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Executive Briefings


NEWS SCAN

Pyxis Takes High Road Back to Highland

After less than a year of striking out on its own, Pyxis Capital is right back to where it started.

The Dallas-based alternative mutual fund shop, formerly named Highland Funds Asset Management, last week filed to change its name to Highland Capital Management Fund Advisors and all of its funds will bear the Highland moniker going forward.

Nuveen's Doll Takes on L/S Fund

Robert Doll has been named portfolio manager of the Nuveen Santa Barbara Long/Short Equity Fund, according to a regulatory filing. He is joined by co-PMs Anthony Burger and Scott Tonneson.

Schooner Sinks Absolute Return Fund

Schooner Investment Group, the investment adviser to the Schooner Global Absolute Return Fund, is liquidating the alternative mutual fund on March 13, according to a regulatory filing.

The fund, which launched in November 2011, is closed to new investors as of February 11.

US Mutual Funds Set Torrid Pace

The US mutual fund industry is set to surpass $15 trillion in assets in February, according to data from Strategic Insight.

January set a record for the fund industry with net intake for stock and bond mutual funds of $90 billion, more than triple the average 2012 monthly experience. Last year, the average month netted under $30 billion of inflows.

Numbers include open- and closed-end funds, as well as exchange-traded funds.

And the Best Mutual Fund Family of 2012 Was...

Who had the best mutual fund family in 2012?

Putnam Investment Management took the honors in Barron's/Lipper Fund Family Ranking, rising like a phoenix from the ashes (namely, rank 57) of 2011. Putnam was followed by PIMCO and The Hartford Mutual Funds.

PRODUCTS

Franklin Moves Closer to Active ETF Launch

It's almost here. Finally.

Franklin Templeton Investments is one step closer to launching its maiden active exchange-traded fund, dubbed the Franklin Short Duration Government ETF.

According to a regulatory filing, the fund will bet on mortgage-backed securities including adjustable rate mortgage securities (ARMs) as well as Treasury bonds. The portfolio managers for the new offering are Roger Bayston and Patrick Klein.

DTCC Gets a Tech Upgrade

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation has added new capabilities to one of its payment systems.

DTCC now offers enhanced automation on DTCC Payment aXis, a streamlined service for fund companies and intermediaries to transmit commission and fee data and payments among National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) member firms.

Persimmon Offers Maiden Mutual Fund

Blue Bell, PA-based wealth management shop Persimmon Capital Management has launched its first mutual fund, Persimmon Long/Short Fund (LSEAX), a multi-advisor mutual fund that employs long/short equity strategies. The fund started trading with $25 million of assets under management.

LSEAX launched with six sub-advisors including: M.A. Weatherbie & Co., Sonica Capital, Open Field Capital, Caerus Global Investors, Turner Investments and ISF Management. The fund is distributed by Northern Lights Distributors.

First Trust Makes Second Active ETF Offering

First Trust Advisors has launched a new actively managed exchange-traded fund to bet on preferred securities and income-producing debt securities, including corporate bonds, high-yield securities and convertible securities.

The First Trust Preferred Securities and Income ETF (FPE) will be subadvised by Stonebridge Advisors, a Wilton, CT-based Registered Investment Advisor. The fund sports an expense ratio of 85 basis points.

PIMCO Adds to Active ETF Lineup

PIMCO last week launched the PIMCO Foreign Currency Strategy Exchange Traded Fund (FORX) to bet on fundamental changes in global currency markets.

The fund will be jointly managed by Scott Mather, managing director and head of global portfolio management; Vineer Bhansali, managing director and head of quantitative investment portfolios; and Thomas Kressin, senior vice president and head of European foreign exchange.

ARRIVALS

Legg Mason Said to Name Sullivan Chief Executive Officer

Legg Mason named interim chief executive officer Joseph Sullivan as CEO, ending a five-month search for a leader to reverse five years of client redemptions and calm restive fund affiliates, according to a person familiar with the matter.

BlackRock Names New CFO

Time for a role call at BlackRock, which announced changes to its executive ranks last week.

Gary Shedlin will join the firm as senior managing director and chief financial officer. He will serve as a member of the global executive committee and report to chairman and chief executive officer Laurence Fink.

Columbia Finds its Knight

Veteran portfolio manager Jeffrey Knight, who recently left Putnam Investments, has turned up at Columbia Management as Head of Global Asset Allocation. Knight will oversee an existing suite of asset allocation solutions, including institutional strategies and mutual funds.

Knight most recently served in the same capacity at Putnam, where he began his career in 1993 as senior quantitative analyst in the Global Asset Allocation Group.

DEPARTURE

PIMCO's Mortgage Head Wants to Focus on 'My Life and My Wife'

The old adage of 'happy wife, happy life," is ringing louder for Scott Simon, a managing director at Pacific Investment Management Co. who heads mortgage- and asset-backed securities investing.

Simon, 52, said in a telephone interview he plans to retire at the end of May after 13 years with the Newport Beach, California-based firm to focus on "my life and my wife." Before PIMCO, Simon was at Bear Stearns Cos., where he was co-head of pass-through mortgage bond trading.

A Tributary Exec Retires

Omaha, NE-based Tributary Capital Management is reshuffling its investment team on the heels of an impending resignation.

Effective February 15, Randall Greer will be retiring from Tributary Capital Management and will no longer serve as a portfolio manager on the Tributary Core Equity Fund, according to a regulatory filing. Also, Christopher Sullivan will no longer serve as co-PM of the fund.


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