Franklin Templeton has announced that the Franklin Small Cap Growth Fund II has been reopened to all investors. In addition, the fund’s name changed to Franklin Small Cap Growth Fund, dropping the “II.”
Lord Abbett has introduced a value-added program designed to clarify the current state of the municipal markets for financial advisors and help their clients take advantage of developing opportunities. The effort includes a public Web resource page (see www.lordabbett.com/muniresources), a presentation for financial advisors, and a conference call designed only for financial advisors covering the confluence of events that caused the drop in municipal bond prices.
“Even with the recent declines, underlying market fundamentals remain healthy, and recent price movements and a supply/demand imbalance has, in our opinion, created excellent relative value,” explains Daniel Solender, Lord Abbett director of municipal bond management and portfolio manager.
Lord Abbett manages some $9 billion in tax-free mutual funds and separately managed accounts.
MFS Investment Management says it has introduced the MFS Diversified Target Return Fund (DVRAX), which seeks a target total return that meets or exceeds the rate of inflation over a full market cycle by 5 percentage points. The fund will use an unconstrained benchmark approach, seeking lower correlation and lower volatility relative to the broader equity market to achieve more consistent returns through a combination of individual-security selection, top-down market allocation and active currency management, the company says.
Morningstar has announced that it has released Morningstar Site Builder, a new Web-based platform consisting of Morningstar’s financial advisor tools, content and reports that investment firms can easily add to their existing advisor websites. Site Builder includes investment research, portfolio-analysis tools, and sales and educational materials.
BlackRock recently licensed Morningstar Site Builder for use by advisors as a key component in the launch of its new external financial-professional website. BlackRock’s site has “received accolades from industry sources,” Morningstar says, including Dalbar’s Mutual Fund Web Monitor Q4 ’07 rankings and independent consultant kasina’s 2007 “top 10 websites for financial intermediaries.”
“Financial professionals have a great deal of choice in the asset managers they select on behalf of their clients, which means we need to provide a high level of service and support,” said Scott Finder, managing director of e-business for BlackRock. “Our Web presence is a critical touch point and it needs to provide a positive experience for financial professionals. Trusted investment research and software tool providers like Morningstar help make our site significantly more valuable.”
Dodge & Cox reopened the Dodge & Cox Stock Fund (DODGX) and Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund (DODBX) to new investors. These funds were closed to new investors in 2004, but have remained open to additional investment from existing shareholders.
Both funds have four-star Morningstar ratings. The stock fund has some $56 billion in assets and five-year returns of 14.75 percent; it is down 9 percent in 2008. The balanced fund has about $25 billion in assets and a five-year return of 11.15 percent; it is down 5.8 percent this year.
Putnam Investments has named Jenny S. Morton as head of global consultant relations, reporting to William T. Connolly, senior managing director and head of global distribution. Based in London, Morton will oversee and coordinate Putnam’s consultant relations activities worldwide.
Morton, a CFA, joined Putnam in 2005 as director of consultant relations for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Before joining Putnam, she led Fidelity Investments’ global consultant relations from 2000 to 2005. Putnam has some $185 billion in assets under management, including $110 billion in mutual funds.
Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.