November 2016 IssueLong scroll reading

Briefly Noted . . .

By David Snowball

Herewith are notes about the month’s announced changes in the fund industry: closings, openings, name changes, liquidations and more.

Thanks, as ever, to the anonymous and indefatigable Shadow for his yeoman’s work in keeping me, and the members of MFO’s discussion board, current on a swarm of comings and goings.

On October 3, 2016, Henderson Group PLC merged with Janus Capital Group, nominally “a merger of equals.” The Henderson funds will be reorganized into Janus funds, to the extent possible. Details are still pending.

David Iben’s Kopernik funds are inching up their allowable emerging and frontier markets exposure by 5%.


The minimum additional investment for a bunch of AMG funds is declining from $1,000 to $100. The initial investment requirement remains unchanged. As a practical matter, that means that institutional shareholders have the same requirement as retail ones.

Eaton Vance has acquired Calvert Investment Management and the Calvert funds, retained the current managers, and cut expenses by between 2-20 basis points on six of the Calvert funds. They are Global Energy, Equity, Small Cap, High Yield Bond, Emerging Market Equity and Ultra-short Income.

Invesco Select Companies Fund reopened to all investors on October 17, 2016.

Effective November 28, 2016, the minimum investment for the O’Shaughnessy Funds Institutional share class will decrease from $1 million to $10,000 for all new accounts.

CLOSINGS (and related inconveniences)

Didn’t spot any this month. Will keep an eye out.


Effective December 29, 2016, the Advantus Short Duration Bond Fund (ABSNX) will be renamed the Advantus Strategic Credit Income Fund and the Fund’s current investment objective and principal investment strategies will be replaced in their entirety

On November 16, the BlackRock Funds II will undergo a name change and rebranding. The BlackRock LifePath Active Retirement Fund is renamed BlackRock LifePath Smart Beta Retirement Fund.

GMO Debt Opportunities Fund VI (GMODX) is becoming GMO Opportunistic Income Fund. The change allows them to find “income” in places other than “debt.” It’s a $1.5 billion fund with a $750 million minimum initial investment. Any guesses out there about the maximum number of shareholders in this fund?

The Motley Fools appear poised to sell their fund business to RBB Fund. Shareholders have been asked to approve the sale of Motley Fool Independence (FOOLX), Great America (TMFGX) and Epic Voyage (TMFEX) to RBB. Based on the Fools’ assurance that “each New Fund will have the same name, share classes, investment objective, investment strategies, investment risks, investment limitations, investment adviser, and portfolio managers” as its predecessor, they will.

Wasn’t it George Carlin who wondered what would happen if a thief stole all of your stuff, then replaced it with identical pieces?

In a peculiar move, Old Westbury Large Cap Core Fund (OWLCX) is being rechristened Old Westbury All Cap Core Fund, with a concomitant loss of the “invest in large caps” restriction. That’s not the peculiar part. The peculiar part is the corresponding decision to terminate the fee waiver currently on the Fund and increasing the advisory fee for the Fund. They’ll tack on 5 basis points which will contribute about $65,000/year to revenues. The fund has $1.3 billion in assets and a lackluster record; I’d almost imagine increasing fees after they’ve earned them.

On December 30, 2016, Old Westbury Small & Mid Cap Fund (OWSMX) becomes Old Westbury Small & Mid Cap Strategies Fund. That change will cost John Hall and Michael Morrisroe their jobs as managers.

Effective December 31, 2016, the WST Asset Manager – U.S. Equity Fund (WESTX) will change its name to WSTCM Sector Select Risk-Managed Fund and remove the following principal investment policy:  the fund normally “80% … in equity securities of U.S. companies while a combination of Fixed Income Investments and/or Gold Investments will typically comprise less than 12% of the value of the Fund’s net assets.” No idea of why.

At the same time, WST Asset Manager – U.S. Bond Fund (WAMBX) will change its name to WSTCM Credit Select Risk-Managed Fund and will drop the “at least 80% in bonds” restriction.

