Category Archives: Funds in Registration

May 2015, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

American Beacon Grosvenor Long/Short Fund

American Beacon Grosvenor Long/Short Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation.  At this point the strategy for pursuing that objective is entirely hypothetical.  American Beacon hired Grosvenor Capital Management to hire other firms to actually manage the portfolio. So far, the folks actually managing the money haven’t been named, though we do know that one (or more) of them might pursue an equity strategy while one (or more) of them might purse an event-driven strategy, though the fund might not simultaneously pursue both strategies. This might explain the fund’s expense structure. Opening expenses on the Investor share class are 2.49% after waivers with a rich management fee of 1.55%. The minimum initial purchase requirement is $2500.

AMG GW&K Small Cap Growth Fund

AMG GW&K Small Cap Growth Fund will seek to provide investors with long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to build a diversified domestic small cap portfolio.  Nothing fancy, so far as I can tell. The fund will be managed by Daniel L. Miller and Joseph C. Craigen. Mr. Miller already co-manages a very solid small-blend fund for AMG. The initial expense ratio will be 1.45% and the minimum initial investment is $2,000, reduced to $1,000 for IRAs.

Balter Discretionary Global Macro Fund

Balter Discretionary Global Macro Fund (BGMVX) will seek to generate positive absolute returns in most market conditions. The plan is to do predictably complex stuff with derivatives and direct investments in order to build a portfolio of non-correlated assets . The fund will be sub-advised by Philip Yang and Frank C. Marrapodi of Willowbridge Associates. The initial expense ratio will be 2.19% (and that’s after waivers) and the minimum initial investment is $5,000.

Cutler Emerging Markets Fund

Cutler Emerging Markets Fund will seek current income and long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to use the same discipline they apply in their pretty solid Cutler Equity Fund (CALEX) to the emerging markets. They might hedge their currency exposure, but maybe not. Otherwise, no particular twists. The fund will be managed by Matthew Patten, Erich Patten and Xavier Urpi. The initial expense ratio will be 1.55% and the minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Eventide Multi-Asset Income Fund

Eventide Multi-Asset Income Fund will seek current income while maintaining the potential for capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in whatever income-producing assets look most attractive. They might obtain that exposure directly or through derivatives and they might invest up to 10% in short positions. In either case, the fund has substantial positive and negative social screens. The fund, other than noted below, will be managed by Martin Wildy and David Dirk. The fund’s intermediate bond sleeve will be managed by unnamed folks from Boyd Watterson Asset Management. The initial expense ratio will be 1.19% for “N” shares and the minimum initial investment is $1,000.

Grandeur Peak Global Micro Cap Fund

Grandeur Peak Global Micro Cap Fund will seek long-term growth of capital. The method here replicates the strategy in GP’s other funds, but apply it exclusively to global stocks with market caps under $1.5 billion. They warn of substantial emerging and frontier exposure. The fund will be managed by Randy Pearce & Blake Walker with GP’s senior manager, Robert Gardiner, hovering in the background.  The initial expense ratio has not been released and the minimum initial investment is $2,000.

Grandeur Peak Global Stalwarts Fund

Grandeur Peak Global Stalwarts Fund will seek long-term growth of capital. The method here replicates the strategy in GP’s other funds, but apply it exclusively to stocks with market caps over $1.5 billion. GP defines “stalwarts” as “growth companies that are maturing. They are proven success stories that still have headroom to grow, but whose growth is slowing as they mature.” They warn of substantial emerging and frontier exposure.  The fund will be managed by Randy Pearce & Blake Walker with GP’s senior manager, Robert Gardiner, hovering in the background.  The initial expense ratio has not been released and the minimum initial investment is $2,000..

Grandeur Peak International Stalwarts Fund

Grandeur Peak International Stalwarts Fund will seek long-term growth of capital. The method here replicates the strategy in GP’s other funds, but apply it exclusively to non-U.S. stocks with market caps over $1.5 billion. They warn of substantial emerging and frontier exposure.  The fund will be managed by Randy Pearce & Blake Walker with GP’s senior manager, Robert Gardiner, hovering in the background.  The initial expense ratio has not been released and the minimum initial investment is $2,000.

James Aggressive Allocation Fund

James Aggressive Allocation Fund will seeks to provide total return through a combination of growth and income. I don’t see anything particularly aggressive about it: the default is a 60/40 allocation with the proviso that stocks might range from 50-100% of the portfolio. The fund will be managed by nine guys, many of whom are named James. The initial expense ratio hasn’t been disclosed and the minimum initial investment is $10,000, reduced to $5,000 for IRAs.

Janus Adaptive Global Allocation Fund

Janus Adaptive Global Allocation Fund will seek total return through growth of capital and income.  The plan is to invest globally in stocks and bonds but to focus especially on the issue of “tail risk.” That is, relatively unlikely events that might have a major impact should they occur.  The neutral allocation is 70/30 global stocks to bonds. The fund will be managed by Ahhwin Alankar, Ph.D., and Enrique Chang. Opening expenses on the fund’s five share classes have not been revealed. The minimum initial purchase for the various retail shares is $2500.

Meeder Dividend Opportunities Fund

Meeder Dividend Opportunities Fund will seek to provide total return, including capital appreciation and current income. The plan is to invest at least 80% in dividend-paying stocks, either directly or through ETFs and similar creatures. Up to 20% might be in fixed income. They use the same strategies in separate accounts; the composite there shows them leading their benchmark about as often as they trail it. The fund will be managed by a team from Meeder Asset Management. The initial expense ratio will be 1.72% and the minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $500 for IRAs.

TCW Developing Markets Equity Fund

TCW Developing Markets Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation. The fund will invest in stocks and might invest in derivatives either to hedge or achieve their equity exposure. They’ll pick stocks based on the typical combination of quant and fundamental work; they’ll pick country exposure based on a bunch of macro factors. The fund will be managed by Ray S. Prasad, formerly of Batterymarch, and Andrey Glukhov. Expenses not revealed. The minimum initial investment will be $2000, reduced to $500 for tax-advantaged accounts.

Triad Small Cap Value Fund

Triad Small Cap Value Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation and attempt to minimize the probability of permanent losses over the longer-term, with less emphasis on short-term market fluctuations.  At base, they’re investing in small caps but willing to hold cash. The managers will be John Heldman, formerly a Neuberger Berman manager, and David Hutchison.  The fund’s opening expense ratio is listed as 1.XX%. That’s hard to argue with. The minimum initial investment will be $5,000.

April 2015, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

American Beacon Ionic Strategic Arbitrage Fund

American Beacon Ionic Strategic Arbitrage Fund will pursue capital appreciation with low volatility and reduced correlation to equities and interest rates. The plan is to pursue a series of arbitrage strategies: Convertible Arbitrage (40-50% of the portfolio), Credit/Rates Relative Value Arbitrage (20-30%), Equity Arbitrage (30-40%) and Volatility Arbitrage (5-15%). This strategy is currently operating as a hedge fund, Iconic Absolute Return Fund LLC, which made 3% in 2014. The fund will be managed by the Iconic team that runs the hedge fund. The opening expense ratio will be 1.98%. The minimum initial investment will be $2500 for the no-load Investor class shares.

Artisan Developing World Fund

Artisan Developing World Fund (ARTYX) will pursue long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in “self-funding companies that are exposed to the growth potential of developing world economies with limited dependence on foreign capital.” The notion is that capital flight represents a serious risk; by investing in firms not dependent on outside, especially foreign, capital, the manager seeks to mitigate the risk. The fund will be managed by Lewis Kaufman who had been managing the five-star, $2.8 billion Thornburg Developing World Fund (THDAX). The opening expense ratio will be 1.50% on Investor class shares. There’s also a 2.0% redemption fee on shares held fewer than 90 days. The minimum initial investment will be $1,000; Artisan will waive the minimum if you establish (as you should) an automatic investing plan.

Aspiration US Sustainable Equity Fund

Aspiration US Sustainable Equity Fund will try to  maximize total return, consisting of capital appreciation and current income. The plan is to invest in the stocks of firms that pass their ESG screens. They’ve established a 5% threshold for exclusion: if more than 5% of your earnings come from GMOs or plastic water bottles, for example, they won’t invest in you. The fund will be managed by Bruno Bertocci and Thomas J. Digenan, both of UBS. The opening expense ratio has not been announced. The minimum initial investment will be $500. (Wow.)

Emerald Small Cap Value Fund

Emerald Small Cap Value Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation by investing in a non-diversified portfolio of US small cap stocks. Their size universe is equivalent to the Russell 2000 Value Index’s. Up to 20% might be REITs or foreign small caps purchased through ADRs. This is a reorganization of the former Elessar Small Cap Value Fund (LSRIX) which has been around and only modestly successful since 2012. The fund will be managed by Richard Geisen and Ori Elan, the same duo that managed LSRIX. Mr. Geisen has over $200,000 in his fund while Mr. Elan has been $50,000-100,000. The opening expense ratio has not been disclosed. The minimum initial investment will be $2000, reduced to $1000 for tax-advantaged accounts.

Lazard Emerging Markets Equity Advantage Portfolio

Lazard Emerging Markets Equity Advantage Portfolio will pursue long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in an emerging markets equity portfolio which might include common stocks ADRs, GDRs, EDRs, REITs, warrants and other derivatives. The fund will be managed by a team headed by Paul Moghtader. The opening expense ratio will be 1.40% for the no-load “Open” shares. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

Lazard International Equity Advantage Portfolio

Lazard International Equity Advantage Portfolio will pursue long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in a global equity portfolio, but one which “typically focus[es] on securities of non-US developed market companies.” They can invest in stocks, ETFs, warrants and depositary rights (e.g., ADRs). They will be able to use various derivatives to hedge the portfolio. The fund will be managed by a team headed by Paul Moghtader. The opening expense ratio will be 1.20% for the no-load “Open” shares. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

Lazard Managed Equity Volatility Portfolio

Lazard Managed Equity Volatility Portfolio  will pursue long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to use a bunch of quantitative screens to create a global portfolio equity portfolio with low volatility and attractive risk-return characteristics. The fund will be managed by a team headed by Paul Moghtader. The opening expense ratio will be 1.05% for the no-load “Open” shares. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

PIMCO Real Return Limited Duration Fund

PIMCO Real Return Limited Duration Fund will pursue maximum real return, consistent with preservation of capital and prudent investment management. The plan is to invest in a global portfolio of sovereign and corporate inflation-indexed securities of varying maturities. The fund will normally limit its foreign currency exposure to 20% but might go as high as 30%. 10% of the portfolio might be invested in emerging markets and 10% might be invested in junk bonds. And the entire portfolio might be invested in derivatives. The fund will be managed by some as-yet unnamed person or persons.  The opening expense ratio is, likewise, not set . The minimum initial investment for the “D” share classes will be $1,000.

March 2015, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

AC Alternatives Equity Fund

AC (American Century) Equity Fund will seek capital appreciation. The plan is to hire sub-advisors to pursue specialty equity strategies. The initial set of strategies and subs include long/short equity (Passport Capital) and event-driven and trading strategies (Perella Weinberg Partners). The prospectus allows for inclusion of a long-only equity strategy as well. PWP is also responsible for selecting, assessing and harmonizing the various strategies and subs. The opening expense ratio hasn’t been released but this doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be cheap. The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

AC (American Century) Alternatives Income Fund

AC (American Century) Alternatives Income Fund will seek “diverse sources of income.” The plan is to hire sub-advisors to pursue specialty income strategies. The initial set of strategies and subs include Arrowpoint Partners (opportunistic corporate credit, a sort of high yield bond and loan strategy), Good Hill Partners LP (structured credit) and PWP (a hedging overlay plus MLPs). The opening expense ratio hasn’t been released but this doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be cheap. The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

AC Alternatives Multi-Strategy Fund

AC (American Century) Multi-Strategy Fund will seek capital appreciation. The plan is to hire sub-advisors to pursue specialty alternative strategies. The initial set of strategies and subs include Long/short credit (Good Hill Partners LP and MAST Capital), event-driven (Levin Capital), long/short equity (Passport Capital) and then Global macro, real asset and trading strategies (Perella Weinberg Partners). PWP is also responsible for selecting, assessing and harmonizing the various strategies and subs. The opening expense ratio hasn’t been released but this doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be cheap. The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

ASTON/Pictet Premium Brands Fund

ASTON/Pictet Premium Brands Fund will seek capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in the stocks of companies that have “superior quality goods or services that enjoy a high level of brand recognition and that are expected to have relative pricing power and high consumer loyalty.” The fund will be managed by Caroline Reyl, Laurent Belloni, and Alice de Lamaze, all of the Sector and Themes Fund Team at Pictet. On face there’s something modestly regrettable in the symbolism of assigning female portfolio managers to the luxury shopping fund. That said, the team manages a billion dollar, Swiss-domiciled version of the fund. They’ve returned 6.3% annualized since 2007. Their 13.2% returns over the past five years seem solid, but they trail their consumer goods benchmark and have relatively high volatility. The opening expense ratio will be 1.31%. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $500 for tax-advantaged accounts.

Brown Advisory Global Leaders Fund

Brown Advisory Global Leaders Fund will seek to achieve capital appreciation by investing primarily in global equities. The plan is to invest in “leaders within their industry or country as demonstrated by an ability to deliver high relative return on invested capital over time.” In addition to investing directly in such stocks, they have the right to use derivatives and ETFs (which does make you wonder why you’d need to buy the fund). The fund will be managed by Mick Dillon of Brown Advisory. Mr. Dillon used to be head of Asian equities for HSBC. The opening expense ratio has not yet been set. The minimum initial investment is $5,000, reduced to $2,000 for tax-advantaged accounts.

Brown Capital Management International Small Company Fund

Brown Capital Management International Small Company Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation, with some possibility of income thrown in. The plan is to invest in 40-65 “exceptional companies.” The fund will be managed by Martin Steinik, Maurice Haywood, and Duncan Evered. The opening expense ratio, this will be a recurring theme with this month’s funds, has not be disclosed. The minimum initial investment is $5,000, reduced to $2,000 for tax-advantaged accounts.

Direxion Hilton Yield Plus Fund

Direxion Hilton Yield Plus Fund total return consistent with the preservation of capital. The plan is to balance fixed income investments with equities, with a focus on minimizing absolute risk and volatility. Those securities might include common and preferred stocks of any capitalization, MLPs, REITs, and corporate bonds, ETNs and municipal bonds The fund will be managed by a team headed by William J. Garvey, Hilton’s CIO. The opening expense ratio will be 1.49%. The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Longboard Long/Short Equity Fund

Longboard Long/Short Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to, love the wording here, “considers long positions in a large subset of 3,500 of the most liquid [domestic equity] securities” while shorting indexes. The fund will be managed by Eric Crittenden, Cole Wilcox and Jason Klatt. The team also runs Longboard’s expensive but successful managed futures fund.The opening expense ratio will be high; they haven’t announced the expense ratio but the all-in management fee is 2.99%. The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Matthews Asia Sustainability Fund

Matthews Asia Sustainability Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in “Asian companies that have the potential to profit from the long-term opportunities presented by global environmental and social challenges as well as those Asian companies that proactively manage long-term risks presented by these challenges.” The fund will be managed by Vivek Tanneeru with co-manager Winnie Chwang. The opening expense ratio will be 1.45%. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $500 for tax-advantaged accounts.

SMI Bond Fund

SMI Bond Fund will seek total return. This will be a fund-of-funds except when it’s not. The FOF portion of the portfolio is managed by the folks at Sound Mind Investing using a momentum-based “bond upgrading” strategy; when they choose to invest directly in bonds, they’ll delegate the task to the folks at Reams Asset Management, the fixed-income arm of Scout Funds. The fund will be managed by the same team that handles SMI’s other three funds. The opening expense ratio has not yet been announced. The minimum initial investment is $500.

