Closing the value shop
From The Wall Street Journal
Investors continue to leave value funds in droves, favoring the funds that invest in fast-growing companies and have recent double-digit returns. As a result several mutual fund companies this year have liquidated a score of value funds. Funds that have stuck around, however, are suffering from heavy redemptions by shareholders; some have lost 50% to 80% of their assets this year. ESC Strategic Funds closed its $15 million value fund in March. The fund was less than two years old, but an acceleration of monthly outflows -- $1 million in January alone -- caused the fund company to close up shop. Stratton Special Value Fund closed in April, after 16 months because it couldn't attract more than $4.8 million of assets. ABN Amro Asset Management in Amsterdam, Heartland Advisors of Milwaukee, Boston's Loomis Sayles and Invesco Funds Group in Denver, are just a few others who have also closed the value shop.
Janus gets into value
From The Los Angeles Times
Janus Capital Corp., known for betting on fast-growing companies wants to invest in cheap ones too. Janus said it's adding its first fund that will focus on supposedly undervalued companies. The company plans to roll out its Janus Strategic Value Fund on Jan. 31, and hopes to attract investors from a shrinking segment of the market. Analysts said marketing a value fund signals a departure for Janus and is a sign that it plans to broaden its product line as it prepares to go public in a spin-off from parent company Kansas City Southern.
Hancock covers surprise claims
From The Boston Globe
John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. expects to pay out
an extra $32 million this year to cover surprise claims by newly found heirs of burial policies whose owners the insurer never knew had died, The Boston Globe reports. In a rush to find missing customers as it converts to a publicly traded
company, the Boston-based insurer said it expects to find 10% of some 400,000 missing policyholders deceased. This means that Hancock must give policy heirs death benefits, typically $1,000 or less.
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