February 5, 2012

Top Portfolio Products: Bennett, First Eagle Funds Launched; Forward Long/Short Fund Coming to Wirehouses

A long/short commodity fund is now available at Merrill and Morgan Stanley, as more traditional funds (including a fixed-income fund) are rolled out.

New products introduced over the last week include four funds from the Bennett Group and extended availability of a long/short fund from Forward Management. In addition, First Eagle launched a high-yield fund.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Bennett Group Launches Funds for Professionals/Clients

Dawn Bennett, CEO and founder of Bennett Group Financial ServicesDawn Bennett (left), CEO and founder of Bennett Group Financial Services, announced Tuesday the launch of four mutual funds currently consisting of A shares available through financial professionals, banks, brokerages and insurance companies for their clients: the Bennett Conservative Fund (BFNAX); Bennett Moderate Fund (BFMAX); Bennett Growth Fund (BFOAX); and Bennett Aggressive Growth Fund (BFAAX). Bennett, a Washington D.C.-based private account wealth manager, serves as chief portfolio manager for the funds.

Bennett Conservative Fund seeks capital preservation and, secondarily, long term capital appreciation; Bennett Moderate Fund seeks a balance of capital preservation and long-term capital appreciation; Bennett Growth Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation and, secondarily, capital preservation; Bennett Aggressive Growth Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation.

2) Forward’s Long/Short Strategy Fund Now with Wirehouses

Forward Management, LLC announced Jan. 26 that its Forward Commodity Long/Short Strategy Fund (FCMLX), managed by Nathan Rowader, is now available at Merrill Lynch (BAC) and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MS). It is also available at Charles Schwab, Fidelity, LPL Financial, Matrix Clearing, Pershing and TD Ameritrade. Forward recently introduced Class M shares (FCMSX) for use in fee-based advisor platforms and retirement accounts. According to Lipper ratings, the fund is the leader for one-year (total return) performance among 36 peers eligible in the “commodities general” category for the period ended December 31, 2011.

Designed to produce positive returns in both upward and downward-trending commodity markets, the fund invests broadly across the 24 commodities in the S&P GSCI Index. It is one of the very few pure commodity-focused long/short mutual funds currently available. The strategy is a trend-following approach that uses volatility-adjusted momentum to invest long or short in commodities that rank highest in positive or negative returns over previous months, subject to diversification rules. Rankings are recalculated and the portfolio is rebalanced monthly.

3) First Eagle High-Yield Fund Launched

First Eagle announced on Feb. 1 that it has launched its first fixed-income fund, the First Eagle High Yield Fund (FEHAX, FEHIX). The fund’s objective is to provide individual and institutional investors with a high level of current income. Co-managers Edward Meigs and Sean Slein employ a fundamental bottom-up research approach to identify investment opportunities in all stages of the credit cycle.

The fund commenced operations in its present form on December 30, and is successor to another mutual fund pursuant to a reorganization on December 30. Information prior to December 30 is for this predecessor fund.

Read the Jan. 27 Top Portfolio Products at AdvisorOne.

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