SMI 50/40/10 Fund

SMI 50/40/10 Fund will seek total return through investing in other funds. We’re not particularly fans of portfolios built around complex trading strategies so rather than ill-tempered snark, we’ll just report that 50% of the portfolio will be invested in a dynamic allocation strategy focusing on the three most attractive (of six) asset categories, 40% in a fund upgrader strategy and 10% in a sector rotation strategy. The fund will be managed by the same team that handles SMI’s other three funds. The opening expense ratio has not yet been announced.  The two SMI funds already on the market are relatively expensive (1.8% and 2.2%) and their performance has been no better than middling. The minimum initial investment is $500.

Spectrum Advisors Preferred Fund

Spectrum Advisors Preferred Fund will seek long term capital appreciation. The plan is to create a complicated portfolio with many moving parts, in hopes of capturing pretty much all of the market’s upside and only 40% of its downside. The offense is provided by a “performing upgrading” strategy for stock investments and the use of leverage. The defense is provided by some combination of cash, bonds, and shorting. The fund will be managed by Ralph Doudera of Spectrum Financial. The opening expense ratio will be 2.35%. The minimum initial investment is $1,000.

Toreador SMID Cap Fund

Toreador SMID Cap Fund will seeks long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in the stocks of U.S. and foreign small- to mid-sized companies. Those are defined as “stocks about the size of those in the Russell 2000.” The fund will be managed by Paul Blinn and Rafael Resendes, who also manage Toreador’s two other so-so equity funds. The opening expense ratio has not yet been announced. The minimum initial investment is $1,000 for retail shares and $10,000 for institutional ones.

USA Mutuals Takeover Targets Fund

USA Mutuals Takeover Targets Fund will seek capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in companies that they believe will be, well, takeover targets. They anticipate holding a lot of cash. The fund will be managed by Gerald Sullivan, a really nice guy who also runs the Vice Fund. The opening expense ratio will be 1.50%. The minimum initial investment is $2,000, reduced to $1,000 for retirement accounts.

Waycross Long/Short Equity Fund

Waycross Long/Short Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation with a secondary emphasis on capital preservation. The plan is to invest, long and short, in mid- to large-cap stocks. Their investable universe is about 300 companies. The fund will be managed by Benjamin Thomas of Waycross Partners. The opening expense ratio has not yet been announced. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

February 2015, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Alphacentric Bond Rotation Fund

Alphacentric Bond Rotation Fund will pursue “long-term capital appreciation and total return through various economic or interest rate environments.” They’ll rotate through two to four global bond ETFs based on their judgment of the relative strengths of various bond sectors. The fund will be managed by Gordon Nelson, Chief Investment Strategist, and Tyler Vanderbeek, both of Keystone Wealth Advisors. The expense ratio will be 1.39% and the minimum initial investment for the no-load “I” class shares is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts set up with an automatic investing plan.

Alphacentric Enhanced Yield Fund

Alphacentric Enhanced Yield Fund will seek current income by investing in asset-backed fixed income securities. While it expects to invest over 25% in residential mortgage-backed securities, it can also pursue “securities backed by credit card receivables, automobiles, aircraft, [and] student loans.” It might also invest in Treasuries or hedge the portfolio by shorting. The fund will be managed by a team from Garrison Point Capital, led by Tom Miner. Expenses are 1.74%. The minimum investment for the no-load “I” class shares is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts set up with an automatic investing plan.

AMG Trilogy Emerging Wealth Equity Fund

AMG Trilogy Emerging Wealth Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in firms whose earnings are driven by their exposure to emerging markets. That might include firms domiciled in developed countries, as well as emerging ones. They can invest in both equities and derivatives and they anticipate building an all-cap portfolio of 60-100 securities. The fund will be managed by a team from Trilogy Global Advisors. The initial expense ratio is 1.45% after waivers and the minimum investment will be $2,000.

Columbia Multi-Asset Income Fund

Columbia Multi-Asset Income Fund will primarily seek high current income and secondarily, total return. They can invest in pretty much anything that generates income, there’s no set asset allocation and the portfolio doesn’t exactly explain what they’re looking for in an investment. If you have reason to trust Jeffrey Knight, the lead manager, and Toby Nangle, go for it! The expenses are not yet set. The minimum investment for “A” shares will be $2,000. Though the “A” shares carry a load, most Columbia funds are no-load/NTF at Schwab and, likely, other supermarkets.

DoubleLine Strategic Commodity Fund

DoubleLine Strategic Commodity Fund will seek long-term total return by having (leveraged) long exposure to commodity indexes with selective long or short exposure to individual commodities, indexes or ETFs. Then, too, it might turn market neutral. The disclosure of potential risks runs to 13 pages, single-spaced. It will be managed by Jeffrey J. Sherman of DoubleLine Commodity Advisors. Expenses are not yet set. The minimum investment is $2,000.

Frontier MFG Global Plus Fund

Frontier MFG Global Plus Fund will pursue capital appreciation by investing in 20-40 high-quality companies purchased at attractive prices, both in the US and elsewhere. There will be a macro-level risk overlay. The fund will be managed by Hamish Douglass, of the Australian firm Magellan Asset Management. Mr. Douglass has managed a perfectly respectable global fund for Frontier since 2011. The expense ratio for “Y” shares will be 1.20% and the minimum investment will be $1,000.

Sit Small Cap Dividend Growth Fund

Sit Small Cap Dividend Growth Fund mostly seeks income that’s greater than its benchmarks (the Russell 2000) and that is growing; it’s willing to accept some capital appreciation if that comes along, too. The Russell 2000 currently yields 1.29%. The plan, not surprisingly given the name, is to invest in “dividend paying growth-oriented companies [the manager] believes exhibit the potential for growth and growing dividend payments.” The portfolio will be mostly domestic. The lead manager will be Roger Sit. Expenses for the “S” class will be 1.50% and the minimum initial investment will be $5,000.

Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond Index Fund

Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond Index Fund will track the Standard & Poor’s National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index. Adam Ferguson will manage the fund. The expense ratio will be 0.20% and the minimum investment will be $3,000. The Admiral share class will drop expenses to 0.12% with a $10,000 minimum.

Virtus Long/Short Equity Fund

Virtus Long/Short Equity Fund will seek total return by investing, long and short, in various sorts of equities including MLPs and REITs. The fund will be managed by John F. Brennan, Managing Director at, and cofounder of, Sirios Capital Management. The minimum initial investment will be $2,500. The expense ratio has not yet been announced. Though the “A” shares carry a load, most Virtus funds are no-load/NTF at Schwab and, likely, other supermarkets.

January 2015, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

RiverPark Focused Value Fund

RiverPark Focused Value Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to focus on large cap domestic stocks, with particular focus on “special situations” such as spin-offs or reorganizations and on firms whose share prices might have cratered. They’ll buy if it’s a high quality firm and if the stock trades at a substantial discount to intrinsic value. They’ll sell when the stock approaches their target price for it. The manager will have a limited ability to invest in illiquid securities, to short and to leverage the portfolio. David Berkowitz will be the portfolio manager. Mr. Berkowitz co-founded and co-managed Gotham Partners, a value-oriented hedge fund (1992-2002), and was the Chief Investment Officer for a New York family office (2003-2005). In 2006, he founded Festina Lente, a long-only, concentrated investment partnership that he managed through 2008. From 2009-2013, he held various positions at Ziff Brother Investments, where he was Partner as well as the Chief Risk and Strategy Officer. The expense ratios are 1.25% (Investor) and 1.00% (Institutional) after waivers. The minimum initial investment is $1,000 for Investor shares and $100,000 for Institutional ones.

December 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Centre Active U.S. Tax Exempt Fund

Centre Active U.S. Tax Exempt Fund will look at to maximize total return through capital appreciation and current income exempt from federal income tax. The key is that Centre is buying an existing muni bond fund but won’t yet name what that fund is. It appears that the old fund has a sales load (they refer to “A” shares) and the new fund won’t.  Other than that, nothing.  The manager will be James A. Abate, the minimum is $5,000 and the expense ratio is capped at 0.95%.

Driehaus Frontier Emerging Markets Fund

Driehaus Frontier Emerging Markets Fund will seek to maximize capital appreciation. They plan a non-diversified, high turnover all-cap portfolio. They have the ability to invest directly in equities, but also in derivatives and fixed-income securities. The fund will be managed by Chad Cleaver and Richard Thies. Mr. Cleaver co-manages the very fine Driehaus Emerging Markets Small Cap Growth Fund (DRESX). For their purposes, the “frontier” is every EM except the eight biggest: Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, and the BRICs. Expenses are not yet set. The minimum initial investment is $250,000, for no particular reason that I understand.

T. Rowe Price Global High Income Bond Fund

T. Rowe Price Global High Income Bond Fund will pursue high income and, secondarily, capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in a portfolio of sovereign and corporate high yield bonds and bank loans, with at least 50% of the expense being from outside the U.S. The fund will be managed by Michael Della Vedova, who manages Price’s European high-yield bond portfolio, and Mark Vaselkiv who manages the High Yield Fund (PRHYX). Expenses will be capped at 0.85%. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

T. Rowe Price Global Unconstrained Bond Fund

T. Rowe Price Global Unconstrained Bond Fund will seek high income, some protection against rising interest rates and a low correlation with the equity markets. They’re going to invest in a non-diversified portfolio of corporate and sovereign investment grade fixed income securities. Those might include bank loans. Two portfolio highlights: the fund will be at least 40% non-U.S. but they’ll hedge their currency exposure so that it’s never more than 50% of the portfolio. The fund will be managed by a team headed by Arif Husain, Price’s head of International Fixed Income. Mr. Husain joined Price in 2013 after serving as served as director of European Fixed Income and UK and Euro Portfolio Management with AllianceBernstein. Expenses will be capped at 0.75%. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund

Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund will try to provide current income while maintaining limited price volatility. We’ll note that “current income” doesn’t even hint at “any noticeable amount of….” They’ll invest, on behalf of investors with “a low tolerance for risk,” in a diversified portfolio of high quality bonds.  They allow that some medium quality bonds might slip in.  They anticipate a portfolio duration of 0 – 2 years. The fund will be managed by Gregory S. Nassour and David Van Ommeren. Expenses are capped at 0.20% for Investor class shares. The minimum initial investment is $3,000. The fund will be available in February, 2015.

November 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

ACR Multi-Strategy Quality Return (MQR) Fund

ACR Multi-Strategy Quality Return (MQR) Fund posted an unusually vacuous draft portfolio that not only failed to list its expenses; it also skipped the investment minimums and offered only the sketchiest idea of what they’ll be up to. Their clearest statement is that they seek “to preserve capital from permanent loss during periods of economic decline… [and post] long term returns above an equity-like absolute return and the MSCI All-Country World Index.” Not exactly clear neither what “an equity-like absolute return” is nor how they might achieve it. They do admit that “[t]here is no assurance that the Fund’s return objectives will be achieved.” If you’ve been pleased with the work of “Alpine Investment Management LLC, dba ACR Alpine Capital Research,” then this might be the fund for you.

AMG Chicago Equity Partners Small Cap Value Fund

AMG Chicago Equity Partners Small Cap Value Fund will invest in 150-400 undervalued small cap stocks. For their purposes, $4 billion is the upper end of the “small” range. The fund will be managed by David C. Coughenour, CIO, Robert H. Kramer and Patricia Halper, all of Chicago Equity Partners. CEP manages about $10 billion and their small cap value composite has beaten the Russell 2000 Value by about 140 basis points yearly over the past five years. The Investor class minimum is $2000 with expenses capped at 1.35%.

Anchor Tactical Municipal Fund

Anchor Tactical Municipal Fund will seek tax-free total return. The plan is to invest, long and short, in muni bond funds and ETFs. Garrett Waters and Eric Leake will manage the fund. Expenses are capped at a curiously high 2.86%. The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Arbitrage Tactical Equity Fund

Arbitrage Tactical Equity Fund will do complicated things in pursuit of capital appreciation. The relevant text promises an investment in stocks

“whose public market valuation is significantly dislocated from … its intrinsic value. The Adviser’s investment approach is to identify such dislocations and to tactically purchase or sell short such securities when an attractive absolute and probability-adjusted risk-return profile is offered. The Fund may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to achieve its investment objective … the Fund will invest in a portfolio of securities including: equities, debt, warrants, distressed, high-yield, convertible, preferred, when-issued … options, total return swaps, credit default swaps, credit default indexes, currency forwards, and futures … ETFs, ETNs and commodities.”

Edward Chen and John Orrico will manage the fund. The other three funds in the Arbitrage family are all somewhat-pricey, above-average performers. The opening expenses have not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2000.

Aristotle Credit Opportunities Fund

Aristotle Credit Opportunities Fund will seek income and appreciation through an unconstrained bond portfolio. Douglas Lopez will lead a team from Aristotle Credit Partners, LLC. ACP describes itself as an institutional investment manager but neither the prospectus nor ACP’s website offers any evidence risk/return data. They appear unrelated to the two Aristotle equity funds. The opening expenses have not yet set, though the management fee is a relatively modest 0.65%. The minimum initial investment will be $25,000.

ASTON/Fairpointe Focused Equity Fund

ASTON/Fairpointe Focused Equity Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing mostly in domestic mid- to large-cap stocks. The lead manager is Robert Burnstine and his co-pilot is Thyra E. Zerhusen. Fairpointe runs a large, very successful mid-cap fund for Aston as well. Expenses for class N shares will be 1.26%. The minimum initial investment for class N shares is $2500.

ASTON/TAMRO International Small Cap Fund

ASTON/TAMRO International Small Cap Fund will seek capital growth by investing in small cap stocks of firms located in developing, emerging and frontier markets. They target separately “leaders, laggards and innovators.” The max cap will be around $3 billion. Waldemar A. Mozes of TAMRO will manage the fund. Expenses for class N shares will be 1.51% plus a 2% redemption fee on shares sold within 90 days. The minimum initial investment for class N shares is $2500.

Balter Discretionary Global Macro Fund

Balter Discretionary Global Macro Fund will employ a “global macro” strategy in pursuit of achieving positive absolute returns in most market environments. The portfolio will invest largely in derivatives. The fund will be co-managed by teams from Balter Liquid Alternatives and Willowbridge Management. The fund represents the consolidation of a collection of separately managed accounts which have been around since 2008. Those accounts have returned an average of 11.4% per year since inception. The opening expenses are 2.19% for investor shares. The minimum initial investment will be $5,000.

Davenport Small Cap Focus Fund

Davenport Small Cap Focus Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in a combination of small cap stocks and ETFs focusing on such stocks. $8 billion in market cap is, for their purposes, “small.” They offer the warning that they might invest in some special situations. Christopher Pearson and George Smith of Davenport & co. will manage the fund. The other Davenport funds have earned between three and five stars from Morningstar and tend to be pretty risk-conscious. Expenses are capped at 1.25%. The minimum initial investment will be $5,000.

Galapagos Partners Select Equity Fund

Galapagos Partners Select Equity Fund will pursue capital appreciation by investing in stocks and ETFs. Their target investments include a number of firms whose share prices might be influenced by high insider buying, spun-off divisions, reduced float, and targeting by activist shareholders, as well as your basic “good buys.” The fund will be managed by Stephen Lack of Galapagos Partners. Expenses are capped at 1.50%. The minimum initial investment will be $2,500.

