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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Top Rochester Manager Departs OppFunds

News summary by MFWire's editors

The senior manager for the Rochester funds will retire from OppenheimerFunds next month. On Thursday the New York City-based mutual fund firm revealed that Ronald Fielding will hand the top Rochester municipal bond fund portfolio management spot over to Daniel Loughran on May 21. Loughran, a 45-year-old senior vice president and senior portfolio manager, has already served as team leader for the Rochester funds since January 2006.

The move by Fielding, 60, comes as the Rochester muni bond funds face attacks in both the press and the courts, following rough performance in the market downturn of 2008 (see MFWire, 12/15/2008, 12/24/2008, 1/8/2009 and 4/16/2009).

Fielding founded the Rochester Funds in 1983, and OppFunds bought the business (which now includes 18 muni bond funds with $21.6 billion in assets, as of April 15) in 1996. Loughran joined Fielding's team in 1994.

OppFunds CEO William Glavin praised Fielding for helping the firm "extend its reach among American investors."

"The municipal bonds his funds have championed have helped community-building efforts throughout the United States," Glavin stated. "As an organization, we will miss his insights and spot-on analogies about municipal market trends, but we have full confidence in Dan [Loughran[ and the rest of the team he and Ron built."

Company Press Release

ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- OppenheimerFunds, Inc. announced today that Ronald H. Fielding -- who has managed the Oppenheimer Rochester municipal bond funds, and their predecessors, The Rochester Funds for more than 25 years -- will retire next month. Daniel G. Loughran, senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and team leader of Rochester's investment team, will continue in his role and become the senior-most investment manager at OppenheimerFunds' Rochester division, effective May 21, 2009.

Mr. Loughran, 45, and Mr. Fielding, 60, have worked side by side since 1994, when Loughran joined The Rochester Funds. The company then managed three funds with less than $4 billion in assets under management. It was acquired by OppenheimerFunds in 1996, and today the Rochester complex includes 18 municipal bond funds with combined assets of $21.6 billion (as of April 15, 2009).

"Dan has demonstrated consistently strong leadership skills from the start of his career and his work on the Rochester team has delivered significant benefits to our long-term investors," said Mr. Fielding. "I am certain that he will continue to bring the right combination of expertise, experience and professionalism to the tasks and challenges that lie ahead."

As team leader of the Rochester complex since January 2006, Mr. Loughran has had day-to-day management responsibilities for the Rochester investment team, which consists of seven portfolio managers and nine credit research analysts who work collaboratively on investment and trading decisions.

Mr. Loughran said he was honored to succeed Mr. Fielding, who is widely regarded as a pioneer and one of the country's foremost experts in municipal securities. "I am far from alone in thinking that the current popularity of municipal bond funds among American investors can be traced, in part, to Ron's knowledge and enthusiasm," Mr. Loughran said. "His contrarian approach to municipal fund management has helped millions of long-term investors achieve their goals for high tax-free income over the years."

The Oppenheimer Rochester family of municipal bond funds currently includes: Rochester Fund Municipals, a long-term municipal bond fund for New York investors; Oppenheimer Rochester National Municipals, a high yield municipal bond fund for investors nationwide; Oppenheimer AMT-Free Municipals, a fund that will not increase an investor's exposure to the federal alternative minimum tax; three limited term funds that invest predominantly in investment-grade municipal securities and maintain shorter average effective maturities than longer-term funds; and 12 other state-specific funds for investors in Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The Rochester team's style of fund management involves creating diverse portfolios of municipal securities from a wide assortment of industry sectors. Unlike many of its competitors, the team chooses to invest across the entire credit spectrum and its historic results have often been driven by the high levels of tax-free yield that non-rated and below-investment-grade securities have offered. The Rochester style also focuses on high-quality small issues, premium-coupon callable bonds and securities trading in the secondary market.

Mr. Loughran joined The Rochester Funds in October 1994. He earned a bachelor's degree in management science, with a concentration in finance, from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He holds a Master's of Business Administration in finance from Pace University and earned a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1996. He is a member of the CFA Institute, the CFA Society of Rochester and also serves on the board of the Geneseo Foundation. Prior to joining The Rochester Funds, Mr. Loughran worked at Morgan Stanley & Company and Bank of America.

Mr. Fielding was the founder and president of Fielding Management Company, Inc., and co-founder of Rochester Capital Advisors, L.P., the two investment advisors to The Rochester Funds, which were established in 1983. Mr. Fielding holds a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., and a master's of economics and an M.B.A. in finance from the School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester. He earned a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1981 and is a member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Rochester. Earlier in his career, he held positions at banks that are now part of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Mr. Fielding serves on the boards of St. John's College and the ICI Mutual Insurance Company in Washington, D.C. He has taught economics and business at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester. He will continue in his current capacities as senior vice president and senior portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds' Rochester division until May 20, 2009.

"Ron Fielding has helped OppenheimerFunds extend its reach among American investors, and the municipal bonds his funds have championed have helped community-building efforts throughout the United States," said William F. Glavin, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of OppenheimerFunds. "As an organization, we will miss his insights and spot-on analogies about municipal market trends, but we have full confidence in Dan and the rest of the team he and Ron built."

About OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

OppenheimerFunds, Inc. is one of the nation's largest and most respected investment management companies. The Oppenheimer funds managed by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and a subsidiary have more than 6 million shareholder accounts.

Shares of mutual funds are not deposits or obligations of any bank, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency, and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested.

The products and services of OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and its controlled affiliates include: mutual funds, qualified retirement plans for individuals and corporations, investment management for institutions and sub-advisory services. OppenheimerFunds is widely recognized as a leader in educating and empowering investors and for its award-winning customer service.

Before investing in any of the Oppenheimer funds, investors should carefully consider a fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Fund prospectuses contain this and other information about the funds, and may be obtained by asking your financial advisor, calling us at 1.800. 525.7048 or visiting our website at www.oppenheimerfunds.com. Read prospectuses carefully before investing.

Oppenheimer funds are distributed by OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc., Two World Financial Center, 225 Liberty Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10281. OppenheimerFunds, Inc. is a member of the MassMutual Financial Group and is not affiliated with Oppenheimer & Co, Inc. or Oppenheimer Capital. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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