Open door policy
From CBS Marketwatch.com
The MetaMarkets.com Open fund is using the Internet to open a new chapter in mutual fund investing. The MetaMarkets.com Web site shows a live video camera focused directly on the trading floor, alongside a list of all the fund's trades throughout the day, and a short explanation of why each stock was bought or sold -- all updated within a minute of each trade. Donald Luskin, the chief executive, will maintain an unusually interactive relationship with shareholders, exchanging e-mail and hosting chat-room discussions. Final authority will still rest with him and the portfolio managers.
Emerging markets extinctions
From The Wall Street Journal
Despite an impressive comeback by stocks in emerging markets last year, a number of asset-management firms are quietly restructuring or liquidating funds devoted to these countries. Chase Manhattan shut down seven funds dedicated to Latin America, Asia and other emerging markets at the end of last month. Credit Suisse is considering merging two Latin American and two emerging-markets funds. CIBC World Market's Mexico Equity and Income fund will close pending shareholder approval, and the Five Arrows Chile fund, the third largest foreign investment fund in that country, recently voted recently to liquidate. The moves reflect shrinking investor enthusiasm for funds devoted to the developing world, and a turn towards broadly diversified international funds.
Trimark takeover talks
From The New York Times
Canadian fund company Trimark Financial is having takeover talks, the company admitted. No details were released, but Putnam and AIM were reported to be interested. Neither company would discuss the matter.
IPO funds re-open
The H&Q IPO & Emerging Company fund was once as hot as the IPO shares it primarily buys. The fund closed to new investors on Dec. 30 with more than $500 million in assets, just a month after it opened. Now, with the asset value is down almost 40% over the past month and reduced interest in risky tech stocks, the fund is re-opening. The company says it needs cash to take advantage of new buying opportunities. Putnam, citing the same reason, is re-opening three hard-hit growth funds.
SEC says that commissions are a conflict
From Investment News
The SEC says that most advisers who take commission payments have a "serious conflict of interest with clients." Fee-only advisers and consumer groups welcomed the SECís stance, which came as a shock to some. A new disclosure form would require advisers to disclose all conflicts of interest, including "soft dollars." They would also have to state how much clients pay for brokerage fees, fund expenses and other costs. The SEC is also proposing that all registered advisers file their forms electronically over the internet later this year. That could increase competitive pressure by exposing advisersí fees and business practices to potential clients, competitors and the media.
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