Greenhouse MicroCap Discovery Fund

Greenhouse MicroCap Discovery Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation by investing in 50-100 microcaps “run by disciplined management teams possessing clear strategies for growth that … trade at a discount to intrinsic value.” The fund will be managed by Joseph Milano and James Gentile. Mr. Milano was portfolio manager of the T. Rowe Price New America Growth Fund (PRWAX) from 2002-2013. Morningstar described his investment preferences as “idiosyncratic … somewhat defensive … [tending toward] cyclicals.” He beat the S&P by about 2% a year over his career. The initial expense ratio is capped at 2.00% for investor shares. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for various sort of tax-advantaged accounts.

Innovator IBD® 50 Fund

Innovator IBD® 50 Fund is the subject of another desperate, near-vacant filing. The fund will invest mostly in the companies in the IBD 50 Index, weighted “on a conviction basis,” but will not attempt to mirror the index. No investment adviser, no manager. It will be an actively-managed ETF will a hefty expense ratio of 0.80%.

Intrepid International Fund

Intrepid International Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in foreign stocks but it is, by prospectus, bound to invest only 40% of its portfolio overseas. Curious. All-cap, non-diversified, value-oriented and willing to hold large amounts of cash for extended periods of time. Ben Franklin will manage the fund and he also co-managed Intrepid Income. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.40% for investor shares and the minimum initial purchase will be $2500.

Panther Small Cap Fund

Panther Small Cap Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing 80% in small cap stocks, though they allow that the other 20% might go to “micro, mid or large capitalization stocks, stocks of foreign issuers, American depository receipts (“ADRs”), U.S. government securities and exchange-traded funds.” They claim to be fundamental, bottom-up value kinds of folks. John Langston, president of Texas-based Panther Capital Group, will manage the fund. He used to manage private money for Bank of America, but this seems to be his first fund. Their newsletters offer market commentary, but no real hint of what or how they’re doing. The opening expenses have not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $1,000.

PIMCO Multi-Strategy Alternative Fund

PIMCO Multi-Strategy Alternative Fund will seek total return, consistent with prudent investment management, by investing in other PIMCO liquid alts funds. The manager has not been named. The expense ratios are not yet set. The minimum for “D” shares, available through online brokerages, will be $1,000.

Rothschild U.S. Large-Cap Core Fund

Rothschild U.S. Large-Cap Core Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in a diversified portfolio of large cap stocks. Neither this, nor any of the following Rothschild prospectuses, says a single worthwhile thing about what the fund will actually be doing. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.0%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Rothschild U.S. Large-Cap Value Fund

Rothschild U.S. Large-Cap Value Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in a diversified portfolio of large cap stocks. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.0%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Rothschild U.S. Large-Cap Core Fund

Rothschild U.S. Large-Cap Core Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in a diversified portfolio of large cap stocks. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.0%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Rothschild U.S. Small/Mid-Cap Core Fund

Rothschild U.S. Small/Mid-Cap Core Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in smid-caps. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.35%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Rothschild U.S. Small Core Fund

Rothschild U.S. Small Core Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in small caps. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.35%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Rothschild U.S. Small Growth Fund

Rothschild U.S. Small Growth Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in small caps. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.35%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Rothschild U.S. Small Value Fund

Rothschild U.S. Small Value Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in small caps. A team from Rothschild Asset Management Inc. will manage the fund. The initial expense ratio is capped at 1.35%. The investor share class minimum will be $2,500.

Thomas Crown Global Long/Short Equity Fund

Thomas Crown Global Long/Short Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation with reduced volatility. They’ll use a long/short equity portfolio “to exploit global themes and secular trends.” Stephen K. Thomas and Francis J. Crown will co-manage the fund. Mr. Thomas co-managed two Invesco international funds for three and fraction years, Mr. Crown stuck with the same two funds for a bit less than one year. The opening expenses are a stomach-churning 2.95% after a minimal 8 basis point waiver. The minimum initial investment will be $2500.

October 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

361 Global Long/Short Equity Fund

361 Global Long/Short Equity Fund seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation by participating in rising markets and preserving capital in falling ones. The plan is to invest, long and short, in a global, all-cap portfolio. The fund will be managed by the “A” team from 361 plus Harindra de Silva, Dennis Bein, and David Krider from Analytic Investors. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2500.

American Century Multi-Asset Income Fund

American Century Multi-Asset Income Fund seeks income, but is willing to accept a bit of capital appreciation, too. The plan is to invest in income-producing equity securities (20-60% of the portfolio) as well as fixed-income ones (40-80%). The fund will be managed by a team led by American Century’s CIO, Scott Wittman. The opening expense ratio is 0.91%, after waivers, on Investor shares. The minimum initial investment will be $2,000.

DoubleLine Long Duration Total Return Bond Fund

DoubleLine Long Duration Total Return Bond Fund seeks long-term total return. The plan is to create a fixed-income portfolio whose duration is at least 10 years. The firm’s specialty, of course, are mortgage-backed securities of various sorts but the fund can invest anywhere. Up to a third of the portfolio might be in bonds denominated in foreign currencies. The fund will be managed by The Jeffrey and Vitaliy Liberman. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2,000 for “N” shares, reduced to $500 for IRAs.

Exceed Structured Enhanced Index Strategy Fund

Exceed Structured Enhanced Index Strategy Fund seeks to track the NASDAQ Exceed Structured Enhanced Index (EXENHA). The word “enhanced” always makes me worried. The fund will provide no downside protection but offers 2:1 upside leverage on the S&P500, capped at gains of around 20-25%. The fund will be managed by Joseph Halpern. The opening expense ratio is 1.45%. The minimum initial investment will be $2,500.

Exceed Structured Hedged Index Strategy Fund

Exceed Structured Hedged Index Strategy Fund seeks to track the NASDAQ Exceed Structured Hedged Index (EXHEDG). They hope to protect you against relatively minor losses in the S&P500 and to offer you 150% leverage on minor gains, capped at around 10-15% per year. The rough translation is that this fund is designed to improve your returns in modestly rising or sideways markets. The fund will be managed by Joseph Halpern. The opening expense ratio is 1.45%. The minimum initial investment will be $2,500.

Exceed Structured Shield Index Strategy Fund

Exceed Structured Shield Index Strategy Fund seeks to track the NASDAQ Exceed Structured Protection Index (EXPROT). This is an options-based strategy which allows you to track the “normal” movements of the S&P500 but which eliminates extreme returns. The options are designed to limit your downside risk to 12.5% annually but also cap the upside at 15%. The fund will be managed by Joseph Halpern. The opening expense ratio is 1.45%. The minimum initial investment will be $2,500.

Geneva Advisors Emerging Markets Fund

Geneva Advisors Emerging Markets Fund will to pursue long-term capital growth by investing in emerging markets firms with “sustainable competitive advantages and highly visible future growth potential, including internal revenue growth, large market opportunities and simple business models, and shows strong cash flow generation and high return on invested capital.” The fund will be managed by Reiner Triltsch and Eswar Menon of Geneva Advisors. The opening expense ratio is 1.60% for “R” shares. The minimum initial investment will be $1,000.

Longboard Long/Short Equity Fund

Longboard Long/Short Equity Fund seeks to long term capital appreciation by investing, long and short, in US equities. The fund will be managed by Eric Crittenden, Cole Wilcox and Jason Klatt of Longboard. The team has been running a hedge fund using this strategy since 2005; it’s returned 10.8% a year since inception while the S&P500 made 6.3%. The hedge fund dropped 24% in 2008, about half of the market’s loss, and a fraction of a percent in 2011. The opening expense ratio is not yet set but the sum of the component pieces would exceed 3.0%. The minimum initial investment will be $2500.

PIMCO International Dividend Fund

PIMCO International Dividend Fund seeks to provide current income that exceeds the average yield on international stocks while providing long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in an international-focused diversified portfolio of dividend-paying stocks that have an attractive yield, a growing dividend, and long-term capital appreciation. They can also include fixed-income securities and derivatives, but those don’t seem core. The fund will be managed by … someone, they’re just not saying who. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment for “D” shares will be $1000.

PIMCO U.S. Dividend Fund

PIMCO U.S. Dividend Fund seeks to provide current income that exceeds the average yield on U.S. stocks while providing long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in a diversified portfolio of domestic dividend-paying stocks that have an attractive yield, a growing dividend, and long-term capital appreciation. They can also include fixed-income securities and derivatives, but those don’t seem core. The fund will be managed by … someone, they’re just not saying who. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment for “D” shares will be $1000.

TCW High Dividend Equities Fund

TCW High Dividend Equities Fund seeks high total return from current income and capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in US equities including those in the odd corners: publicly-traded partnerships, business development corporations, REITs, MLPs, and ETFs. The fund will be managed by Iman Brivanlou. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2,000, reduced to $500 for IRAs.

TCW Global Real Estate Fund

TCW Global Real Estate Fund seeks to maximize total return from current income and long-term capital growth. The plan is to invest in 25-50 global REITs. The fund will be managed by Iman Brivanlou. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2,000, reduced to $500 for IRAs.

September 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

BBH Core Fixed Income Fund

BBH Core Fixed Income Fund will try to provide maximum total return, consistent with preservation of capital and prudent investment management. The plan is to buy a well-diversified portfolio of durable, performing fixed income instruments. The fund will be managed by Andrew P. Hofer and Neil Hohmann. The opening expense ratio has not yet been set. The minimum initial investment will be $25,000.

Brown Advisory Total Return Fund

Brown Advisory Total Return Fund will seek a high level of current income consistent with preservation of principal. The plan is to invest in a variety of fixed-income securities with an average duration of 3 to 7 years. Up to 20% might be invested in high yield. The fund will be managed by Thomas D.D. Graff. The opening expense ratio hasn’t been announced and the minimum initial investment will be $5,000, reduced to $2,000 for IRAs and funds with automatic investing plans.

Brown Advisory Multi-Strategy Fund

Brown Advisory Multi-Strategy Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation and current income. It will be a 60/40 fund of funds, including other Brown Advisory funds. The fund will be managed by Paul Chew. The opening expense ratio hasn’t been announced and the minimum initial investment will be $5,000, reduced to $2,000 for IRAs and funds with automatic investing plans.

Brown Advisory Emerging Markets Small-Cap Fund

Brown Advisory Emerging Markets Small-Cap Fund will seek total return by investing in, well, emerging markets small cap stocks. They have the option to use derivatives to hedge the portfolio. The fund will be managed by [                    ] and [                   ]. Here’s my reaction to that: an asset class is dangerously overbought when folks start filing prospectuses where they don’t even have managers lined up, much less managers with demonstrable success in the field. The opening expense ratio will be 1.92% for Investor Shares and the minimum initial investment will be $5,000, reduced to $2,000 for IRAs and funds with automatic investing plans.

Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF (GAA)

Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF (GAA) will seek “absolute positive returns with reduced volatility, and manageable risk and drawdowns, by identifying an investable portfolio of equity and fixed income securities, real estate, commodities and currencies.” The fund is nominally passive but it tracks a highly active index, so the distinction seems a bit forced. The fund will be managed by Mebane T. Faber and Eric W. Richardson. The opening expense ratio has not yet been announced.

Catalyst Tactical Hedged Futures Strategy Fund

Catalyst Tactical Hedged Futures Strategy Fund will seek capital appreciation with low correlation to the equity markets. The plan is to write short-term call and put options on S&P 500 Index futures, and invest in cash and cash equivalents, including high-quality short-term fixed income securities such as U.S. Treasury securities. The fund will be managed by Gerald Black and Jeffrey Dean of sub-adviser ITB Capital Management. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2500.

Catalyst/Princeton Hedged Income Fund

Catalyst/Princeton Hedged Income Fund will seek capital appreciation with low correlation to the equity markets. The plan is to invest 40% in floating rate bank loans and the rest in some combination of investment grade and high yield fixed income securities. They’ll then attempt to hedge risks by actively shorting some indexes and using options and swaps to manage short term market volatility risk, credit risk and interest rate risk. They use can a modest amount of leverage and might invest 15% overseas. The fund will be managed by Munish Sood of Princeton Advisory. The opening expense ratio is not yet set. The minimum initial investment will be $2500.

Causeway International Small Cap Fund

Causeway International Small Cap Fund will seek long-term capital growth. The plan is to use quantitative screens to identify attractive stocks with market caps under $7.5 billion. The fund might overweight or underweight its investments in a particular country by 5% relative to their weight in the MSCI ACWI ex USA Small Cap Index. They can also put 10% of the fund in out-of-index positions. The fund will be managed byArjun Jayaraman, MacDuff Kuhnert, and Joe Gubler. This same team manages Global Absolute Return, Emerging Markets and International Opportunities. The opening expense ratio will be 1.56% and the minimum initial investment will be $5,000, reduced to $4,000 for IRAs.

Context Macro Opportunities Fund

Context Macro Opportunities Fund will seek total return with low correlation to broad financial markets. The plan is to use a number of arbitrage and alternative investment strategiesincluding but not limited to, break-even inflation trading, capital structure arbitrage, hedged mortgage-backed securities trading and volatility spread trading to allocate the Fund’s assets. The fund will be managed by a team from First Principles Capital Management, LLC. There is a separate accounts composite whose returns have been “X.XX% since <<Month d, yyyy>>.” The opening expense ratio has not yet been announced. The minimum initial investment will be $2000, reduced to $250 for IRAs.

Crawford Dividend Yield Fund

Crawford Dividend Yield Fund will seek to provide attractive long-term total return with above average dividend yield, in comparison with the Russell 1000 Value© Index.  The plan is to buy stocks with above average dividend yields backed by consistent businesses, adequate cash flow generation and supportive balance sheets. The fund will be managed by John H. Crawford, IV, CFA. The opening expense ratio will be 1.01% and the minimum initial investment will be $10,000.

Greenleaf Income Growth Fund

Greenleaf Income Growth Fundwill seek increasing dividend income over time. The plan is to buy securities that the managers think will increase their dividends or other income payouts over time. Those securities might include equities, REITs and master limited partnerships (MLPs). They can also use covered call writing and put selling in an attempt to enhance returns. The fund will be managed by Geofrey Greenleaf, CFA, and Rakesh Mehra. The opening expense ratio will be 1.4x% and the minimum initial investment will be $10,0000 reduced to $5,000 for IRAs and funds with automatic investing plans.

Heartland Mid Cap Value Fund

Heartland Mid Cap Value Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation and “modest” current income. That’s actually kinda cute. The plan is to invest in 30-60 midcaps, using the same portfolio discipline used in all the other Heartland funds. The fund will be managed by Colin P. McWey and Theodore D. Baszler. For the past 10 years Mr. Baszler has co-managed Heartland Select Value (HRSVX) which is also a mid-cap value fund with about the same number of holdings and the same core discipline. Anyone even vaguely interested here owes it to themselves to check there first. The opening expense ratio will be 1.25% and the minimum initial investment will be $1,000, reduced to $500 for IRAs and Coverdells.

ICON High Yield Bond Fund

ICON High Yield Bond Fund will seek high current income and growth of capital (for now, at least, but since that goal was described as “non-fundamental” …). The plan is to buy junk bonds, including preferred and convertibles in that definition. Up to 20% might be non-dollar denominated. The fund will be managed by Zach Jonson and Donovan J. (Jerry) Paul. They manage two one-star funds (ICON Bond and ICON Risk-Managed Balanced) together. Caveat emptor. The opening expense ratio will be 0.80% and the minimum initial investment will be $1,000.

Leader Global Bond Fund

Leader Global Bond Fund will seek current income (hopefully a lot of it, given the expense ratio). The plan is to assemble a global portfolio of investment- and non-investment grade bonds. The fund will be managed by John E. Lekas, founder of Leader Capital Corp., and Scott Carmack. The opening expense ratio will be 1.92% for Investor shares and the minimum initial investment will be $2500.

