Plus, changes at Morgan Stanley and Fidelity, and more.
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By Katie Rushkewicz Reichart, CFA | 01-08-09 | 02:33 PM | Email Article

India's version of the Enron scandal has started playing out, as the chairman of leading technology company  Satyam Computer Services, Ltd.  announced that he fabricated the firm's financials over the past several years. B. Ramalinga Raju resigned his post as CEO after admitting that he had inflated profits and cash positions and understated liabilities. The stock plummeted on the Bombay exchange, and trading of Satyam ADRs on the NYSE was suspended on Jan. 7 in response to the news. The accounting fraud comes on the heels of another corruption incident that occurred in December 2008 when Raju tried to force Satyam to acquire two companies owned by family members.

Katie Rushkewicz Reichart, CFA, is a senior fund analyst on the active funds research team for Morningstar.

The effect that the sham will have on mutual funds remains to be seen, because December 2008 portfolios are not yet available. However, as of Nov. 30, 2008, several funds owned a stake in Satyam, though position sizes were generally limited to 2% of fund assets or less. The funds with the largest stakes as of Nov. 30, 2008, included Fidelity Select Software & Computers , Dreyfus Select Mid Cap Growth , Dreyfus S&P Stars Opportunities , Atlantic Whitehall Mid-Cap Growth , Sextant International ,  Fidelity Overseas ,  MFS International New Discovery , and  Fidelity Growth & Income .

New Year, New Managers
Several funds rang in 2009 by shuffling their management teams.

Veteran manager Jim Gilligan has formally stepped down from several Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen funds after a successful 18-year tenure. He will stay with the firm, developing strategies that rely on ETFs and derivatives. Though Gilligan announced his decision to leave his manager role in early 2008, he stayed with the funds for most of the year to ease the transition for the team. Mary Jayne Maly, a longtime member of the firm who began her career on Gilligan's team in 1992, will take over Gilligan's sector coverage for moderate-allocation fund  Van Kampen Equity & Income  and large-blend offering  Van Kampen Growth & Income , as well as mid-cap funds  Van Kampen American Value , Morgan Stanley Mid Cap Value ,  Morgan Stanley Institutional US Mid Cap Value , and Morgan Stanley Institutional Large Cap Relative Value . Though she was officially named a comanager at the beginning of 2009, she has been working with Gilligan and the rest of the equity & income team--including new lead manager Tom Bastian, mid-cap head Tom Copper, James Roeder, Sergio Marcheli, Mark Laskin, and fixed-income head Sanjay Verma--for several months.

John Mazanec, who had a successful record at  Wasatch Small Cap Value , has also officially been added as comanager of Morgan Stanley Institutional US Mid Cap Value and Morgan Stanley Mid Cap Value. He joined the firm in late May 2008 and is already named comanager of Van Kampen American Value.

Fidelity Shuffles Managers
Fidelity has also made some changes to its specialty funds. Nicholas Price has replaced longtime manager Kenichi Mizushita on  Fidelity Japan Smaller Companies . Mizushita had run the $392 million fund since 1996, which is an extremely long tenure for a manager of a Japan-stock fund as well as for a Fidelity specialty fund. Fidelity lost another long-tenured manager, Yoko Ishibashi, from  Fidelity Japan  in 2007.

Andrew Dierdorf and William Hall have taken over large-blend fund  Fidelity Four-In-One Index . Former managers Derek Young and Christopher Sharpe, who had been at the helm of the $1.4 billion fund since 2005, will continue to run several other funds, including the Fidelity Asset Manager funds (Young) and the Fidelity Freedom funds (Sharpe). Dierdorf joined the firm in 2004 and has comanaged moderate-allocation fund Fidelity Dynamic Strategies  since its launch in late 2007. Hall joined Fidelity in 2002 as an analyst.

Paul Jackson and Christopher Lee are no longer running  Fidelity Select Electronics  and Fidelity Advisor Electronics . Tech analysts Stephen Barwikowski and Christopher Lin will succeed them.

More Manager Modifications
 Columbia Large Cap Growth  started the year with one fewer manager. The departure of Paul Berlinguet, comanager since 2003, leaves Roger Sullivan and John Wilson at the helm. Both have been with the fund since 2005. The team previously included five comanagers, but has dwindled to two after Berlinguet's exit and the departure of two others in April 2008.

Longtime manager Thomas Mengal of  Waddell & Reed Advisors International Growth  will be replaced by F. Chace Brundige. The fund struggled for a few years before turning in peer-beating performances in 2007. Though its 40% loss in 2008 was dismal, the fund outperformed more than 90% of its foreign large-growth peers. Also, Charles Hooper has departed from large-growth fund  Waddell & Reed Advisor Retirement Shares  after nearly 10 years at the helm. Cynthia Prince-Fox, who has successfully run moderate-allocation fund Waddell & Reed Advisors Continental  since 1993, will take over.

Nancy Holland is no longer manager of Aston/Fortis Real Estate  and Aston/Fortis Global Real Estate . Joseph Pavnica remains at the helm of both funds, and Matthew Hoult and Menno Sloterdijk will stay on as comanagers of Global Real Estate. James Hardman will join Pavnica on Real Estate.

Open and Shut Cases
 DWS Dreman Small Cap Value  has joined the fray of topnotch funds that have recently reopened. The $1.45 billion fund, led by star manager David Dreman, has amassed an impressive track record. Despite losing nearly 30% in a disastrous 2008, the fund landed in the top decile of the small-blend category.

Aston announced that it is reopening  Aston/River Road Small Cap Value  to new investors. The fund launched in mid-2005 and was the best-performing small-value fund in 2006, with a 31% gain. Such impressive performance attracted a lot of new assets, and the firm closed it shortly thereafter. Though its 30% loss in 2008 fared better than the average small-value fund, mounting redemptions prompted the fund to reopen its doors.

Ashton will also liquidate two funds that were launched in November 2007: Aston/SGA International Small-Mid Cap  and Aston/Clarivest Mid Cap Growth . These offerings were part of a slew of new funds that Aston launched in 2007, but the firm's timing was unfortunate. Both of the fledgling funds lost more than 45% in 2008 and saw dwindling asset bases, with the Small/Mid Cap fund having just $550,000 in assets and the Mid Cap fund ending up with $290,000. The funds are expected to liquidate on January 31.

Baron Launches International Fund
Baron Capital, Inc. has delved into new territory, launching Baron International Growth on Dec. 31, 2008. The fund will be the firm's first parlay into overseas investing and will focus on small and mid-sized companies in developed and developing countries. Michael Kass will lead the effort.

 

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Katie Rushkewicz Reichart, CFA does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar's editorial policies.
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