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Rating:Chase Unit Offers $5 Fund Buys Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, November 29, 2001

Chase Unit Offers $5 Fund Buys

Reported by InvestmentWires Staff, 

It is still getting cheaper for fund buyers doing their shopping online. Brown & Company, the deep-discount brokerage unit of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is slicing fees for fund transactions to $5 from $19 as long for orders placed online. The new pricing applies to both load and no-load funds. "The $5 Mutual Fund transaction fee is extremely competitive and is part of our strategy to offer the right combination of pricing and value to our experienced customer base," explained said Kelly Mathieson, senior vice president for marketing at Brown & Company.

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Springfield-based Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company is cutting 112 workers of its 6,500 employees. The layoffs will hit the insurer's information technology area, according to the Boston Herald. The cuts will include 93 jobs in Springfield and 19 in Hartford.

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American Century Investments has closed its relatively new Small Cap Value Fund to new investors. The fund was a fast grower. Its assets ballooned from $19 million at the end of 1999 to $108 million in 2000 and more than $1 billion today. The firm explained the move as way to maintain the fund's emphasis on smaller value-styled companies. The fund was opened just a little more than three years ago on July 31, 1998. "With its small cap focus, the fund needed to retain a reasonable size to maintain its effectiveness in the small cap value markets," said Spence Fitzgibbons, American Century's vice president of product management. "Closing the fund stresses our commitment to provide superior investment results to our shareholders."

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The Bank of Montreal has agreed to buy CFSB Direct and its one million accouts for $520 million. The online broker will be merged with Harris InvestorLine and renamed as Harris Direct Investing. The deal marks the exit from the online brokerage business for Credit Suisse First Boston and is part of an effort to contain costs at the firm. CEO John Mack explained that CSFB is focusing on institutional investors, companies and wealthy individuals. CSFB Direct employs 660 people while Harris InvestorLine employs 175. Job cuts are reportedly a possibility once the staffs are combined.

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T. Rowe Price and Charles Schwab came out as number one and two respectively for their retirement plan statements, according to Dalbar. Both firms' statements were produced by Art Plus Technology. The T. Rowe Price statement allows participant level customization.

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Is social investing an oxymoron? A decade ago many thought it was but the niche is growing despite the naysayers. This week the Social Investment Forum, a trade group for the industry segment, reported that assets in screened portfolios grew 36 percent since 1999 compared to 22 percent growth for all professionally managed assets. Total socially-screened assets are now $2.03 trillion, up from $1.49 trillion in 1999. All professionally-managed assets total $19.9 trillion, up from $16.3 trillion in 1999. The group also reports that there are now 230 US mutual funds using social screening in their investment process compared to 168 in 1999. Assets in these funds were $153 billion in 2001 and $154 billion in 1999.

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There is always an angle for a dedicated fund marketer to play. The Pax World High Yield Fund is trumpeting its second birthday by pointing out that the fund is ranked in the top 9 percent of its peer group by Lipper for the past 12 months. The fund gained 3.78 percent against an average loss of 4.00 percent for the Lipper High Current Yield Fund Average.

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Two MFS investment pros are leaving the firm. Fund manager and fixed income chief Joan Batchelder is retiring and Geoffrey Kurinsky comanager of the MFS Bond Fund is leaving the firm for unrelated reasons. Rob Manning will succeed the 57-year-old Batcheider and William Adams, comanager of the MFS Bond Fund will continue as the fund's sole manager.  

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