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John Hancock Fund Manager Quits

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July 21, 2003 — Money manager Bernice Behar, who helped run two John Hancock mutual funds, has left the company.

Hancock portfolio manager Thomas Norton replaced Behar on the $818 million J Hancock Small Cap Growth Fund/A (TAEMX) and the $4.7 million J Hancock Multi Cap Growth Fund/A (JMGAX). He joins Anurag Pandit, who continues as the funds’ co-manager. Norton also is a member of the team that runs J Hancock Mid Cap Growth Fund/A (SPOAX).

A spokeswoman for the fund complex said she did not know Behar’s future plans.

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Hancock Small Cap Growth, which Behar ran with Pandit since 1996, was up 12% this year through June, versus a 17.1% gain for the average small-cap growth fund. The Hancock fund has lagged its peers over the longer term, losing 2.4% on average, versus a loss of 0.3% for its peers, for the five years ended last month. It carries a 2-Star rank from Standard & Poor’s.

Hancock Multi Cap Growth, which Behar and Pandit had run since it began operations in December 2000, returned 17% through the end of the second quarter this year, versus a gain of 11.4% for its large-cap blend peers. The fund is too new to be ranked by Standard & Poor’s.