Janus Will Win Berger Assets
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Monday, December 02, 2002

Janus Will Win Berger Assets

The trustees of Berger Financial's mutual funds are preparing to formally tap Janus Capital as the advisor to more than $1 billion of its assets. Word of the imminent assignment was first reported this morning by the Wall Street Journal. The hand-off was spurred by a reorganization of Stilwell Financial into Janus Capital, which is set for the end of this year.

The paper reported that the board will announce the decision to go with Janus as advisor to 13 funds as early as this week. Although the decision had the appearances of a fait accompli since Janus owns Berger, the board did entertain offers from rival fund managers, including Turner Funds, Fred Alger and American Century. In the most likely scenario, the Berger funds will be merged or integrated into the Janus brand.

Not making the trip over to Janus will be the Berger sales team and other support staff. That team, including David Mertens, head of Berger's sales force, was let go earlier this year, according to sources familiar with the matter. The sources told the that the team was offered a generous severance.

At last month's Schwab Impact 2002 in Washington D.C. Berger's did offer a booth under its own name to court the advisors in attendance. The sales team manning the exhibit, however, consisted of sales rep from Janus.

In an unrelated announcment, Stilwell told investors today that it closed November with $146 billion of assets under management. That figure includes assets from both Janus and Berger as well as its U.K.-based Nelson's affiliate. Preliminary average assets under management for the eleven months ending in November totaled some $166 billion.

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