a large capitalization value account and a real estate investment trust account for institutional investors. Berger President Jerry Levin said at the time that the arrangement allowed Berger to expand its product line. The separate accounts were geared toward investment advisors using Charles Schwab, the companies said in a statement in December.

In an SEC filing April 16, Berger said that as part of that joint venture, it had received an option to purchase an ownership interest in Bay Isle. The value of Bay Isle and what Berger paid for its option were not disclosed. Executives from Berger and Bay Isle were not available for comment.

The InformationTech fund is up nearly 56 percent since its inception in April, 1997, according to Wiesenberger, the fund tracking firm in Rockville, Md.

The InformationTech fund could help Berger Funds expand sales.