WCM Alternatives: Event-Driven Fund (WCERX)

WCM Alternatives: Event-Driven Fund (WCERX) will try to provide attractive risk-adjusted returns with low relative volatility in virtually all market environments. They’ll try to capture arbitrage-like gains from events such as mergers, acquisitions, asset sales or other divestitures, restructurings, refinancings, recapitalizations, reorganizations or other special situations. The fund will be managed by Roy D. Behren and Mr. Michael T. Shannon of Westchester Capital Management. The opening expense ratio for Investor shares will be 2.23%. The minimum initial investment is $2000.

Wellington Shields All-Cap Fund

Wellington Shields All-Cap Fund will seek capital appreciation, according to a largely incoherent SEC filing. The plan is to use “various screens and models” to assemble an all-cap stock portfolio. The fund will be managed by “Cripps and McFadden.” The opening expense ratio will be something but I don’t know what – the prospectus is for retail shares but lists a 1.5% e.r. for a non-existent institutional class. The minimum initial investment will be $1000.

William Blair Directional Multialternative Fund

William Blair Directional Multialternative Fund will seek “capital appreciation with moderate volatility and directional exposure to global equity and bond markets through the utilization of hedge fund or alternative investment strategies.” That sounds expensive. The plan is to divide the money between a bunch of hedge funds and liquid alt teams. Sadly, they’re not yet ready to reveal who those teams will be. The opening expense ratio has not yet been disclosed. The minimum initial investment will be $2500.

August 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Big 4 Onefund

Big 4 Onefund (no, I do not make these names up) will seek long-term capital gain by investing in a changing mixture of ETFs, closed-end funds, business development companies, master limited partnerships and REITs. The fund will be managed by Jim Hagedorn, CFA, Founder, President and CEO of Chicago Partners Investment Group, and John Nicholas. The minimum initial investment is $2000. The expense ratio has not yet been set.

Blue Current Global Dividend Fund

Blue Current Global Dividend Fund will seek current income and capital appreciation. The plan is to buy 25-35 “undervalued, high-quality dividend paying equities with a commitment to dividend growth and pay above-market dividend yields.” They reserve the right to do that through ETFs. Hmmm. Henry Jones and Dennis Sabo of Edge Advisers will manage the portfolio. The minimum initial investment is $2,500. The expense ratio has not yet been disclosed.

Gateway Equity Call Premium Fund

Gateway Equity Call Premium Fund will seek total return with less risk than U.S. equity markets by investing in a broadly diversified portfolio of 200 or so stocks, while also writing index call options against the full notional value of the equity portfolio. It will be run by some of the same folks who manage the well-respected Gateway Fund (GATEX). The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for tax-advantaged accounts and those with an automatic investment plan. The initial expense ratio has not yet been released, though the “A” shares will carry a 5.75% load.

Gold & Silver Index Fund

Gold & Silver Index Fund will seek to replicate the total return of The Gold & Silver Index which itself seeks to track the spot price of gold and silver. The index, owned by the advisor, is 50% gold and 50% silver. It will be managed by Michael Willis of The Willis Group. The minimum initial investment is $1000. They haven’t yet released the fund’s expense ratio.

Index Funds S&P 500 Equal Weight

Index Funds S&P 500 Equal Weight will seek to match the performance of the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index. They’ll rebalance quarterly. Skeptics claim that such funds are a simple bet on mid-cap stocks in the S&P500 since an equal weight index dramatically boosts their presence compared to a market cap weighted one. It will be managed by Michael Willis of The Willis Group. The minimum initial investment is $1000. They haven’t yet released the fund’s expense ratio. The Guggenheim ETF in the same space charges 40 basis points, so this one can’t afford to charge much more.

Lazard Master Alternatives Portfolio

Lazard Master Alternatives Portfolio will seek long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to allocate money to four separately managed strategies: (1) global equity long/short; (2) US equity long/short; (3) Japanese equity long/short and (4) relative value convertible securities. The fund will be managed by Matthew Glaser, Jai Jacob and Stephen Marra of Lazard’s Alternatives and Multi-Asset teams. The minimum initial investment is $2,500 and the opening expense ratio is 2.86%. There’s also a 1% short-term redemption fee.

Leadsman Capital Strategic Income Fund

Leadsman Capital Strategic Income Fund will pursue a high level of current income by investing in some mix of stocks (common and preferred) and corporate bonds (investment grade and high yield). They anticipate holding 30-60 securities. The fund will be managed by a team from Leadsman Capital LLC. The minimum initial investment is $2500 and the expense ratio has not yet been announced.

Longbow Long/Short Energy Infrastructure Fund

Longbow Long/Short Energy Infrastructure Fund will seek “differentiated, risk-adjusted investment returns with low volatility and low correlation to both the U.S. equity and bond markets through a value-oriented investment strategy, focused on long-term capital appreciation.” Uh-huh. For this they will charge you 3.81%. The plan is to invest, long and short, in the energy infrastructure, utilities and power sectors. Up to 25% of the fund might be in MLPs. They’ll be between 60-100% long and 40-90% short. The fund will be managed by Thomas M. Fitzgerald, III and Steven S. Strassberg of Longbow Capital Partners. The firm manages about a quarter billion in assets. The minimum initial investment is $2500 and the aforementioned e.r. is 3.81% on retail shares.

TIAA-CREF Emerging Markets Debt Fund

TIAA-CREF Emerging Markets Debt Fund seeks a favorable long-term total return, through income and capital appreciation, by investing primarily in a portfolio of emerging markets fixed-income investments. The management team has not yet been named. The minimum initial investment is $2500 and the expense ratio is capped at 1.0%.

July 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Lazard Global Strategic Equity Portfolio

Lazard Global Strategic Equity Portfolio will pursue long-term capital appreciation by investing in a global portfolio of firms with “sustainably high or improving returns and trading at attractive valuations.”  While legally diversified, they expect to hold a fairly small number of charges.  They also maintain the right to go to cash, just in case. The fund will be managed by a team drawn from Lazard’s International, Global and European Equity teams. The initial expense ratio will be 1.40%. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

Lazard International Equity Concentrated Portfolio

Lazard International Equity Concentrated Portfolio will pursue long-term capital appreciation by investing in underpriced growth companies, typically domiciled in developed markets. The plan is to invest in 20-30 stocks, with the proviso that they might invest in EM domiciled stocks, too. The EM portion is weirdly capped: they might invest “an amount up to the current emerging markets component of the Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World Index ex-US plus 15%.” The fund will be managed by Lazard’s international equity team. The initial expense ratio 1.45%. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

Lazard US Small Cap Equity Growth Portfolio

Lazard US Small Cap Equity Growth Portfolio will pursuelong-term capital appreciation by investing in domestic small cap growth stocks. (Woo hoo!) The fund will be managed by Frank L. Sustersic, head of Lazard’s small cap growth team. The initial expense ratio 1.37%. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

New Sheridan Developing World Fund

New Sheridan Developing World Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation by investing in the stock of firms tied to the emerging markets. Which stocks? Uhhh, “[t] he Adviser analyzes countries, sectors and individual securities based on a set of predetermined factors.” So, stocks matching their predetermined factors. The fund will be managed by Russell and Richard Hoss. They don’t advertise any prior EM track record. Both previously worked for Roth Capital Partners, “an investment banking firm dedicated to the small-cap public market.” The initial expense ratio has not yet been disclosed, though there will be a 2% redemption fee on shares held less than a month. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

PCS Commodity Strategy Fund

PCS Commodity Strategy Fund, N shares, will try to replicate the returns of the Rogers International Commodity Index. The plan is to hold a combination of derivations and high-quality bonds. The fund will be managed by a four person team. The initial expense ratio will be 1.35%. The minimum initial investment is $5,000.

Schwab Fundamental Global Real Estate Index Fund

Schwab Fundamental Global Real Estate Index Fundwill try to replicate the returns of the Russell Fundamental Global Select Real Estate Index. They might not be able to reproduce all of the index investments but will try to match the returns. They’ll invest in a global REIT portfolio which includes emerging markets but excludes timber and mortgage REITs. The fund will be managed by two Schwabies: Agnes Hong and Ferian Juwono. The initial expense ratio is not yet disclosed, though the existence of a 2% early redemption fee is. The minimum initial investment is $100, through Schwab of course.

T. Rowe Price Institutional Frontier Markets Equity Fund

T. Rowe Price Institutional Frontier Markets Equity Fund will pursue long-term growth by investing in the stocks of firms whose home countries are not in the MSCI All Country World Index. Examples include Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Trinidad and Tobago. The discipline is Price’s standard bottom-up, GARP investing. The fund will be managed by Oliver D.M. Bell who also runs Price Africa and Middle East (TRAMX). The initial expense ratio will be 1.35%. The minimum initial investment is $1,000,000. A little high for my budget, but it’s good to know where the industry leaders are going so we thought we’d mention it.

T. Rowe Price International Concentrated Equity Fund

T. Rowe Price International Concentrated Equity Fund will pursuelong-term growth of capital through investments in stocks of 40-60 non-U.S. companies. They’re registered as non-diversified which means they might put a lot into a few of those stocks. The fund will be managed by Federico Santilli. The initial expense ratio is 0.90%. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

WST Asset Manager – U.S. Bond Fund

WST Asset Manager – U.S. Bond Fund will pursue total return from income and capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in both investment grade and junk bonds, with their “a proprietary quantitative model” telling them how much to allocate to each strategy.  They warn that the model’s allocation “may change frequently,” so that investors might expect turnover “significantly greater than 100%.” The fund will be managed by Wayne F. Wilbanks, the advisor’s CIO, Roger H. Scheffel Jr. and Tom McNally. They began managing separate accounts using this strategy in 2006. Since then those accounts have returned an average of 9.3% per year while the average multisector bond fund earned 6%. They trail their peer group for the past one- and three-year periods and exceed it modestly for the past five years. That signals the fact that the accounts performed exceptionally well in the 2006-08 period, though details are absent. The initial expense ratio is a stunning 1.81%. The minimum initial investment is $1000.

June 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

American Beacon AHL Managed Futures Strategy Fund

American Beacon AHL Managed Futures Strategy Fund will pursue capital growth. The strategy will be to be use futures, options and forward contracts linked to stock indices, currencies, bonds, interest rates, energy, metals and agricultural products. They’ll invest in areas with positive price momentum and short ones with negative momentum; the prospectus doesn’t give much detail, though, on the use of shorting and hedges. The prospectus does offer an admirable amount of detail concerning the sorts of risk that this strategy entails. The enumerated risks include:

Asset Selection

Commodities

Counterparty

Credit

Currency

Derivatives

Emerging Markets

Foreign Investing

High Portfolio Turnover

Interest Rate

Investment

Issuer

Leveraging

Liquidity

Market Direction

Market Events

Market

Model and Data

Obsolescence

Crowding/Convergence

Non-Diversification

Other Investment Companies

Management

Sector

Short Position

Subsidiary

Tax

U.S. Government Securities and Government Sponsored Enterprises

Valuation

Volatility

The fund will be managed by Matthew Sargaison and Russell Korgaonkar of AHL Partners LLP.  The opening expense ratio is 1.93% after waivers. The minimum initial investment is $ 2500.

American Beacon Bahl & Gaynor Small Cap Growth Fund

American Beacon Bahl & Gaynor Small Cap Growth Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation. The strategy will be to invest in high-quality dividend-paying small cap stocks. The managers pursue a fundamental approach to security selection and a bottom-up approach to portfolio construction. The fund will be managed by Edward Woods, Scott Rodes and Stephanie Thomas of Bahl & Gaynor. The opening expense ratio is 1.37% after waivers. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

American Century Emerging Markets Debt Fund

American Century Emerging Markets Debt Fund will pursue capital growth. The strategy will be to invest in dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by E.M. governments and corporations. The managers may invest in both investment grade and high-yield debt. They’ll attempt to hedge other sorts of risk, including currencies, interest rates and individual country risk. The fund will be managed by a team led byMargé Karner, who just joined American Century after serving as a senior portfolio managers for E.M. debt at HSBC Global Asset Management. The opening expense ratio is 0.97%. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $2000 for Coverdell education savings accounts.

Coho Relative Value Equity Fund

Coho Relative Value Equity Fund will pursue total return. The strategy will be to invest in mid- to large-cap dividend-paying stocks. The portfolio will generally be comprised of 20 to 35 equity securities that demonstrate “stability, dividend- and cash-flow growth.” The fund will be managed by Brian Kramp and Peter Thompson of Coho Investment Partners. The opening expense ratio is 1.30% plus a 2% redemption fee on shares held fewer than 60 days. The minimum initial investment is $2,000, reduced to $500 for retirement accounts.

Emerald Insights Fund

Emerald Insights Fund will seek long-term growth through capital appreciation. Their preference is for “[c]ompanies with perceived leadership positions and competitive advantages in niche markets that do not receive significant coverage from other institutional investors.” The fund will be managed by David Volpe, a managing director at Emerald. The opening expense ratio is 1.40% after waivers. The minimum initial investment is $2000.

Horizon Active Risk Assist Fund

Horizon Active Risk Assist Fund “seeks to capture the majority of the returns associated with equity market investments, while exposing investors to less risk than other equity investments.”  The plan is to invest in up to 30 ETFs representing about a dozen asset classes, then to hedge that exposure with their “risk assist” strategy. “Risk Assist is an active de-risking strategy intended to guard against catastrophic market events and maximum drawdowns.” Translation: they’ll hold cash and Treasuries. The fund will be managed by a team headed by Horizon’s president, Robbie Cannon. Normal operating expenses are capped at 1.42%.  The minimum initial investment is $2500.

Lyrical Liquid Hedged Fund

Lyrical Liquid Hedged Fund will pursue long-term capital growth. The strategy will be to invest under normal circumstances in liquid long and short equity positions in an attempt to benefit from rising markets and hedge against falling markets.  They expect to be at last 40% net long usually. The “liquid” part means “easily traded securities,” which translates mostly to mid- and large-cap US stocks. The fund will be managed by Andrew Wellington, CIO of Lyrical Asset Management, LP. The opening expense ratio is 2.20% after waivers.  The minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Scharf Global Opportunity Fund

Scharf Global Opportunity Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation. The strategy will be to invest in a global collection of “growth stocks at value prices” (their wording), though they could invest up to 30% in fixed income. The fund will be managed by Brian A. Krawez, president of the advisor. The opening expense ratio is 0.51% after a waiver of about 250 bps, plus a 2.0% redemption fees on shares held fewer than 15 days.  (15 days?  Really?)  The minimum initial investment is $10,000, reduced to $5,000 for tax-advantaged accounts or those set up with automatic investing plans.

Sirius S&P Strategic Large-Cap Allocation Fund

Sirius S&P Strategic Large-Cap Allocation Fund seeks long term growth and preservation of capital through investment in large cap equity and market index funds. At base, they’ll invest – long and short – in the S&P 500 index, companies or sectors.  The fund will be managed by Sirius Fund Advisor’s founder, Constance D. Russello. The expense ratio is not yet set.  The minimum initial investment is $2500.

V2 Hedged Equity Fund

V2 Hedged Equity will seek to provide long-term capital appreciation with reduced volatility. The fund may invest up to 100% in 30-50 stocks in the S&P500 and (2) up to 100% in CBOE FLexible EXchange index call options. The prospectus makes two claims that I can’t immediately reconcile: “the Adviser seeks to achieve the Fund’s investment objective by investing at least 90% of its net assets in U.S. common stocks” and “The net long exposure of the Fund (gross long exposures minus gross short exposures) is usually expected to be between 20% and 80%.” In 2010, the adviser had four separate accounts which used this strategy for private investors. In 2012, those four accounts morphed into the core of a hedge fund using the strategy.  In July, the hedge fund will become the mutual fund’s institutional class. From August 2010 to December 2013, the strategy returned 14.16% annually which compares favorably to the 5.74% earned by the average long/short fund over that same period. Victor Viner and Brett Novosel of V2 will manage the account.  The minimum initial investment will be $5,000.

