Hoping to boost sales by advisors of its popular no-load global stock fund, T. Rowe Price has added the fund to its list of Advisor Class products. This brings the number of funds with such shares to 27; Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price offers investors some 90-plus funds, according to Morningstar.
The company's Advisor Class shares, first launched in March 2000, carry a 12b-1 fee of 0.25 percent and must be bought through financial intermediaries. As of March 2006, the funds have $293 billion in assets under management.
"Funds with Advisor Share class have been launched on a fund-by-fund basis as we've identified existing T. Rowe Price mutual funds that have experienced demand or show promise for the intermediary marketplace," explains John Boyd, head of wealth management services for third-party distribution.
"The 12b-1 fees of 25 basis points help to offset the service costs of some financial-intermediary programs, depending on their financial objectives," Boyd adds. This is the case for many advisors, broker-dealers and banks offering fee-based services, the company says.
The T. Rowe Price Global Stock Fund (PRGSX/PAGSX) focuses on investments in 80 to 100 established companies throughout the world, including the United States. It was the top-rated global stock fund in the one- and 10-year periods ending March 31, according to Lipper. Morningstar says the fund, which it classifies as a "world stock fund" has roughly $300 million in assets.
The fund is managed by Robert N. Gensler, who joined T. Rowe Price in 1993. Gensler previously managed the T. Rowe Price Global Technology Fund (PRGTX) and T. Rowe Price Media & Telecommunications (PRMTX) funds. He was a finalist in Morningstar's "International Stock Manager of the Year" contest in 2005.
"We launched the Global Stock Fund Advisor Class shares to round out our offerings and provide another option in our line up of long-term investments," says Mark Mitchell, marketing manager of third-party distribution.
"The global-equities asset class isn't commonly part of a traditional style-box oriented investment plan," adds Boyd, "and we are seeing increased demand for it as part of a modified asset-allocation approach in which advisors dedicate part of a portfolio's allocation to investments that may not represent the traditional style-box categories."
In the first quarter of 2006, T. Rowe Price saw its assets under management grow about 25 percent -- roughly $23 billion. Net investor inflows approached $10 billion. Investment advisory revenues grew 22 percent to $65 million, with average assets under management standing at $282 billion. Investment advisory fees grew to $356 million, up some $65 million from the first quarter of 2005.