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Rating:Fund Investors Are Unhappy Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, January 10, 2002

Fund Investors Are Unhappy

Reported by InvestmentWires Staff, 

Berger Funds has taken the wraps off its new Berger IPT-Mid Cap Value Fund and Berger IPT-Large Cap Value Fund for variable variable products (see "Berger Continues VA Push). The funds had been in registration. The midcap fund is managed by Tom Perkins and Bob Perkins with Jeff Kautz while the large cap fund is managed by Bill Schaff and Steve Block.

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Heartland Advisorshas promoted D. Rodney Hathaway to portfolio co-manager of the Heartland Value Plus Fund. He joins lead manager M. Gerard Sandel and William J. Nasgovitz. Hathaway joined Heartland in 1997 and has been a research analyst.

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Baby Boomer are likely to spend their retirement years paying off debt, according to a survey by Allstate Financial. The survey found that 58 percent of Baby Boomers will spend their retirement paying off car loans, a home mortgage or credit card debt or all of the above.

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Rodney Collins resigned his fund manager position at J. & W. Seligman & Co. Collins had managed the $2.7 billion Tri-Continental closed-end fund since October and co-managed the $468 million Seligman Common Stock fund, the $168 million Seligman Income fund, and the $5 million Seligman Tax-Aware fund. He will be replaced by Ben-Ami Gradwohl and David Guy on the Tri-Continental fund. Both had previously been analysts with the fund.

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Mutual fund investors are facing losses out of proportion to those in the stock market. John Waggoner writes in USA Today (see article) that many funds neither eased losses as the market fell nor rebounded smartly with the recovery. The average large-cap fund lost 17.9 percent in 2001 compared to an 11.9 percent loss in the S&P 500. Waggoner warns that "another downturn could devastate the investor confidence that funds have worked for three decades to restore."

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The media is picking up on the conflict between state tax laws and Federal regulation created by the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act (EGTRA). USA Today reports (see article) that no less than 14 states have laws conflict with increased federal savings limits for 401(k), individual retirement accounts and other qualified savings plans. The conflict between state law and federal code puts plan participants at risk of owing penalties. States seem unwilling to change their code for fear of losing tax revenues.

States with laws conflicting with EGTRA:

North Carolina
South Carolina

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Cigna Corp. will cut 2,000 jobs as it restructures its health care business. The insurer also said its profits fell at its pension business as declining stock prices sliced management fees. The cuts will come at customer service operations, claims processing and other systems.

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Merrill Lynch is taking a $1.7 billion charge as it plans to eliminate up to 9,000 positions. That amount includes $500 million in office space costs related to the World Trade Center. The cuts come along with speculation that new president Stanley O'Neal is gussying up the firm for a possible sale. O'Neal said that the cuts mark a change in focus from winning market share to building profitability. Share in Merrill Lynch have appreciated more than 50 percent since O'Neal started his housecleaning last Fall.

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An unscientific survey of reader mail by the Boston Globe's Steven Syre and Charles Stein shows that 401(k) investors do not want new regulations governing how they are able to invest plan monies, the authors contend (See article). What they want, says the paper, is freedom of choice. The poll was in response to an article detailing the Boxer-Corzine Bill in the Senate. The reader mail also revealed that participants are angry at companies that prevent employees from moving 401(k) money out of company stock.  

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