John Park Quits Columbia Funds

March 11, 2004 -- Columbia Wanger Asset Management said stock picker John Park, who manages three of its mutual funds, will leave the company at the end of next month to join a private equity firm.

Park will become a senior partner with a San Francisco-based firm, Columbia Wanger said. It did not disclose the name of the firm.

A spokesman for Columbia Management Group said Park's departure is not related to allegations of improper market-timing activity in Columbia's mutual funds. Columbia Management and Columbia Wanger are units of FleetBoston Financial (FBF).

Ben Andrews, an analyst, will succeed Park as lead manager of the Columbia Acorn Select Fund/A (LTFAX) and the Wanger Twenty Fund. Andrews was named co-manager of the funds today.

Charles McQuaid and Robert Mohn will continue to oversee the Columbia Acorn Fund/A (LACAX), which Park also helps run. Mohn, the lead manager of the Columbia Acorn USA Fund/A (LAUAX), also was named to succeed Park as director of domestic research for Columbia Wanger.

Andrews's investment style is "very similar" to Park's, a Columbia Wanger spokeswoman said. Both look for reasonably priced stocks of companies that are expected to grow, she said.

Park joined Columbia Acorn Select in late 2000. For the three years ended last month, the fund returned 11.8% on average, versus a loss of 2.7% for its mid-cap value fund peers.

Columbia Wanger also said the boards of Columbia Acorn Select and Wanger Twenty have approved increasing the maximum number of stocks the funds can invest in to 40 from 25, starting May 1. The change is intended to give the funds "some flexibility should market opportunities arise" that "make it attractive to own a limited number of smaller positions," the company said.

In addition, the Wanger Twenty fund will be renamed the Wanger Select Fund, starting in May.

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