Wanger, Zell to Step Down from Acorn Funds

May 1, 2003 -- Ralph Wanger said he plans to cede his role as chief investment officer of Liberty Wanger Asset Management L.P. and as lead manager of the Liberty Acorn Fund/Z (ACRNX) to long-time co-manager Chuck McQuaid, effective September 30.

Wanger, 68, who will remain affiliated with the firm as an advisor, was the founder of Wanger Asset Management, L.P., acquired by Liberty Financial in late 2000.

"Mr. Wanger created a long-time reputation as one of the outstanding value investors in the business and he was not afraid to stand out from the crowd as a contrarian," said Burton Greenwald, a Philadelphia-based mutual fund consultant. "During the halcyon days of growth and technology, some people thought Mr. Wanger may have lost his way, but it turned out his investing philosophy was pretty sound."

McQuaid, 49, will oversee and manage the firm's domestic and international teams managing approximately $9 billion in assets. He has 25 years of experience with Liberty Acorn fund, and has been the fund's co-manager since 1995 and the firm's director of research since 1992.

Joining McQuaid as co-managers on Liberty Acorn Fund, effective May 1, are portfolio managers Rob Mohn of Liberty Acorn USA Fund/A (LAUAX), and John Park of Liberty Acorn Twenty Fund/A (LTFAX).

According to a Liberty Wanger spokeswoman, Mohn and Park will continue to lead the Acorn USA and Acorn Twenty Funds, respectively.

In addition, Leah Zell, 53, will relinquish her role as lead portfolio manager of Liberty Acorn International Fund/A (LAIAX), also effective September 30. Zell, who is Wanger's wife and business partner, will act as an advisor to the firm's international investment activities and remain actively involved with Wanger's European offshore products.

Zachary Egan and Louis Mendes become co-managers of Liberty Acorn International Fund effective May 1.

Egan joined Liberty Wanger Asset Management in 1999 as a European equity specialist. Mendes joined the firm in 2001 from Merrill Lynch Investment Managers where he served for nine years as an analyst and portfolio manager specializing in Asian equity markets.

Ranked 4 Stars by Standard & Poor's, the Liberty Acorn fund gained an average annualized 11.2% for the 10 years ended March 31, versus 8.9% for the average small-cap value fund.

Liberty Acorn International Fund, ranked 3 Stars by Standard & Poor's, gained 5.6% annualized for the 10-year period, versus 3.1% for the average international fund.

Both Wanger and Zell signed five-year contracts when Wanger Asset Management, L.P., Acorn funds' parent, was acquired by Liberty in 2000.

Columbia Management Group, Liberty Wanger's parent, has about $140 billion in investment assets under management, including approximately $40 billion in long-term mutual fund assets.

Fleet Boston Financial (FBF) is Columbia's parent.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.