Weitz Core Plus Income Fund

Weitz Core Plus Income Fund will pursue current income, capital preservation and long-term capital appreciation. They’ll invest in “debt securities” which includes preferred stock, foreign bonds, and taxable munis as well as more-traditional fare. Up to 25% of the portfolio might be invested in non-investment grade debt. They can also use various derivatives “for investment purposes consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and [to] mitigate or hedge risks.” They anticipate an average portfolio maturity of about 10 years. Thomas D. Carney, a portfolio manager since 1996, and Nolan P. Anderson of Weitz Investment Management will run the fund.  The initial expense ratio will be 0.85% for the Investor class shares. The minimum initial investment is $2500.

William Blair Bond Fund

William Blair Bond Fund will try to “outperfrorm the Lehman Brothers U.S. Aggregate Index by maximizing total return through a combination of income and capital appreciation.” They’ll invest in dollar-denominated, investment grade securities, issued both here and overseas. They might also sneak in a few bond-like equity securities. The fund will be managed by James Kaplan, Christopher Vincent, and Benjamin Armstrong, whose “core fixed income composite” seems not to have performed noticeably better than the index over the past decade. The initial expense ratio will be 0.65%. The minimum initial investment is $5000, reduced to $3000 for IRAs.

May 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Acuitas International Small Cap Fund

Acuitas International Small Cap Fund will seek via investing in (duh) international small cap stocks. Small caps range up to $4 billion. The fund will be managed by multiple sub-advisors including Advisory Research, Algert Coldiron Investors, and DePrince, Race & Zollo. The minimum initial investment is $2500. The opening expense ratio has not been set.

Acuitas Us Microcap Fund

Acuitas Us Microcap Fund will seek capital appreciation via investing in (duh) US microcap stocks. Small caps range up to $1 billion. The fund will be managed by multiple sub-advisors including Clarivest Asset Management, Falcon Point Capital, and Opus Capital Management. Falcon Point has a reasonably successful microcap strategy with a three year record; the two other advisers don’t advertise a dedicated microcap strategy. The minimum initial investment is $2500. The opening expense ratio has not been set.

 AMG Renaissance International Equity Fund

 AMG Renaissance International Equity Fund will seek long-term growth by investing in 50-60 global equities. There’s no clearly articulated discipline. Up to one-third of the portfolio might be EM companies. The fund will be managed by Joe G. Bruening of Renaissance Group. The minimum initial investment is $2,000, reduced to $1,000 for IRAs. The opening expense ratio will be 1.30%.

Catalyst Activist Investor Fund

Catalyst Activist Investor Fund will seek long term capital appreciation by investing in stocks of companies that are experiencing significant activist investor activity.  Those are mostly domestic large caps, but the manager is free to go elsewhere.  The fund is classified as non-diversifed. The fund will be managed by David Miller of Catalyst. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts with an automatic investing plan. The opening expense ratio is 1.25%.

Catalyst Insider Income Fund

Catalyst Insider Income Fund will seek “high current income with low interest rate sensitivity” by investing in the short-term bonds of corporations whose executives are buying back the firm’s common stock.  They’ve extensively back-tested the strategy (oh good!) and they believe it will allow them to avoid companies at risk of bankruptcy.  I’m as-yet unclear how much of a risk bankruptcy is for investors looking to buy short-term bonds. The fund will be managed by David Miller. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts with an automatic investing plan. The opening expense ratio is 1.20%.

Catalyst Absolute Total Return Fund

Catalyst Absolute Total Return Fund will seek “sustainable income and capital appreciation with positive returns in all market conditions.”  The not-entirely-unique plan is to be high dividend securities and sell covered calls. The fund will be managed by Shawn Blau of ATR Advisors.  His separate account composite, dating back to 2003, strikes me as very solid.  He had one disastrous year (2007, when he dropped 15% while the market was up 5%), a very strong performance in 2008 (down 1%) and a string of years in which he outperformed the S&P.  They have not yet released the calculation of annualized returns, just year by year ones. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts with an automatic investing plan. The opening expense ratio is 1.75%.

Catalyst/Stone Beach Income Opportunity Fund

Catalyst/Stone Beach Income Opportunity Fund will seek “high current income consistent with total return and capital preservation” by investing primarily in mortgage-backed securities (akin to Gundlach’s specialty at DoubleLine). The fund will be managed by David Lysenko and Ed Smith of Stone Beach Investment Management.  The firm’s hedge fund, using the same strategy, has dramatically outperformed an MBS index. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts with an automatic investing plan. The opening expense ratio is 1.30%.

Catalyst/Groesbeck Aggressive Growth Fund

Catalyst/Groesbeck Aggressive Growth Fund will seek long term capital appreciation by investing in small- to mid-cap domestic growth stocks. The fund will be managed by Robert Groesbeck of Groesbeck Investment Management. The minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $100 for accounts with an automatic investing plan. The opening expense ratio is 1.30%.

Cupps All Cap Growth Fund

Cupps All Cap Growth Fund will seek “growth of capital over a long-term investment period” via investing in domestic growth stocks. The fund will be managed by Andrew S. Cupps, former manager (1998-2000) of Strong Enterprise Fund. He also runs separate accounts in the same style, but has not yet released their performance record. The minimum initial investment is $2,000. The opening expense ratio is not yet set.

Cupps Mid Cap Growth Fund

Cupps Mid Cap Growth Fund will seek long-term growth via investing in domestic mid-cap growth stocks. The fund will be managed by Andrew S. Cupps, former manager (1998-2000) of Strong Enterprise Fund. That fund had the typical meteoric path up (a 54% gain in his first 16 months) and down (a 39% loss in his last six months). He also runs separate accounts in the same style, but has not yet released their performance record. The minimum initial investment is $2,000. The opening expense ratio is not yet set.

HCM Tactical Growth Fund

HCM Tactical Growth Fund, “R” shares, will seek long-term capital appreciation via market timing. Their proprietary HCM – BuyLine® model will dictate whether they’re in cash or equities. When they’re in equities, the portfolio will be divided between individual stocks and funds. The fund will be managed by Vance Howard of Howard Capital Management. There’s no evidence in the prospectus that documents any previous success with this expensive strategy. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for IRAs. The opening expense ratio will be 1.98%.

LSV U.S. Managed Volatility Fund

LSV U.S. Managed Volatility Fund will seek long-term growth via investing in low-volatility value stocks. The fund will be managed byJosef Lakonishok, CEO, CIO, and Partner, Menno Vermeulen, and Puneet Mansharamani. Lakonishok is a famous academic who pioneered much of the behavioral finance field. He and his team have a separate accounts composite that has slightly bested the S&P 500 (presumably with less volatility) since 2010. The team also runs three four-star equity funds which, ironically, are marked by distinctly elevated volatility. The minimum initial investment is $1,000. The opening expense ratio will be 0.80%.

LSV GLOBAL Managed Volatility Fund

LSV GLOBAL Managed Volatility Fund will seek long-term growth via investing in low-volatility global stocks. The fund will be managed by Josef Lakonishok, CEO, CIO, and Partner, Menno Vermeulen, and Puneet Mansharamani. Lakonishok is a famous academic who pioneered much of the behavioral finance field. He and his team have a separate accounts composite that has slightly bested the S&P 500 (presumably with less volatility) since 2010. The team also runs three four-star equity funds which, ironically, are marked by distinctly elevated volatility. The minimum initial investment is $1,000. The opening expense ratio will be 1.0%.

North Star Bond Fund

North Star Bond Fund, I shares,will seek via investing in bonds, convertible securities and (potentially) equities issued by small cap companies. That’s certainly distinctive. The fund will be managed by a team that includes their microcap equity and opportunistic equity managers. The minimum initial investment is $5,000. The opening expense ratio is not yet set.

Rothschild Larch Lane Alternatives Fund

Rothschild Larch Lane Alternatives Fund will seek “to generate consistent returns relative to risk and maintain low correlation to equity and bond markets” by pursuing a jumble of hedge fund-inspired trading strategies. The fund will be managed by Ellington Management Group, Karya Capital, Mizuho Alternative Investments, and Winton Capital Management. The minimum initial investment is $1,000 for Investor shares or $10,000 for Institutional ones. The opening expense ratio will be 2.86% for the Investor shares.

Sound Point Floating Rate Income Fund

Sound Point Floating Rate Income Fund will seek “to provide a high level of current income consistent with strong risk-adjusted returns” via investing primarily in senior floating rate loans. The fund will be managed by Stephen Ketchum, principal owner of Sound Point Capital Management, and Rick Richert. They ran this portfolio as a closed-end fund, with modest success, in 2013. The minimum initial investment is $1,000. The opening expense ratio will be 1.15%.

The Tocqueville Alternative Strategies Fund

The Tocqueville Alternative Strategies Fund will seek “higher returns and lower volatility than the S&P 500 Index over a 3-5 year time horizon” and positive absolute returns over any two year period by using long-biased and market neutral arbitrage trading strategies. The fund will be managed by as as-yet unnamed person. The minimum initial investment is $1,000, reduced to $250 for IRAs. The opening expense ratio is not yet set.

April 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

AR Capital International Real Estate Income Fund

AR Capital International Real Estate Income Fund, Advisor shares, will pursue current income with the potential for capital appreciation by investing in income producing securities related to the real estate industry.  “International” actually means “global,” since they expect “at least” 40% non-US and even that will be mostly achieved through ADRs.  The manager has not yet been named.  The minimum initial investment is $2500, raised to $100,000 for those buying directly from the advisor.  The opening expense ratio will be capped, but hasn’t yet been specified.

CM Advisors Defensive Fund

CM Advisors Defensive Fund will pursue capital preservation in all market conditions by using “various investment strategies and techniques.”  Uh-huh.  The only strategies or techniques clearly laid out are shorting and holding cash.  The managers will be James D. Brilliant and Stephen W. Shipman of Van Den Berg Management.  The minimum initial investment for “R” shares is $1,000.  The opening expense ratio will be 1.50%.

Day Hagan Tactical Dividend Fund

Day Hagan Tactical Dividend Fund, I shares, will pursue long-term capital appreciation with the possibility of current income by investing in large-cap, domestic dividend paying stocks.  Here’s the twist: they’ll target industries “at or near the top of their respective dividend yield cycle given the inverse relationship between price and yield.” The managers will be Robert Herman, Jeffrey Palmer of Gries Financial, and Donald Hagan of, well, “Donald L. Hagan LLC, also known as Day Hagan Asset Management.” The minimum initial investment is $1,000 for regular and IRA accounts, and $100 for an automatic investment plan account. The opening expense ratio will be 1.35%.

Schroder Global Multi-Asset Income Fund

Schroder Global Multi-Asset Income Fund will pursue income and capital growth over the medium to longer term by investing in a global portfolio high-quality, dividend-paying stocks and fixed income securities which promise sustainable income flows.  The managers will be Aymeric Forest and Iain Cunningham, both of Schroder Investment Management NA. They’ve also run reasonably successful separate accounts using this strategy but the track record there (less than two years) is too brief to provide much insight. The minimum initial investment for Advisor shares, which are intended to be sold through third-parties, is $2,500. The minimum for Investor shares, purchased directly from Schroder, is $250,000. (Can you tell they’d prefer you invest through Schwab?) The opening expense ratio has not yet been released.

T. Rowe Price Asia Opportunities Fund

T. Rowe Price Asia Opportunities Fund will pursue long-term growth of capital by investing in mid- to large-cap stocks of firms in, or tied to, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. The emphasis will be on high-quality, blue chip firms. The fund is registered as non-diversified, though that seems unlikely in practice given T. Rowe’s style.  The manager will be Eric C. Moffett, a long-time research analyst based in Hong Kong.  The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for various sorts of tax-advantaged accounts.  The opening expense ratio will be 1.15%. 

March 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Cozad Small Cap Value Fund

Cozad Small Cap Value Fund will seek long term capital appreciation by investing domestic small cap stocks, with an anticipated holding period of 12-18 months. The underlying strategy calls for portfolio rebalancing every three or four months and, if the signals are right, it might “liquidate investment positions and hold the proceeds in money market funds, other highly liquid obligations or the electronically-traded iShares Russell 2000 Value Index Fund.”  The manager will be David Wetherell of Cozad Asset Management. This represents the conversion of a hedge fund of the same name but they have not yet released that fund’s track record. The initial expense ratio is 1.55%and the minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Dodge & Cox Global Bond Fund

Dodge & Cox Global Bond Fund will seek a high rate of total return consistent with long-term preservation of capital. They target a diversified portfolio of investment grade bonds and have the power to hedge the portfolio. The fund will be managed by  Dodge & Cox’s seven-person Global Bond Investment Policy Committee. This portfolio operated as a hedge fund (their term: “a private fund”) from December 2012 until its conversion in May 2014. In 2013 the fund made 2.6% while its benchmark, the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond index, lost 2.6%.  The initial expense ratio is 0.60% and the minimum initial investment is $2,500, reduced to $1,000 for IRAs.

Lazard Emerging Markets Income Portfolio

Lazard Emerging Markets Income Portfolio will seek total return consistent with the preservation of capital by investing in currencies, debt securities, and derivative instruments and other investments that are economically tied to emerging market countries.  A key driver of performance will be the intention to invest in very short term securities and higher-yield debt. The managers will be Ardra Belitz and Ganesh Ramachandran. Both have been managers on Lazard’s EM income team for more than a decade. The initial expense ratio is 1.20 %and the minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Lazard Fundamental Long/Short Portfolio

Lazard Fundamental Long/Short Portfolio will seek capital appreciation with a hope for principal preservation by investing, long and short, in a mostly domestic equity portfolio. They describe themselves as “relative value” investors looking to invest in “companies with strong and/or improving financial productivity that have attractive valuations.” They will at the same time short the stock of firms with “deteriorating fundamentals, unattractive valuations or other qualities warranting a short position.”  The fund might be anywhere from 100% long to 25% net short. The managers will be a team led by Dmitri Batsev. The initial expense ratio is 1.95%and the minimum initial investment is $2,500.

Payden Strategic Income Fund

Payden Strategic Income Fund will seek total return combined with income generation that is consistent with preservation of capital by investing globally in pretty much anything that might generate income, from US dividend-paying stocks to EM bonds and convertibles. They anticipate investing in both developed and developing markets and in both investment grade and high-yield debt. The manager will be Michael Salvay, CFA, a Managing Principal at Payden. The initial expense ratio is 0.80%and the minimum initial investment is $100,000, though it’s likely that lower minimum shares will become available through the various fund supermarkets.

Vertical Capital Innovations MLP Fund

Vertical Capital Innovations MLP Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation and current income through a diversified portfolio of investments in infrastructure and master limited partnerships. They intend to pay out a regular, consistent dividend at a range approximating what they receive from the MLPs.  One red flag is that the fund, like many MLP funds, will not be organized as a typical open-end mutual fund; but instead will be organized as and taxed as a corporation. The managers will be Michael D. Underhill and Susan L. Dambekaln of Capital Innovations, LLC. The initial expense ratio is 1.75%for Advisor class shares and the minimum initial investment is $1,000.

