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Rating:Odd Lots, November 5, 1999 Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, November 05, 1999

Odd Lots, November 5, 1999

Reported by Hayley Green

Glass-Steagall almost gone
From The Boston Globe
The Senate yesterday passed the bill that would break down Depression-era barriers among banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. The vote passed 90-8, with seven Republicans and one Democrat saying no to the measure. House passage was expected last night and President Clinton said he was eager to sign it, despite warnings from Democratic critics that it could lead to price-gouging of consumers and to financial conglomerates that are simply too big and powerful. Consumer groups and liberal lawmakers have opposed the legislation on grounds it would jeopardize consumers' financial privacy.

American Century jumps on advice bandwagon
From The Wall Street Journal
American Century Investments plans to roll out a new Web site that will suggest mutual funds that make sense for investors based on their individual circumstances -- and some of the funds won't be their own. American Century is attempting to create an open architecture model, where it also sells other fund companies' portfolios as well. Fidelity, Vanguard, T. Rowe Price and other large fund companies have opened up their supermarkets to accomplish that goal and to keep picky investors happy with a bigger range of choices. The company's new Fund Advisor program will rate and suggest funds from the supermarket and outside it. The site will be free for a few weeks during a trial period. Beginning in the first quarter of 2000, the fund firm plans to charge $80 a year, or $25 a quarter, for the service for investors with less than $50,000 in assets at American Century.

All fees are not the same
From The Wall Street Journal
Money funds are among the simplest mutual funds, but they can differ in expenses even within a single financial firm. The average expense ratio is 0.71% on taxable money funds for retail investors, according to IBC Financial Data Inc, but some funds have annual expenses above 1.5%. Many mutual fund and securities firms have a menu of money funds that offer different features and varying levels of service with correspondingly different expense charges. The highest money fund fees are those on some of the multiple-share-class funds distributed through brokers. B and C shares carry expense ratios that are 0.75 percentage point or a full percentage point higher than those of another share class of the same money fund.

Rankings should reflect governance
From The Wall Street Journal
A group of high powered mutual fund managers are asking publishers of global-market indexes to factor the quality of corporate governance into their rankings. Market indexes directly affect a fund's inflows. This could mean investors are putting money into companies, or countries, that don't treat minority shareholders fairly, don't disclose important information or don't adhere to good accounting standards. TIAA-CREF, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Franklin/Templeton Group's Templeton Emerging Markets Fund Inc., Fidelity Investments, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the state of New York, the Vanguard Group, Tiger Management LLC, and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter were all business who have joined an "investor-responsibility task force".

Fund company buybacks
From TheStreet.com
T.Rowe Price, expanded its 1995 share buyback program, clearing the company to buy up to 5.5 million of its own shares. The buyback announcement comes after similar announcements made by Neuberger Berman and Gabelli Asset Management. Analysts and observers think asset managers will be wallflowers if merger activity picks up, so their stock prices haven't followed suit.


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