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Fremont Funds Hires Two Portfolio Managers

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May 19, 2004 — Fremont Funds has hired First Quadrant L.P., which uses a computer model to pick stocks, to manage two of its mutual funds.

Christopher Luck, director of equities management for Quadrant, and R. Max Darnell, its chief investment officer and director of research, took over the $74-million Fremont Mutual Fds:Structured Core Fund (FEQFX), and joined the team that oversees the $250-million Fremont Mutual Fds:Global Fund (FMAFX) on May 7.

Luck and Darnell succeeded Debra McNeill on both funds. McNeill resigned to start a “quantitative consulting business,” said Fremont Funds spokeswoman Patricia Harden. McNeill had been responsible for quantitative product research for the fund complex, according to its Web site.

Harden said McNeill’s resignation was not related to potential legal action against the investment adviser to Fremont Funds by the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with improper trading activities. Fremont Investment Advisors received a so-called Wells notice from the SEC in January. The notice indicates that the SEC staff has made a preliminary decision to recommend that the agency initiate a civil action.

The new managers are responsible for the U.S. stock portion of the Global Fund, which invests in domestic and international stocks and bonds and also holds cash. Their portion of the fund currently has $49 million in assets, Harden said.

The investment strategy of the two funds will not change under their new managers, Harden said. The computer screen First Quadrant uses identifies companies whose earnings are expected to rise and whose shares are “relatively inexpensive,” Fremont Funds said in a regulatory filing. Both funds carry a 2-Star rank by Standard & Poor’s.

First Quadrant, which manages assets for businesses, institutions and wealthy individuals, was overseeing $11 billion at the end of last year, Fremont Funds said.