Vertical Capital Lido Managed Volatility Fund

Vertical Capital Lido Managed Volatility Fund will seek capital appreciation while seeking to limit short term risk.  It will be a fund of funds, investing in 8-12 funds that give it the best risk-adjusted performance.  They’ll target volatility of 30-70% of the S&P 500s.  Stocks, bonds, domestic, global, emerging, options, futures, long, short. The manager will be Jason Ozur of Lido Advisors. The prospectus doesn’t offer any documentation of Mr. Ozur’s success in executing this strategy. The initial expense ratio is 1.75%and the minimum initial investment is $1,000 for Advisor class shares which carry a sales load.

Whitebox Unconstrained Income Fund

Whitebox Unconstrained Income Fund will seek a high level of total return and low portfolio volatility. Their universe is anything that produces income.  Their plan is to use three broad strategies: (1) dynamically allocating between asset classes; (2) seeking the best investments in each class through bottom-up research; and (3) from time to time, hedge the portfolio. The fund will be managed by the usual gang.  The initial expense ratio is 1.67%and the minimum initial investment is $5,000, reduced to $1,000 for tax-deferred accounts.

February 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

ActiveShares Large-Cap, Mid-Cap and Multi-Cap Funds

ActiveShares Large-Cap, Mid-Cap and Multi-Cap Funds will be a series of actively-managed ETFs advised by the Precidian Funds.  At the moment, their prospectuses are missing information about both expenses and management.

AR Capital BDC Income Fund

AR Capital BDC Income Fund seeks to provide a high level of income, with the potential for capital appreciation.  The strategy is to invest in the equities of business development corporations.  They’ll target BDCs which are paying attractive rates of distribution and appear capable of sustaining that distribution level over time. A secondary consideration is the potential for capital appreciation. The managers are employees of BDCA Adviser, LLC but are otherwise unidentified.  The initial expense ratio has not been released and the minimum initial investment is $2500, raised to $100,000 if you’re silly enough to try and buy shares directly from the fund company.

AR Capital Dividend and Value Fund

AR Capital Dividend and Value Fund (Advisor shares) seeks to provide a high level of dividend income, with the potential for capital appreciation.  The strategy is to invest in dividend-paying stocks, with special emphasis on energy infrastructure MLPs and REITs.  Up to 15% of the portfolio may be placed in illiquid investments and 20% in fixed-income.  The managers are Brad Stanley and Mark Painter, portfolio managers at Carnegie Asset Management.  Since February 2010, they’ve used this strategy in separate accounts which have trailed the S&P 500 by 150-250 basis points a year.  That said, we have neither income nor volatility data for the separate accounts so they might be much more attractive than the raw return numbers imply. The initial expense ratio has not been released and the minimum initial investment is $2500, raised to $100,000 if you’re silly enough to try and buy shares directly from the fund company.

ASTON/Guardian Capital Global Dividend Fund

ASTON/Guardian Capital Global Dividend Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation and current income by investing in a global portfolio of dividend-paying stocks whose firms have the ability to grow earnings and a willingness to increase dividends.  They will not hedge their currency exposure. The manager will be Srikanth Iyer, Managing Director and Head of Systematic Strategies for Guardian Capital LP. Guardian has been using this strategy in separate accounts since 2007, with mixed results as far as total return goes.  The initial expense ratio is 1.31% and the minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $500 for IRAs, ESAs and UTMAs.

ASTON/Pictet International Fund

ASTON/Pictet International Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing in developed market stocks which demonstrate growth at a reasonable price.  They will not hedge their currency exposure. The manager will be Fabio Paolini, Head of EAFE Equities at Pictet. Pictet has been around since 1805 and has been running this strategy in other accounts since 1995.  Those accounts have outperformed the EAFE by 200-250 basis points/year over the long-term.  The initial expense ratio is 1.51% and the minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $500 for IRAs, ESAs and UTMAs.

ATAC Beta Rotation Fund

ATAC Beta Rotation Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing in ETFs (and occasionally ETNs) based on the managers’ inflation expectations.  At base, high beta sectors thrive in rising inflation environments and low beta sectors in falling inflation environments.  Their plan is to rotate in the sectors best positioned for gains. They warn of turnover rates exceeding 1000% per year. The managers will be Edward Dempsey, founder and Chief Investment Officer of Pension Partners, and  Michael Gayed. The pair also runs ATAC Inflation Rotation Fund (ATACX) which uses the same strategy to rotate between bond sectors and cash.  The minimum initial investment is $2500.

BPV Large Cap Value Fund

BPV Large Cap Value Fund (Advisor shares) seeks to outperform the Russell Value index. Their sub-advisor has a quant-driven strategy for investing in large cap value stocks that have an attractive combination of value, management and momentum.  The managers are a team from AJO Partners.  (Nope, I’ve never heard of it either.)  AJO’s website describes them as “an institutional investment manager established in 1984 [who] manage tax-exempt portfolios of value-oriented U.S. and international equities.”  They’ve got $24B in AUM, $19B in their large cap strategy (not clear how they make that tax-exempt) and a really, really annoying website.  They’ve decided that all of their menu items need to start with the letter “P”. Clicking on the Performance tab starts with a cartoon (“We didn’t underperform, you overexpected”) and leads to a blank page with a 404 error.  The initial expense ratio hasn’t been announced and the minimum initial investment is $1000.

Catalyst Macro Strategy Fund

Catalyst Macro Strategy Fund (I shares) seeks to “positive returns in all market environments” and to “participate in the upside of the equity markets while seeking to minimize the impact of the market’s downside during periods of extreme market stress.”  They can invest, long and short, in a global portfolio of stocks and bonds. The lead manager is Al Procaccino of Castle Financial & Retirement Planning Associates Inc.  Castle’s website provides evidence of offices that look like a resort, but not of success with this (or any other) strategy. The initial expense ratio will be 1.75% after waivers and the minimum initial investment is $2500.

DoubleLine Flexible Income Fund

DoubleLine Flexible Income Fund will seek current income and capital appreciation by active asset allocation among market sectors in the fixed income universe.  It can invest anywhere and can short; you might profit by thinking of it as a sort of fixed-income hedge fund. The manager will be The Gundlach. The initial expense ratio is not yet set; the minimum initial investment is $2000, reduced to $500 for IRAs.

DoubleLine Low Duration Emerging Markets Fixed Income Fund

DoubleLine Low Duration Emerging Markets Fixed Income Fund will seek long-term total return by investing in governmental, quasi-governmental and private emerging markets bonds.  “Although the Fund may invest in individual securities of any maturity or duration, the Adviser will normally seek to construct an investment portfolio for the Fund with a dollar-weighted average effective duration of three years or less.” The managers will be Mark W. Christensen, Su Fei Koo and Luz M. Padilla.  The initial expense ratio is not yet set; the minimum initial investment is $2000, reduced to $500 for IRAs.

Innealta Fixed Income Fund

Innealta Fixed Income Fund (Class N) seeks “to maximize expected total return in the context of various risks across a wide spectrum of fixed income sectors” by investing in fixed-income ETFs. The manager is Gerald W. Buetow, Jr. (Ph.D.), Innealta’s Chief Investment Officer.  The initial expense ratio will be capped at 0.98% and the minimum initial investment is $5,000.

Liquid 8 Fund

Liquid 8 Fund seeks to generate current income with a low correlation to the risks and returns of major market indices.  (“Liquidate”?  Really?  Do managers have a “it’s better to be ridiculed than ignored” ethos?  Are you seeing funds with cutesy names – Giant 5, Bread & Butter, Palantir – drawing serious investor attention?) The strategy is to sell listed weekly put options on stocks, stock indices and ETFs with the goal of an annual shareholder yield of 8%.  The manager is C. Shawn Gibson of Liquid Alternatives (“a newly-formed investment advisor”), assisted by “co-decision makers … G. Bradley Ball and Adam C. Stewart.” The decision-makers, co- and otherwise, have worked for institutional investment advisers but have not established a public track record. The initial expense ratio will be capped at 1.50% and the minimum initial investment is $1000.

McKinley Non-U.S. Core Growth Fund

McKinley Non-U.S. Core Growth Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in 40-70 non-U.S. stocks.  There’s not much detail in the prospectus, except to note that they’re “bottom-up” guys, emerging markets are capped at 40% and they don’t hedge.  The managers will be a team from McKinley Capital Management.  The initial expense ratio is 1.45% and the minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

Pzena Mid Cap Focused Value Fund

Pzena Mid Cap Focused Value Fund seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation.  The strategy is invest in 30-40 stocks, ranging from about $1.5 – 25 billion in market cap, “sell at a substantial discount to their intrinsic value but have solid long-term prospects.”  The managers are a team led by founder Richard Pzena.  Morningstar describes the publicly-traded Pzena as having “a strong franchise [built] around its long-term, deep-value-oriented investing philosophy” but fretted that their strategies got hammered in 2008.  The firm has about $25 billion in AUM, up 50% in a year. The initial expense ratio will be 1.35% and the minimum initial investment is $5000, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

Pzena Emerging Markets Focused Value Fund

Pzena Emerging Markets Focused Value Fund seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation.  The strategy is to use “a classic value strategy” to identify the 40-80 most attractive stocks from a universe of 1500 frontier and emerging markets securities.  The managers are John Goetz, Pzena’s president and co-CIO, Allison Fisch and Caroline Cai.  While Pzena does have an international strategy, their website doesn’t suggest the existence of an EM one. The initial expense ratio will be 1.75% and the minimum initial investment is $5000, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

Pzena Long/Short Focused Value Fund

Pzena Long/Short Focused Value Fund seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation by investing long in “classic value” shorts and shorting “a broadly diversified basket of stocks that the Adviser believes to be expensive relative to their earnings history.” The managers are Antonio DeSpirito, III, TVR Murti and Eli Rabinowich.  The initial expense ratio will be 2.73% and the minimum initial investment is $5000, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

Scout Equity Opportunity Fund

Scout Equity Opportunity Fund seeks to provide long-term capital gains by investing in a largely-domestic, all-cap portfolio.  Direct foreign investment is limited to 20% of the portfolio. The manager is Brent Olson, who just joined Scout from Three Peaks. From 2010-13, he co-managed Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund (ATGAX).  While I can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, ATGAX vastly underperformed its mid-cap growth peers for the decade prior to Mr. Olson’s arrival and substantially outperformed them during his tenure. The fund provides Scout with a successor to its mild-mannered Scout Stock Fund, which is liquidated in March 2013. The initial expense ratio has not been announced; the minimum initial investment is $1000, reduced to $100 for IRAs and accounts with an AIP provision.

Victory Emerging Markets Small Cap Fund

Victory Emerging Markets Small Cap Fund ( I shares) seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation by investing in, well, emerging markets small cap stocks.  They claim “a ‘bottom-up’ approach to identify companies that it believes have long-term growth prospects, are proven franchises, have sustainable margins and are financially stable.”  The managers are Margaret Lindsay, Victory’s CIO for non-U.S. small cap equity, Tiffany Kuo and Joshua Lindland.  Their EM small cap separate accounts have substantially outperformed their benchmark with relatively low volatility over the past five years.  The initial expense ratio will be 1.50% and the minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for IRAs.

January 2014, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

AR Capital BDC Income Fund

AR Capital BDC Income Fund will pursue a high level of income, with the potential for capital appreciation.  The plan is to invest in the common and preferred stock or warrants of business development companies that, in its view, are paying attractive rates of distribution and appear capable of sustaining that distribution level over time.  The fund will be managed by unnamed individuals affiliated with BDCA Adviser, LLC .  The minimum initial investment will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio has not yet been released.  There are Advisor shares but also curiously-priced “A” shares: they intend to charge 1.5% up front and a deferred charge of 1% if you’re redeeming a million or more at a time.

AR Capital Dividend and Value Fund

AR Capital Dividend and Value Fund, Advisor Share class, will pursue is to provide a high level of dividend income, with the potential for capital appreciation..  The plan is to invest in dividend-paying stocks, potentially including master limited partnerships and REITs.  Up to 15% of the fund might be in illiquid securities. The fund will be managed by Brad Stanley and Mark Painter, portfolio managers at Carnegie Asset Management.  (The managers both graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University, in Pittsburgh.)  The guys run about $168 million in this strategy and have modestly trailed the S&P500 since inception in early 2010). The minimum initial investment will be $2500 for financial intermediaries, $100,000 for other scoundrels trying to purchase directly from the firm and the initial expense ratio has not yet been announced.

Artisan High Income Fund

Artisan High Income Fund will pursue total return through a combination of current income and capital appreciation.  The plan is to invest primarily in the high-yield bonds and loans of “issuers with high quality business models that have compelling risk-adjusted return characteristics.” The fund will be managed by Bryan C. Krug who was a fixed income portfolio manager at Waddell & Reed Investment who ran the $10 billion, five star Ivy High Income Fund (WHIYX) for the past seven years.  He’s empowered to create his own independent team within Artisan.  The minimum initial investment will be $1000 for Investor shares and $250,000 for Advisor shares, but Artisan will waive the Investor minimum if you set up an account with an AIP.   The initial expense ratio will be 1.25% for both Investor and Advisor shares.

Brown Advisory Japan Alpha Opportunities Fund

Brown Advisory Japan Alpha Opportunities Fund will pursue total return by investing principally in equity securities of companies which are domiciled in or exercise the predominant part of their economic activity in Japan.  They intend to construct a series of “sleeves,” each with its own distinct risk profile but they don’t explain what they might be. They may invest in common and preferred stock, futures, convertibles, options, ADRs and GDR, REITs and ETFs.  While they advertise an all-cap portfolio, they do flag small cap and EM risks.  The fund will be managed by a team from Wellington Management.  The minimum initial investment will be $5000, reduced to $1000 for IRAs and $250 for accounts set up with an AIP.  The initial expense ratio will be 1.36%.  The fund will launch in March 2014.

Catalyst Macro Strategy Fund

Catalyst Macro Strategy Fund, I shares, will pursue capital appreciation with positive returns in all market conditions.  The plan is to invest in securities (foreign or domestic, equity or debt, long or short) which offer “a high probability of return or, alternatively, that provides a high degree of safety during uncertain market conditions.”  There is no evidence in the prospectus which demonstrates the probability that the managers will hit that lofty mark. The fund will be managed Al Procaccino, II, President, and Korey Bauer, Vice President, Analyst and Market Technician of Castle Financial & Retirement Planning Associates.  The minimum initial investment in all share classes of the Fund is $2,500 for regular and IRA accounts, and $100 for an automatic investment plan account. The initial expense ratio will be 1.75%.

Kalmar “Growth-with-Value” Small/Mid Cap Fund

Kalmar “Growth-with-Value” Small/Mid Cap Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation.  The plan is to buy and hold high quality smaller companies (those with market caps between $1 – 10 billion) when their stock can be acquired for a value price.  The fund will be managed by Ford Draper and Dana Walker.  The same team has done a nice job with the strategy in their small cap fund (KGSCX) which now has nearly $900 million and a four-star rating.  This might serve as a tool for diverting cash flows from that still-open fund. The minimum initial investment will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio will be 1.40%.

Loeb King Asia Fund

Loeb King Asia Fund will pursue “attractive risk adjusted returns in the Asian capital markets.”  The plan is to invest “long or short in value-oriented and/or event-driven equity securities in Asian countries, including countries that may be considered emerging markets.”  They also have the option of hedging the portfolio against macro events.  The fund will be managed by Blaine Marder of Carl M. Loeb Advisory Partners L.P., also known as Loeb King Capital Management.  This fund is a converted hedge fund, which Mr. Marder has managed since 2008.  The hedge fund offered substantial downside protection (it dropped 0.25% in 2011 when most Asia funds were down by double-digits) but still managed to return 18% through the first three quarters of 2013. The minimum initial investment will be $10,000, reduced to $2500 for IRAs, but the initial expense ratio has not yet been announced.

