Hancock Fires Managers of US Global Leaders Fund

Doug Foreman & Christopher Ainley, managers since

July 17, 2003 -- John Hancock Funds has fired Yeager Wood & Marshall Inc. as the portfolio manager of the $560 million J Hancock US Global Leaders Growth/A (USGLX).

Before dismissing Yeager Wood, Hancock was notified that two principals of the New York-based firm -- George Fraise, one of the fund's managers, and vice president Gordon Marchand -- "had resigned to pursue other opportunities," the fund company said in a statement.

A Hancock spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the statement. George Yeager, the president of Yeager Wood and the fund's other manager, could not be reached for comment.

Hancock will seek another outside manager for the fund, the spokeswoman said. In the interim, it will be run in-house under the supervision of William Braman, the fund complex's chief investment officer, Hancock said.

The fund's investment style will not change, Braman said in the statement, adding that it will continue to look for companies that have "pricing flexibility, recurring revenues and global reach."

Hancock acquired US Global Leaders Growth, which invests in domestic companies, from Yeager Wood last year. The fund returned 8.3% this year through June, compared to gains of 12.4% by its large-cap growth fund peers, and 11.8% by the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.

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