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Executive Briefings


Stock Funds Down $4.4B, Bond Funds Up $6.6B

The pullout from domestic stock funds continued last week, to the tune of $3.7 billion. When international funds get counted, the drop for stocks was $4.4 billion, according to Investment Company Institute stats.

But bond funds pulled in another $6.6 billion in the week ending August 29.

All told, investors have pulled $545.9 billion out of domestic stock funds since the start of 2007.

Virtus Eyes Options With Rampart

Multi-manager shop Virtus Investment Partners has added Rampart Investment Management, which specializes in customized options strategies for institutional and high-net-worth clients, as a wholly owned affiliate of Virtus.

Barrington Partners represented Rampart in the deal, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.

Advisor Group Cuts Clients' Fees, Amid Pricing Pressure

In a nod to competitive pricing pressure roiling the financial services industry, Advisor Group, one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the nation, has eliminated, or drastically reduced, the mutual fund fees it was charging to clients of its financial advisors.

Effective August 1, clients no longer pay mutual fund fees associated with exchanges, systematic transactions, account inactivity and low balances.

Other fees involving mutual fund-only IRAs also were reduced.

Hartford Cashes Out of Retirement Business

The Hartford is taking another step towards focusing on its mutual fund business by agreeing to sell its retirement plans business to rival Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company for $400 million.

The sale, which is structured as a reinsurance transaction, is expected to close by the end of 2012. The Hartford's financial advisors for the divestiture are Greenhill & Co. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. and the company's legal advisors are Sidley Austin LLP.

Beacon Hill Snags Beantown Mandate

Boston Trust Investment Management has selected BHIL Distributors, the affiliated broker-dealer of Beacon Hill Fund Services, to provide principal underwriter and distribution services to the Boston Trust & Walden Funds.

Boston Trust currently manages a family of 10 mutual funds.

Do Catholic Fund Managers Take More Risk?

Does religion play a key part in the way investors and managers place bets on their mutual funds?

The answer is "Yes," according to new research from the University of Georgia and Southern Methodist University.

Specifically, the findings show that mutual funds headquartered in heavily Catholic areas tend to take more risks and funds in heavily Protestant areas take less risks, said lead author Tao Shu, assistant professor of banking and finance in the UGA Terry College of Business.


Thomas White Equity Funds Offer New Share Classes

Chicago-based Thomas White Funds has launched three new classes of shares for two of its no-load, foreign equity funds: the flagship Thomas White International Fund (TWWDX) and the Thomas White Emerging Markets Fund (TWEMX).

The new share classes-A Shares, C Shares and I Shares-will allow the funds to be available to a wider range of investors, the firm stated. The new share classes became available on Aug. 31.

Eaton Vance Rolls Out Four Equity Funds

Eaton Vance Management has launched four new Eaton Vance-sponsored mutual funds sub-advised by Hexavest, a Montreal-based investment manager in which Eaton Vance recently acquired a 49% ownership interest.

Aston Reopens Small Cap Fund

The ASTON/River Road Independent Value Fund is reopening to new investors starting Sept. 4, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The $622 million fund, which launched in December 2010, has been closed to new investors since last December. It is managed by Eric Cinnamond and sports an expense ratio of 142 basis points.


Pax World Seeks Marketing Chief

Keith Bernard, former Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, at Pax World Management, has left the firm, Money Management Executive has confirmed.

Bernard was responsible for repositioning the firm's growth from the socially responsible investing market to target mainstream advisors, retirement plan sponsors and investors.

A spokesman for the firm declined to comment on Bernard's departure. The firm has posted a job opening for a head of marketing at the firm.

Vanguard's Veteran PM Sets Sights on Retirement

A long-time Vanguard portfolio manager is calling it quits after some 38 years in the business. Edward Owens, portfolio manager of Vanguard Health Care Fund, plans to retire on December 31, according to the firm.

Owens, a senior vice president and partner of Wellington Management Company, has managed the Health Care Fund since its inception in 1984 and is Vanguard's longest-tenured external portfolio manager.

Former T. Rowe Treasurer Passes Away

William "Bill" Scriba, a former T. Rowe Price treasurer and vice president, died on Aug. 28 at his residence in an assisted-living community in Sunnyvale, Calif., of undetermined causes, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Scriba began working for T. Rowe Price in 1961 and became treasurer and vice president in 1970. He retired in 1985.


Neuberger Snags Ex-MFS National Accounts Chief