Miller Income Opportunity Trust

Miller Income Opportunity Trust will pursue “a high level of income while maintaining the potential for growth.” The plan is to invest in let Bill Miller and his son invest in anything they want, with a focus on things which produce income.  The prospectus reads like an overpriced version of FPA Crescent (FPACX).  The fund will be managed by Bill Miller and Bill Miller IV.  It’s a Legg Mason fund, so there is a slug of share classes.  The minimum initial investment will be $1000 or a million and the initial expense ratio will be between 1 – 2%, depending on class.  The whole enterprise leaves me feeling a little queasy since it looks either like Miller’s late-career attempt to prove that he’s not a dinosaur or Legg’s post-divorce sop to him.

Navigator Fixed Income Total Return Fund

Navigator Fixed Income Total Return Fund, I Shares, will pursue “excess alpha over a full market cycle measured against the Barclays Capital U.S. Corporate High Yield Index and the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index” by investing, long and short, in fixed income securities.  The fund will be managed by a team from Clark Capital Management, including its founder.  The minimum initial investment will be $5000 but the initial expense ratio has not been announced.

NWM Momentum Fund

NWM Momentum Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation.  The plan is to invest in a variety of exchange-traded products using their “risk on / risk off proprietary screening model.”  The fund will be managed by Momentum Fund Group.  The minimum initial investment will be $5000, reduced to $1000 if you somehow conclude this is a good idea for your retirement account or if you establish an AIP account.  The initial expense ratio will be 1.65%.

Parametric Dividend Income Fund

Parametric Dividend Income Fund will pursue total return and current income.  (Curious, “total return” usually subsumes the notion “current income” ‘cause that’s what “total” means.)  The plan is to invest in a diversified portfolio of quality companies that have historically demonstrated high current income and lower levels of stock price volatility on a sector relative basis.  The fund will be managed by Thomas Seto and David Stein of Parametric, on behalf of Eaton Vance.  They’re run a tiny account using this strategy for less than a year and it has modestly trailed the market.  No word on its income production. The minimum initial investment will be $1000 and the initial expense ratio will be 0.95%.

Pax World International ESG Index Fund

Pax World International ESG Index Fund will come online soon to absorb the assets of two existing Pax funds, Pax World International (PXINX) and Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Index ETF (EAPS).  Details are maddeningly scarce but the ETF has about $57 million in assets and charges 0.55%, and Pax generally has a $1,000 minimum on their funds. 

Perritt Low Priced Stock Fund

Perritt Low Priced Stock Fund will pursue long-term capital appreciation by investing in small cap stocks priced at $15 or less.  The fund will be managed by Michael Corbett and Brian Gillespie.  Mr. Corbett also runs Perritt Microcap (PRCGX) and Ultra MicroCap (PREOX), both of which are very solid funds with good risk profiles. The minimum initial investment will be $1000, reduced to $250 for all sorts of good reasons, and the initial expense ratio will be 1.5%.  It feels a lot like a good fund about to be handicapped by a marketing gimmick.

Riverside Frontier Markets Fund

Riverside Frontier Markets Fund will pursue capital appreciation, mostly.  The plan is to “use proprietary algorithms and models employing a ‘top-down’ analysis of global equity markets and economic conditions, ‘bottom-up’ analysis of individual securities, momentum and market factors and any other methods determined to be appropriate.” The fund will be managed by Ana Kolar of Riverside Advisors.  The minimum initial investment will be $2500, reduced to $2000 for IRAs; the initial expense ratio has not been disclosed.

SkyBridge Dividend Value Fund

SkyBridge Dividend Value Fund, I Shares, will pursue total return by investing in dividend-producing securities.  They’ll typically hold 20-40 stocks, equally-weighted at the time of purchase.  “The first ten stocks will represent the ten highest yielding stocks within the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  The other stocks will be selected from across the market capitalization spectrum, generally excluding financial and utility stocks.” The fund will be managed by Brendan Voege, formerly of SunAmerica, but he will do do “under the supervision of SkyBridge Chief Investment Officer Raymond Nolte.” The minimum initial investment will be $1000 and the initial expense ratio will be $1000.

December 2013, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

American Beacon Global Evolution Frontier Markets Income Fund

American Beacon Global Evolution Frontier Markets Income Fund (oh, dear God) will seek income, with capital appreciation as a secondary objective, by investing primarily frontier and emerging market sovereign and quasi-sovereign debt. The fund will be managed by a team from Global Evolution USA, LLC, a subsidiary of Global Evolution Fondsmæglerselskab A/S.  But you already knew that, right?  The Global Evolution people have been running this strategy for about 30 months but the draft prospectus leaves the performance numbers blank. The minimum initial investment is $2,500 the opening expense ratio is 1.54%.

B. Riley Diversified Equity Fund

B. Riley Diversified Equity Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing in (here’s their text) “the equity securities of U.S. companies within a range of the market capitalizations of the issuers selected by the B. Riley & Co. Research Group (the “Research Group”) as “Buy” rated equity securities in its coverage universe.”  If one of my students had written that sentence, I would have scribbled “huh?” next to it. Charles P. Hastings has managed the Fund since its inception in February 2014.  The firm benchmark’s its equity composite against the small-cap Russell 2000; the composite has had some dismal years and some great ones.  The minimum initial investment is $5,000.  The opening expense ratio has not yet been revealed.

Conestoga SMid Cap Fund

Conestoga SMid Cap Fund will seek long-term growth by investing in mid- to large-cap common stocks.  The managers look to buy growth-at-a-reasonable-price.  The fund will be managed by Robert M. Mitchell and David M. Lawson, members of the firm’s four person investment management team.  I hope to talk with the managers in the month after launch.  The story is that Conestoga has a very good small cap fund and a very weak mid-cap fund.  They asked, some months ago, if the Observer might hold off writing anything about the mid-cap fund, presumably because they had this one in the works.  I still don’t have much of an explanation for the weakness of the mid-cap fund and no idea of whether the launch here signals imminent closure of the other.  They won’t be able to talk until after launch, but I’d certainly counsel having a long conversation with them before proceeding.  The minimum initial investment is $2500 and the opening expense ratio is 1.35%.

Centre Active U.S. Treasury Fund

Centre Active U.S. Treasury Fund will seek maximize investors’ total return through capital appreciation and current income.  The plan is to actively manage a portfolio of 0-12 year Treasury bonds, which an eye to profiting from, or minimizing the hit from, interest rate changes.    The fund will be managed by T. Kirkham Barneby of Hudson Canyon Investment Counselors.    The minimum initial investment is $5000 and the opening expense ratio is 0.85%.

Foundry Micro Cap Value Fund

Foundry Micro Cap Value Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing in microcap value stocks.  The fund will be managed by Eric J. Holmes of Foundry Partners, who managed this strategy in separate Fifth-Third Bank accounts from 2004.  The separate accounts seemed, on whole, to offer pretty good downside protection relative to their microcap benchmark.  The minimum initial investment will be $10,000 and the opening expense ratio is 1.62%.

Foundry Small Cap Value Fund

Foundry Small Cap Value Fund The fund will be managed by Eric J. Holmes of Foundry Partners, who managed this strategy in separate Fifth-Third Bank accounts from 2004.  They published performance numbers for their separate accounts but then benchmarked the small cap value accounts against a microcap value index, so I’m not entirely sure about what conclusion to draw.  The minimum initial investment will be $10,000 and the opening expense ratio is 1.42%.

Giralda Risk-Managed Growth Fund

Giralda Risk-Managed Growth Fund will seek to do something, somehow.  You may buy their “I” shares for $2500.  That’s all I know because the first 17 pages of the prospectus appear to be missing.  

Harbor Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund

Harbor Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund will seek long-term growth by investing in common and preferred stocks of small cap companies.  They will focus on rapidly growing small cap companies that are in an early or transitional stage of their development.  The fund will be managed by a team from Elk Creek Partners.  Harbor has a rep for hiring very good sub-advisors, often folks who offer a clone of an existing fund at a price discount.  The Elk Creek team appears to have started at Montgomery Asset Management, which was bought by Wells Capital Management just after the turn of the century, and has been managing money for Wells (as in “Fargo”) since then. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1,000 for tax-advantaged accounts and the opening expense ratio is 1.27%.

KF Griffin Blue Chip Covered Call Fund

KF Griffin Blue Chip Covered Call Fund will seek to provide total return with lower volatility than equity markets in general.  They will invest in 25-35 dividend-paying, large-capitalization foreign and domestic stocks of domestic and will write covered call options on 50-100% of the portfolio. They’re looking for generating an equal percent of return from capital appreciation, dividends and call premiums. The fund will be managed by Douglas M. Famigletti, President and Chief Investment Officer of Griffin Assets Management.  The manager’s separate account composite averaged 13.8% from 2009 – mid 2013, while the benchmark S&P 500 Buy-Write Index clocked in at 10.3%. The minimum initial investment is $2500 and the opening expense ratio is capped at 1.50%.

PIMCO Balanced Income Fund

PIMCO Balanced Income Fund will seek to maximize current income while providing long-term capital appreciation by investing globally in dividend-paying common and preferred stocks and all flavors of fixed- and floating-rate instruments across all global fixed income sectors.   They might achieve sector exposure through derivatives and might invest up to 50% in high yield bonds.   The manager has not yet been named.   The minimum initial investment for “D” shares is $1000 and the opening expense ratio is not yet set.

QCI Balanced Fund

QCI Balanced Fund will seek to balance current income and principal conservation with the opportunity for long-term growth.  In pursuit of that entirely honorable objective they’ll invest in mid- to large-cap stocks and investment-grade bonds, with the potential for a smattering of high yield debt.  The fund will be managed by Edward Shill, who has been with QCI since the early 1990s and is now their CIO.  The prospectus offers no immediate evidence of his distinction in executing this strategy.  The minimum initial investment is $1,000 and the opening expense ratio is 1.25%.

SPDR Floating Rate Treasury ETF

SPDR Floating Rate Treasury ETF will track an as-yet unnamed index of the as-yet unissued floating rate Treasuries.  The fund will be managed by Todd Bean and Jeff St. Peters of State Street Global Advisors.  The opening expense ratio is not yet set.

WisdomTree Floating Rate Treasury Fund

WisdomTree Floating Rate Treasury Fund will track the WisdomTree Floating Rate Treasury Index which will, more or less faithfully, track the value of floating rate securities which are set to be issued by the Treasury in January 2014.  The fund will be managed by a team from WisdomTree. The opening expense ratio is not yet set.

World Energy Fund

World Energy Fund will seek growth and income by investing, long and short, in a wide range of energy-related financial instruments issued in the U.S. and markets around the world. The fund will be managed by a team from Cavanal Hill Investment Management.   Why yes, I do think that’s a potentially explosive undertaking.  Why no, the prospectus does not offer any evidence of the team’s experience with, or competence at, such investing.  Why do you ask? The minimum initial investment is $1000 the opening expense ratio is 1.17%.

Zacks Dividend Strategy Fund

Zacks Dividend Strategy Fund will seek capital appreciation and dividend income by investing, mostly, in dividend-paying large cap stocks.  The fund will be managed by Benjamin L. Zacks and Mitch E. Zacks.  The duo runs a bad market-neutral fund, mediocre all-cap one and entirely reasonable, newer small cap fund – all under the Zacks banner.  Zacks runs a stock-rating service whose ratings might contribute the portfolio construction but that’s not exactly spelled out. The minimum initial investment is $2500, reduced to $1000 for tax-advantaged accounts and $500 for accounts set up with an automatic investing plan.  The opening expense ratio is not yet available.

 

November 2013, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Baird Ultra Short Bond Fund

Baird Ultra Short Bond Fund will seek current income consistent with preservation of capital.  .  They intend to invest in US and international government and corporate bonds, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities and money market instruments.  No more than 10% of the portfolio may be invested in high-yield debt.  They’re willing to make sector and interest rate bets but will keep the duration under one year. The fund will be managed by a team led by Mary Ellen Stanek, Baird’s CIO.  The investment minimum will be $2500 for Investor class classes, reduced to $1000 for IRAs, and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 0.40%.

Balter Long/Short Equity Fund

Balter Long/Short Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation.  They intend to invest in all of the predictable long/short stuff.  The fund will be managed by Apis Capital Advisors and Midwoods Capital Management.  Apis uses a fundamental bottom-up, research-driven process with a small/midcap bias. Midwoods invests predominantly long and short in U.S. small-cap equities based on lots of on-site/in-the-field research.  Both are small advisors (under $100 million AUM) that have very successful nine-to-ten year old private partnerships based on these strategies. The investment minimum will be $5000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is a daunting 3.22%.  While I know that you’ve got to pay to attract talent, I’d still disparage the fund for its expenses except for the managers’ record and their smaller-cap focus which is rare and can be quite profitable.

Bradesco Latin American Equity Fund

Bradesco Latin American Equity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in the stocks of firms located in, or doing a majority of their business in, Latin America. For their purposes, Belize, French Guyana, Guyana, and Suriname are not Latin. (Nuts.  Do you know how hard it is to get appropriate Belizian exposure?) They anticipate a 30-40 stock portfolio but might also buy or sell derivatives.  The fund will be managed by Herculano Anibal Alves, the Equities Chief Investment Officer  of BRAM Brazil, and his team.  The investment minimum is not yet set and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 2.0%.

Bradesco Brazilian Hard Currency Bond Fund

Bradesco Brazilian Hard Currency Bond Fund will seek to achieve total return through income and capital appreciation. They intend to invest in fixed-income and floating rate debt instruments of the Brazilian government, Brazilian governmental entities, agencies, and other issuers the obligations of which are guaranteed by Brazil and Brazilian companies, each of which are denominated in U.S. dollars and foreign hard currencies.  The fund will be managed by Reinaldo Le Grazie, is the Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income and Multi Strategies of BRAM Brazil, and his team.  The investment minimum is not yet set and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.75%.

Brown Advisory Mortgage Securities Fund

Brown Advisory Mortgage Securities Fund will seek to maximize total return consistent with preservation of capital.  They intend to invest in mortgage-backed securities such as residential mortgage-backed, commercial mortgage-backed, and stripped mortgage-backed securities, as well as collateralized mortgage and inverse floating rate obligations.  The fund will be managed by Thomas D.D. Graff, manager of Brown Advisory Tactical Bond Fund.  The investment minimum will be $5000, reduced to $2000 for IRAs and AIPs, and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 0.54%.

Catalyst/Equity Compass Share Buyback Fund

Catalyst/Equity Compass Share Buyback Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in the stocks of companies in the Russell 3000 that have announced their intention to repurchase a portion of the company’s outstanding shares.   Michael Schoonover will be the portfolio manager and Timothy M. McCann will be the Portfolio Management Consultant.  Apparently the consultant will be the fund’s risk-management specialist. The investment minimum for the no-load institutional shares will be $2,500 for a regular account, $2,500 for an IRA or $100 for an account established with an automatic investment plan.  The initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.25%.

Champlain All Cap Fund

Champlain All Cap Fund will seek capital appreciation.  They intend to invest in US and foreign firms with strong long-term fundamentals, superior capital appreciation potential and attractive stock valuations.  The fund will be managed by Van Harissis  and Scott Brayman.  These are the same folks who run Champlain Small Cap and Champlain Mid Cap, both of which are Silver-rated by Morningstar.  The investment minimum will be $10,000, reduced to $3,000 for IRAs and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.15% .

Clifford Capital Partners Fund

Clifford Capital Partners Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing in 25-35 stocks whose price reflects “a margin of safety.” The portfolio will be divided into three sleeves: Core, high-quality, wide-moat companies (50-75% of the portfolio), Contrarian, lower quality but higher return firms (0-50%) and cash (0-25%). The fund will be managed by Ryan P. Batchelor.  Mr. Batchelor founded the advisor.  Before that he was a strategist at Wells Capital and a Morningstar equity analyst.  The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.10%.

