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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thornburg Goes Global

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Thornburg chief Brian McMahon likes to point out that the fund firm has "always done things a little differently." That description now applies to the firm's two-week-old equity fund, says the Thornburg president and chief investment officer.

The Santa Fe, New Mexico-based firm opened the doors on the Thornburg Global Opportunities Fund on July 28. The fund offers class A and C shares (with total annual operating expenses of 233 and 308 basis points each, respectively).

Meanwhile, Thornburg executives are already mulling over their next entry into the equity fund arena? While McMahon nixed an ETF or emerging market fund addition to its line-up, there may be a possibility for a global fund. Vinson Walden, a managing director and portfolio manager, sees the company perhaps creating an international or global growth fund, or perhaps an Asia fund.

So what makes the Global Opportunities Fund different from all the other foreign funds out there?

Walden, who serves as co-portfolio manager for the fund alongside McMahon, says it boils down to focus, patience and "geographic flexibility". According to Walden, the fund currently holds less than forty companies (and he estimates that the fund's long-run average holding time for a stock might eventually be three to five years). Contrast that with the 140 or so stocks held by the average global fund, Walden says, and you see a different.

Work on the new fund began roughly a year ago, according to McMahon and Walden.

"In a global economy, money managers need to be globally oriented," McMahon told reporters Tuesday at a press luncheon, citing Thornburg's success with the Thornburg International Value Fund and the Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund. "We decided we ought to do a 'normal' global fund."

Walden described the new fund as a "hybrid of the other four" equity funds offered by the firm, a "natural evolution". Though the fund only just officially launched, Walden said that the firm's international equity team has been running a model of it for about a year. Like all Thornburg's funds, the Global Opportunity Fund is starting small, primarily with seed money from the firm's partners. 

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