From the January 2008 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

January 1, 2008

In Brief

Vanguard has announced that Emerson U. Fullwood was elected to its board of directors and to the board of trustees of each of Vanguard's mutual funds. Fullwood now serves as Xerox's chief staff and marketing officer for North America.

Fullwood is also a member of the board of SPX Corporation as well as the boards of directors for several community organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America.

Eight of Vanguard's nine trustees are independent, with the sole exception being Jack Brennan, chairman and CEO. The independent directors, who have nearly 80 years of combined experience overseeing the Vanguard funds, are: Charles D. Ellis, Rajiv L. Gupta, Amy Gutmann, JoAnn Heffernan Heisen, Andr? F. Perold, Alfred M. Rankin Jr., and J. Lawrence Wilson.

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Fidelity Investments says it plans to launch three new mutual funds: a fund for investing in both developed and emerging markets, Fidelity Total International Equity Fund; an international style-consistent growth fund, Fidelity International Growth Fund; and an asset allocation fund, Fidelity Dynamic Strategies Fund, which will invest in a wide range of underlying investments and is expected to make more aggressive asset allocation shifts than Fidelity's existing asset allocation funds.

The weights of sub-asset classes in the Total International fund will be close to the weight of sub-asset classes in the MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index -- about 40 percent developed value; 40 percent developed growth; 15 percent emerging markets; and five percent small-cap. The International Growth Fund's benchmark index is the MSCI EAFE Growth Index, and its possible holdings include companies that may have higher-than-average price-to-earnings or price-to-book ratios compared with the broad international market or the MSCI EAFE Index.

Fidelity Dynamic Strategies Fund aims to maximize total return by allocating assets among stocks, bonds, short-term and money-market instruments via investments in ETFs, Fidelity funds and individual securities. It may also invest in other asset classes such as commodities and commodities-linked investments.

The three new funds will be sold directly to investors and via advisors at banks, insurance companies and broker-dealers through Fidelity Advisor Total International Equity, Fidelity Advisor International Growth, and Fidelity Advisor Dynamic Strategies funds (Classes A, T, B, C and Institutional).

Fidelity recently tapped Richard R. Mace Jr. as portfolio manager of Fidelity Mega Cap Stock Fund, previously the Fidelity Growth & Income II Portfolio. Mace succeeds James F. Catudal, who continues to manage Fidelity Stock Selector, Fidelity Advisor Growth and Income Fund, and VIP Growth and Income Portfolio.

Fidelity also has named Jane Y. Liou portfolio manager of Fidelity Select IT Services Portfolio, succeeding Benjamin Hesse, who manages Fidelity Select Brokerage and Investment Management Portfolio.

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Lord Abbett says its growing retirement plan business now exceeds 10,000 plans.

"This milestone reflects the progress the firm continues to make in providing investment solutions for business owners and individuals, broadening the access they now have to 401(k) plans," says Steven Lipper, director of retirement marketing. (The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 18 million U.S. businesses do not offer any qualified retirement plans.)

Lord Abbett introduced the "Streamlined 401(k)" in 2006 to help business owners and employees diversify their investment selections by using the firm's five strategic allocation funds. The firm also assists advisors by providing them with tools such as an "intelligence system" to help them find potential clients and an online retirement proposal system.

In October 2007, Lord Abbett hired Marybeth Leithead as a portfolio manager on its municipal bond investment team in October. Previously, Leithead was a portfolio manager and senior team leader at Brown Brothers.

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The Hartford Financial Services Group mutual fund family has exceeded $50 billion in assets under management as of October 1, 2007, doubling its AUM in less than three years -- and boosting it nearly 40 percent from a year ago. The company says retail mutual fund sales are at an all-time high, reaching $10.8 billion through the third quarter of 2007, an increase of 35 percent from the same period in 2006. The Hartford mutual fund family recently ranked as the fastest growing non-proprietary fund family to reach $50 billion in assets by Strategic Insight.

Hartford says it is appointing Keith Sloane, a 23-year industry veteran, to a newly created position of senior vice president in charge of mutual fund and 529 college savings businesses. Sloane spent 12 years at Wachovia Securities and was most recently its managing director of product marketing

"Hitting these new asset and sales milestones and welcoming Keith to our powerful team mark two very important developments for our growing mutual fund business," explains Rob Arena, senior vice president for the firm's retail products group.

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Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com.

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