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Fund Management Shuffle

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Oppenheimer Funds said on Wednesday that Jane Putnam, who has managed the $3.2-billion Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation Fund (OPTFX) for ten years, plans to take a leave of absence from the company.

Oppenheimer said Putnam will be replaced by stock picker William Wilby, who will leave the $13.1-billion Oppenheimer Global Fund (OPPAX) that he has piloted for 13 years. Wilby, Oppenheimer’s senior investment officer and director of equities, will be joined on Capital Appreciation by Marc Baylin, a former portfolio manager with JP Morgan Fleming Investment Management.

Rajeev Bhaman will continue as manager of the Global fund, which he has run with Wilby since last year. Bhaman had worked with Wilby on the fund for seven or eight years before becoming co-manager, an Oppenheimer spokesman said.

Putnam will step down before the end of the year to spend more time with her family, Oppenheimer said. She has not decided whether or not she will return, or when, the spokesman, Bruce Dunbar said.

Baylin, who had been in charge of large-cap growth investing at JP Morgan Fleming, is expected to join Oppenheimer by September 6, Oppenheimer said. Prior to joining JP Morgan Fleming in June 2002, Baylin was with T.Rowe Price Group (TROW), where he served as an analyst, and at one point also managed the T. Rowe Price New America Growth Fund (PRWAX).

The investment style of the Capital Appreciation fund will not change as a result of Putnam’s departure, Dunbar said. The investment styles of Wilby and Putnam are “somewhat similar” in that both are “price-conscious growth investors,” he said.

Capital Appreciation was up 1.5% this year through July, versus a gain of 2.8% for its large-cap growth fund peers gained. For the ten years ended last month, the fund returned 10.4%, on average, versus a gain of 7.2% for similar funds. Capital Appreciation is ranked 3 Stars by Standard & Poor’s.

Oppenheimer Global gained 4.5% through last month, compared to a 3.1% rise by its global equity fund peers. For the ten years ended in July, the Global fund registered an average annualized return of 12.6%, versus a gain of 7.5% for its peers. The portfolio is ranked 4 Stars by Standard & Poor’s. has more mutual fund news from Standard & Poor’s available here.


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