Westcore Select Fund (WTSLX) “will be reposition[ed] at the end of 2016. This decision follows the announcement that the Fund’s portfolio manager, Craig W. Juran, CFA, intends to retire from the firm.” Part of its new position will be reflected in a new name, Westcore Small-Cap Growth Fund II. At the same time, and for the same reason, Westcore Growth Fund (WTEIX) becomes Westcore Large-Cap Dividend Fund and Westcore MIDCO Growth Fund (WTMGX) becomes Westcore Mid-Cap Value Dividend Fund II.


The AdvisorShares YieldPro ETF (YPRO) disappeared on Halloween. Spoooooky.

BearlyBullish Fund (BRBLX) will cease being bearish or bullish, barely or otherwise, on November 4, 2016.

On November 30, the Bushido Capital Long/Short Fund (BCLSX) will liquidate. It’s The Code of the Warrior: trail your peers and your index, charge a lot, draw negligible assets, fall on your sword.

Centre Global Ex-U.S. Select Equity Fund liquidated on October 7, 2016, which was only two days after the Board voted for the termination.

The shareholders of First Trust Dividend and Income Fund (FAV), a closed-end fund, approved FAV’s merger with and into FTHI First Trust High Income ETF (FTHI).

Galapagos Partners Select Fund (GPSIX) falls victim to Darwinian forces on November 10, 2016. The fund suffered from volatility, weak performance and negligible assets.

On December 19, the Goldman Sachs Multi-Asset Real Return Fund and Goldman Sachs Dynamic Commodity Strategy Fund will both terminate and liquidate.

On December 21, the iShares iBonds Dec 2016 Term Corporate ETF (IBDF) will, understandably enough, vanish.

The Oaktree Emerging Markets Equity Fund (OEEIX) was liquidated on October 26, 2016.

On October 31, RiverNorth Equity Opportunity Fund (RNEOX) was closed down.

On December 20, the Financial Services Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLFS) will liquidate because Standard & Poor’s has decided they’ll no longer maintain the index on which the fund is based.

Other dying spiders include the SPDR MSCI International Real Estate Currency Hedged ETF, the SPDR MSCI Mexico StrategicFactors ETF, the SPDR MSCI South Korea StrategicFactors ETF and the SPDR MSCI Taiwan StrategicFactors ETF, none of which will see Thanksgiving this year

On November 18, the Stewart Capital Mid Cap Fund (SCMFX), a victim of five fat years followed by five lean years, will liquidate.

On November 4, the TrimTabs International Free-Cash-Flow ETF (FCFI) will freely flow away.

On December 14, the State Street Clarion Global Infrastructure & MLP Fund (SSISX) will terminate and liquidate. That’s one of those sad instances where a fund with a long record as a private partnership converted to a ’40 Act fund, performed well and still couldn’t make it.

The Victory Select Fund (VFSAX) admitted defeat on October 28, 2016.

On December 16, four Victory CEMP volatility-weighted index funds will all close.

Ziegler FAMCO Covered Call Fund (CACLX) was liquidated on October 30, 2016, after less than one year of operation.

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About David Snowball

David Snowball, PhD (Massachusetts). Cofounder, lead writer. David is a Professor of Communication Studies at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, a nationally-recognized college of the liberal arts and sciences, founded in 1860. For a quarter century, David competed in academic debate and coached college debate teams to over 1500 individual victories and 50 tournament championships. When he retired from that research-intensive endeavor, his interest turned to researching fund investing and fund communication strategies. He served as the closing moderator of Brill’s Mutual Funds Interactive (a Forbes “Best of the Web” site), was the Senior Fund Analyst at FundAlarm and author of over 120 fund profiles. David lives in Davenport, Iowa, and spends an amazing amount of time ferrying his son, Will, to baseball tryouts, baseball lessons, baseball practices, baseball games … and social gatherings with young ladies who seem unnervingly interested in him.