Consilium Emerging Market Small Cap Fund

Consilium Emerging Market Small Cap Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation.  They intend to invest in common and preferred stocks of firms with market caps below $3 billion.  The fund will be managed by Jonathan Binder, Chief Investment Officer of Consilium Investment Management.  Consilium is actually a sub-adviser and it’s possible that the adviser will add other teams in the future. Mr. Binder is a former hedge fund guy but the prospectus does not mention anything about his past performance. The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio is 2.05%.

CVR Dynamic Allocation Fund

CVR Dynamic Allocation Fund will seek “to preserve and increase the purchasing power value of its shares over the long term.”  The investment strategies section of their prospectus is quite poorly written; it appears that they have some mix of direct equity exposure, tactical equity exposure through ETFs and a managed futures strategy.  I have no idea of how they’re allocating between the strategies. The fund will be managed by Peter Higgins and William Monaghan, both CAIAs.  What, you might ask, is that?  Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, a designation which, according to the CAIA website, “gives you professional credibility, access, and connections.”  The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio is not yet set.

EuroPac International Dividend Income Fund

EuroPac International Dividend Income Fund, Institutional Shares, will seek income and maximize growth of income.  (Me, too.) They intend to invest in dividend-paying stocks of  equity securities of companies located in Europe and the Pacific Rim.  They’re looking for “sustainably high dividends that grow over time.”  The fund is based on a limited partnership, Spongebob Ventures II LLC (apparently Viacom doesn’t mind if hedge funds infringe on their trademarks), which commenced operations February 28, 2010.  From inception the partnership returned 11.3% annually while its benchmark index made 3.75%.  The fund will be managed by James Nelson and Patrick B. Rien, both of Euro Pacific Asset Management.  The investment minimum will be $15,000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.25%.

Fidelity Event Driven Opportunities Fund

Fidelity Event Driven Opportunities Fund will seek capital appreciation.  They intend to invest in the stocks of firms involved in a “special situation event,” which may include corporate reorganizations, changes in beneficial ownership, deletion from a market index, material changes in management structure or corporate strategy, or changes to capital structure. They might also buy bonds.  Being Fidelity, they don’t feel compelled to offer much more than a series of bullet-pointed options.  The fund will be managed by Arvind Navaratnam, a Fidelity analyst whose 2012 wedding was covered by ModernLuxury.com.  (sigh) The investment minimum will be $2500, reduced to $200 for IRAs.  Expenses not yet set.

Geneva Advisors Mid Cap Growth Fund

Geneva Advisors Mid Cap Growth Fund, “R” shares, will seek capital appreciation by investing in US midcap stocks.  They’re looking for “quality growth companies.”  The fund will be managed by Robert C. Bridges, John P. Huber and Daniel P. Delany.  These are all former William Blair managers whose private accounts have consistently, and in some cases substantially, trailed their benchmark over the past 1, 3 and 5 year periods, and since inception.The investment minimum will be $1000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.45%.

Geneva Advisors Small Cap Opportunities Fund

Geneva Advisors Small Cap Opportunities Fund, “R” shares, will seek capital appreciation by investing in the stock of “smaller, quality companies with above average growth or emerging growth opportunities.”  “Smaller” translates to “under $2.5 billion.”.  The fund will be managed by Robert C. Bridges and Daniel P. Delany.  The investment minimum will be $1000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.45%.

Grant Park Multi Alternative Strategies Fund

Grant Park Multi Alternative Strategies Fund, “N” shares, will seek positive absolute returns which sets them squarely at odds with all those funds seeking negative absolute returns. (Perhaps The Kelvin Fund, which seeks absolute zero?)  Their strategy, like many relationships, is complicated. They intend to invest in four different strategies to give themselves exposure to 40-60 markets (though they don’t quite define what qualifies as “a market”). The strategies are Long/Short Global Financial, Dynamic Commodities, Upside Capture (“a permanent allocation to a basket of investments across multiple asset classes”) and Unconstrained Interest Rate Strategy (long/short investments in short- to intermediate term fixed income securities).  The fund will be managed by John Krautsack of EMC Capital Advisors.  There’s an entry in the prospectus’s Table of Contents entitled “Prior Performance of Sub-Adviser” but there is no such section in the document.  The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.98%.

Hodges Small Intrinsic Value Fund

Hodges Small Intrinsic Value Fund (HDSVX) will seek long-term capital appreciation. They intend to invest at least 80% in small cap (under $3.2 billion) stocks which have “a high amount of intrinsic asset value, low price to book ratios, above average dividend yields, low PE multiples, or the potential for a turnaround in the underlying fundamentals.”  The other 20% might go to larger cap stocks, bonds, or ETFs.  Up to 25% of the portfolio might be invested overseas.  The fund will be managed by a team led by Eric J. Marshall, Hodge’s president.  Mr. Marshall is part of the team which runs the five-star Hodges Small Cap Fund. The investment minimum will be $1000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.29%.

Hodges Small-Mid Cap Fund

Hodges Small-Mid Cap Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation through investments in the common stock of small and mid cap companies. .  They intend to invest in stocks “likely to have above-average growth or holds unrecognized relative value that can result in the potential for above-average capital appreciation.” The market cap range is $1 – 8 billion, though they’re not required to sell stocks which appreciate belong that level.  They might invest up to 10% in microcaps or large caps.  The fund will be managed by Don Hodges, Craig Hodges, their CIO and CEO, Eric J. Marshall, their president, and Gary M. Bradshaw. These are all pretty experienced guys, with the elder Mr. Hodges claiming 53 years in the industry.  The investment minimum will be $1000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.40%.

Lazard Global Equity Select Portfolio

Lazard Global Equity Select Portfolio will seek long-term capital appreciation through an all-cap global portfolio, about which they disclose little. The fund will be managed by a team of folks led by Andrew Lacey.  All of the team members are identified as working “on various” Lazard teams.  (Well, huzzah.) The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.40%.

Otter Creek Long/Short Opportunity Fund

Otter Creek Long/Short Opportunity Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation with below-market volatility through a long/short portfolio.  They’ll be positioned somewhere between 35% net short and 80% net long.  They can also invest in high yield bonds or go to cash.  The fund will be managed by a team from Otter Creek Capital Management. The team also runs an offshore fund and a hedge fund.  The latter has been around since 1991 and uses the same discipline as the mutual fund will.  From inception to the end of 2012, the hedge fund returned 11.3% annually while the S&P500 returned 8.5%.  The bad news is that the fund was bludgeoned in 2012 (down 2% while the market was up 16%) and 2013 through August (up 4.5% versus 16.5% for the benchmark). The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 2.38%.

SilverPepper Merger Arbitrage Fund

SilverPepper Merger Arbitrage Fund will seek “to create returns that are largely uncorrelated with the returns of the general stock market. Regardless of whether the stock market is declining or rising, the Merger Arbitrage Fund also seeks capital appreciation.” They hope to make a series of small gains in relatively short time periods on the difference between a stock’s current price and the price offered by an acquiring firm.  In general those deals close within a few months and, in general, the arbitrage gain can be realized regardless of the market’s general direction.  The fund will be managed by Jeff O’Brien and  Daniel Lancz of Glenfinnen Capital, LLC, a merger arbitrage specialist. The investment minimum will be $5000 and the expense is not yet set.

SilverPepper Commodity Strategies Global Macro Fund

SilverPepper Commodity Strategies Global Macro Fund, Advisor Shares, will seek “to create returns that are largely uncorrelated with the returns of the general stock, bond, currency and commodities markets.  Regardless of whether these markets are rising or declining” it will also seek capital appreciation. .  They intend to invest in both long and short positions in an array of asset classes based primarily on its views of commodity prices.” The fund will be managed by Renee Haugerud, Chief Investment Officer, and Geoff Fila, both of Galtere Ltd.  Galtere is an advisor to institutional and high net worth investors and this is their flagship strategy.  The investment minimum will be $5000 and the expense is not yet set.

Sirios Focus Fund

Sirios Focus Fund, Retail Class, will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in 25-50 mid- to large-cap stocks.  The portfolio will be global.  The fund will be managed by John F. Brennan, Jr.  Mr. Brennan used to be a portfolio manager for MFS.  His separate account composite was up 2.5% annually for the five years ending in December 2012, while the S&P 500 was up 1.7%. The investment minimum will be $10,000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.75% .

Vanguard Global Minimum Volatility Fund

Vanguard Global Minimum Volatility Fund will seek to provide long-term capital appreciation with low volatility relative to the global equity market. They intend to use a quantitative strategy to invest in a bunch of low-volatility stocks.  They’ll hedge their currency exposure.  The fund will be managed by James D. Troyer, James P. Stetler, and Michael R. Roach.  The investment minimum will be $3000 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 0.30%.

Westcore Small-Cap Growth Fund

Westcore Small-Cap Growth Fund will seek to achieve long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in small-capitalization growth companies.  They intend to invest in stocks comparable in size to those in the Russell 2000 which have attractive growth prospects for earnings and/or cash flows. The fund will be managed by Mitch Begun and a team from Denver Investments.  The investment minimum will be $2500 and the initial expense ratio, after waivers, is 1.30%. 

October 2013, Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

361 Multi-Strategy Fund

361 Multi-Strategy Fund pursues capital appreciation with low volatility and low correlation relative to the broad domestic and foreign equity markets by establishing long positions in individual equities and short positions in individual securities or indexes.  The strategy is quantitatively driven and non-diversified.  The fund will be managed by an interesting team: Brian P. Cunningham, Thomas I. Florence, Blaine Rollins and Jeremy Frank. Mr. Cunningham had a long career in the hedge fund world.  Mr. Florence worked at Fidelity and was president of Morningstar’s Investment Management subsidiary.  Mr. Rollins famously managed Janus Fund, among others, for 16 years.  Mr. Frank appears to be the team’s preeminent techno-geek. This is 361’s fourth fund, and all occupy the “alternatives” space.  The first three have had mixed success, though all seem to have low share-price volatility. The minimum investment in the “Investor” share class is $2500. Expenses not yet disclosed.  There’s a 5.75% front load, but it will be available without a load at places like Schwab.

Brookfield U.S. Listed Real Estate Fund

Brookfield U.S. Listed Real Estate Fund (“Y” shares) will pursue total return through growth of capital and current income.  The strategy is to invest in some combination of REITs; real estate operating companies; brokers, developers, and builders; property management firms; finance, mortgage, and mortgage servicing firms; construction supply and equipment manufacturing companies; and firms dependent on real estate holdings (e.g., timber, ag, mining, resorts). They can use derivatives for hedging, leverage or as a substitute for direct investment.  Up to 20% can be in fixed income and 15% overseas. The fund will be managed by Jason Baine and Bernhard Krieg, both portfolio managers at Brookfield Investment Management.  Brookfield’s composite performance for separate accounts using this strategy is 14.8% over the past decade.  MSCI Total Return REIT index made 10.8% in the same period. The minimum initial investment is $1000.  The e.r. will be 0.95%.

Baywood SKBA ValuePlus Fund

Baywood SKBA ValuePlus Fund will shoot for long-term growth by investing “primarily in securities that it deems to be undervalued and which exhibit the likelihood of exceeding market returns.”  (A bold and innovative notion.)  They’ll hold 40-60 stocks. The fund will be the successor to a private fund in operation since June, 2008.  That fund returned an average of 7.2% annually over five years.  Its benchmark (Russell 1000 Value) returned 4% in the same period.  The fund will be managed by a team from SKBA Capital, led by its chairman  Kenneth J. Kaplan.  The minimum initial investment is $2500. The expense ratio will be 0.95% after waivers.  The fund expects to launch on or about December 1, 2013.

Convergence Opportunities Fund

Convergence Opportunities Fund will pursue long-term growth through a global long/short portfolio, primarily of small- to mid-cap stocks.  They’ll be 120-150% long and 20-50% short.  The fund will be managed by David Arbitz of Convergence Partners.  Convergence, which has had several names over the years, operates separate accounts using the strategy but has not disclosed the performance of those accounts. The minimum initial investment is $2500 and expenses are capped at 1.50%.  They expect to launch by the end of November.

Croft Focus

Croft Focus will seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in a global, all-cap value portfolio.  The fund will be managed by Kent G. Croft and G. Russell Croft.  Croft Value (CLVFX) uses the same discipline but holds more stocks (75 versus 25 at Focus) and is less global (Value is 95% domestic).  Value had a long string of great years, punctuated by a few really bad ones lately.  It is undoubtedly better than its current retrospective return numbers show but its volatility might give prospective investors here pause.  The minimum initial investment will be $2,000.  Expenses are capped at 1.30%.

First Eagle Flexible Risk Allocation Fund

First Eagle Flexible Risk Allocation Fund (“A” shares) will seek “long-term absolute returns” by investing, long and short, in equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities.  They’ll pursue “a flexible risk factor allocation strategy and, to a lesser extent, a tail risk hedging strategy.”  There is a bracing list of 36 investment risks enumerated in the prospectus. The fund will be managed by JJ McKoan and Michael Ning, who joined First Eagle in April 2013.  Before that, they managed the Enhanced Alpha Global Macro, Tail Hedge and Unconstrained Bond strategies at AllianceBernstein.  Mr. McKoan has a B.A. from Yale and Mr. Ning has a doctorate from Oxford. The minimum initial investment is $2500.  Neither the sales load nor the expense ratio has yet been announced. 

FlexShares® Global Quality Real Estate Index Fund

FlexShares® Global Quality Real Estate Index Fund will invest in a global portfolio of high-quality real estate securities.  They expect to hold equities issued by mortgage REITs, real estate finance companies, mortgage brokers and bankers, commercial and residential real estate brokers and real estate agents and home builders.  The managers will try to minimize turnover and tax inefficiency, but the prospectus says nothing about what qualifies a firm as a “quality” firm or how far a passive strategy can be tweaked to control for churn.  It will be managed by a Northern Trust team.  Expenses not yet set.

Gator Opportunities Fund

Gator Opportunities Fund will pursue capital appreciation by investing in high-quality domestic SMID-cap stocks.  It will be non-diversified, but there’s no discussion of how small the portfolio will be. The fund will be managed by Liron “Lee” Kronzon, who has managed investments but has not managed a mutual fund.  Its microscopically small sibling, Gator Focus, launched in May with pretty modest success.  The advisor’s headquartered in Tampa, hence the Gator reference. The minimum initial investment is $5000.  The expense ratio will be 1.50%.

Spectrum Low Volatility Fund

Spectrum Low Volatility Fund will be a fund of fixed-income funds and ETFs.  The goal is to capture no more than 40% of the stock market’s downside.  Color me clueless: why would a fixed-income fund benchmark to an equity index?  The fund will be managed by Ralph Doudera.  Mr. Doudera has degrees in engineering, finance and Biblical studies and has been managing separate accounts (successfully) since the mid1990s.  The minimum initial investment is $1000.  The expense ratio is capped at 3.20%, a breathtaking hurdle to surmount in a fixed-income fund.

RSQ International Equity Fund

RSQ International Equity Fund will seek long-term growth. It seems to be more “global” than “international,” since it commits only to investing at least 65% outside the US.  Security selection in the developed markets is largely bottom-up, starting with industry analysis and then security selection.  In the emerging markets, it’s primarily top-down.  The fund is managed by a team that famously managed Julius Baer International and infamously crashed Artio International: Rudolph-Riad Younes, Richard Pell and Michael Testorf, all of R-Squared Capital Management L.P. The minimum initial investment is $2500. The expense ratio is capped at 1.35% for Investor shares.  Frankly, I’m incredibly curious about this development.