Nov. 6, 2002 -- Firsthand Funds is planning to merge its $23-million Firsthand Communications Fund (TCFQX) into its $409-million Firsthand Technology Value Fund (TVFQX).
"The main reason we want to merge the Communications fund is the poor outlook for the telecommunications sector," said Phil Mosakowski, director of marketing at Firsthand Capital Management.
In a proxy statement filed by Firsthand on October 18, the company wrote: "The devastation in the communications industry in recent years has resulted in fewer quality companies, thereby making it harder for [Communications Fund] to maintain a diversified portfolio of companies in this industry." Firsthand added that shareholders in the Communications fund would have broader exposure to technology companies as a result of the merger, believing that the communications industry may be one of the last sectors to participate in a recovery.
Both portfolios have suffered badly. Year to date through November 5, the Communications fund plunged 58.3%, while the Technology Value fund dropped 55.3%. In calendar 2001, the Communications fund lost 60.7%, and the Technology Value fund lost 44%.
Firsthand's Communications fund invests at least 80% of its assets in communications companies, while the Technology Value fund invests at least 80% of its assets in high-tech companies, and is not limited to companies in the communications industry. Technology Value is managed by Firsthand's president, Kevin Landis, while Communications fund is managed by Firsthand Capital's research team.
Mosakowski said the team that presently manages the Communications fund will continue to run the Firsthand e Commerce Fund (TEFQX) and the Firsthand Global Technology Fund (GTFQX). Landis also runs Firsthand Technology Leaders Fund (TLFQX) and Firsthand Technology Innovators Fund (TIFQX).
The merger, which is subject to shareholder approval, is expected to close on or about December 27.