April 2017 IssueLong scroll reading

Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Some months, fund registrations are just weird. Perhaps that’s “the new normal,” a phrase that we’re allowed to use again now that former PIMCO chief Bill Gross and current PIMCO management have hugged, made up and announced that they can’t even remember what the silly fight was all about. PIMCO wrote a check of $81 million to Mr. Gross, which Mr. Gross rounded up to $100 million … and gave it to his own charitable foundation.  Beyond that, a fund about childhood, one with a $350 million minimum investment, nine Morningstar funds that you can’t have (and might not want), three inexplicable ones and a couple that are reasonably promising.

AlphaCentric Global Innovations Fund

AlphaCentric Global Innovations Fund will seek long-term growth. The plan is to buy “a diversified portfolio” of U.S. and foreign common stock of companies involved in innovative and breakthrough technologies across multiple sectors. The fund is non-diversified, which does rather raise questions about the preceding sentence. The managers can also hedge by holding inverse ETFs, volatility-linked ETFs or cash. The fund will be managed by Brian Gahsman, Chief Investment Officer for the sub-advisor, Pacific View Asset Management.  The opening expense ratio on no-load “I” shares is 1.75%.. The minimum initial investment will be $2,500.

American Beacon IPM Systematic Macro Fund

American Beacon IPM Systematic Macro Fund will seek long-term growth through a managed futures strategy; at base, a sort of trend-following strategy implemented, long and short, through futures contracts. The fund will be managed by two Swedish guys from IPM Informed Portfolio Management AB . Good news: the e.r. is just 1.8%. Bad news: the minimum initial investment is $350 million. Good news: you should get pretty good customer service, since the firm will earn $6.3 million in fees from you each year. Bad news: there’s no publicly-available evidence that they’re worth it.

Balter Invenomic Fund

Balter Invenomic Fund will seek long term capital appreciation. A spectacularly vague description of the fund’s investment strategy comes down to “it’s a long/short fund that might hold 25% in high yield bonds.” (They invest long in things that are “both undervalued and timely.” That’s the secret sauce recipe!) The fund will be managed by Ali Motamed. Mr. Motamed , now an Invenomic Capital Management, LP manager but formerly a manager with Boston Partners Long/Short Equity Fund, indisputably the best long/short fund on the market. The opening expense ratio has not yet been disclosed. The minimum initial investment will be.$5,000, reduced to $1,000 for various tax-advantaged accounts and accounts with an AIP.

Childhood Essentials Growth Fund

Childhood Essentials Growth Fund will seek long-term capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in “companies that derive a majority of their revenues from products and services related to raising children from newborn to age 18, such as pharmacies, national superstores, family restaurants, and children’s retail stores.” I wish them luck. The fund will be managed by Kevin Bush and Bahavana Khanna of KBK Capital Management. The opening expense ratio is 1.25% for “A” shares. The minimum initial investment will be $5,000.

Friess Small Cap Growth Fund

Friess Small Cap Growth Fund will seek capital appreciation. The plan is to invest in small growth companies (though not for long: the prospectus warns of a 250% annual turnover). This fund is the successor to the Friess Small Cap Trust, a private fund in operation since 2002. The prospectus shows only the record for the last three years of the Trust’s existence; during that period, it substantially outperformed the Russell 2000.The fund will be managed by Scott Gates, CIO of Friess Associates. Prior to that, he was co-CIO of Friess and Friess. The opening expense ratio for Investor shares will be 1.45%. The minimum initial investment will be $2,000.

Morningstar (nine funds)

Morningstar is launching a suite of nine funds for use in their managed portfolios; they will launch by late 2017 but will only be available through the Morningstar Managed Portfolio program. The prospectus is silent, so far, about both expenses and managers. The fund’s names and (utterly bland) missions are:

  • US Core Equity –an all-cap domestic portfolio that still might be 20% international.
  • International Equity – an all-cap foreign portfolio that might also invest through ETFs, other mutual funds, closed-end funds and options.
  • Global Income – oddly, it invests “primarily” in income-producing equities, with “the balance” in bonds and cash.
  • Total Return Bond – a “diversified portfolio of fixed-income instruments of varying maturity and duration”
  • Municipal Bond – munis!
  • Defensive Bond – will seek capital preservation by investing in a diversified, global bond portfolio
  • Multi-Sector Bond – presumably more of the same (since the language describing the portfolio investments is the same as the above funds), but different.
  • Unconstrained Allocation – stocks and bonds, with no note about what’s “unconstrained” here
  • Alternatives – up to eight liquid alts strategies.

OFI Pictet Global Environmental Solutions Fund

OFI Pictet Global Environmental Solutions Fund will seek capital appreciation by investing in a global portfolio of companies whose business it is to address environmental challenges. OFI Global Asset Management, Inc. is the manager, OppenheimerFunds, Inc. is the investment sub-adviser and Pictet Asset Management SA is the Fund’s investment sub-sub-adviser. (That’s actually the first sub-sub-adviser I’ve encountered; I could imagine some spoilsport warning of extra layers of expenses.) The opening expense ratio has not been announced. The minimum initial investment will be $1,000.

T. Rowe Price Retirement Income 2020 Fund

T. Rowe Price Retirement Income 2020 Fund will seek to provide monthly income. It’s a fund of funds that will make monthly payouts to generate income for those in retirement, though non-retirees are welcome, too. The fund will be managed by Jerome Clark and Wyatt Lee. The opening expense ratio will be 0.74%. The minimum initial investment will be $25,000.

Upright Assets Allocation Plus Fund

Upright Assets Allocation Plus Fund will seek total return. The plan is to keep 60-80% in a core portfolio and invest 20-30% in an opportunistic tactical portfolio (or, if “economic and market conditions [are] suitable for such,” they might switch to some poorly-explained options-based strategy). The fund will be managed by David Y.S. Chiueh, president of Upright Financial Corp. The opening expense ratio will be 1.75%. The minimum initial investment will be $2,000.

Upright Growth & Income Fund

Upright Growth & Income Fund will seek current income consistent with growth of capital. The plan is to invest in stocks (50-80%), bonds (10-40%) and options. Up to 30% might be invested overseas. The fund will be managed by . The opening expense ratio will be 1.95%. The minimum initial investment will be. And no, I have no idea of why that strategy warrants a 1.95% fee especially when the Upright Growth Fund (UPUPX) has managed to trail 90% of its peers over the past 15 years and sports an even higher e.r.

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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.