November 2017 IssueLong scroll reading

Briefly Noted …

By David Snowball


The $12 million Global Strategic Income Fund (VEEEX) has a couple upgrades planned for the next month. “These changes included the appointment of a new adviser and sub-adviser to the Fund; revisions to the Fund’s investment objective; revisions to the Fund’s investment strategy; a change to the name of the Fund; changes to certain service provider agreements; and the addition of new share classes as well as the conversion of Class C Shares into Class A Shares.” Nominally the current version of the fund had a global, all-asset strategy; practically, it was a global equity fund with a 30-day SEC yield of 0.00%. The new fund will be named Mission – Auour Risk-Managed Global Equity Fund.

Similarly, the board of the tiny KKM Enhanced U.S. Equity Fund (KKMAX) approved a few tweaks to the fund in September, 2017. In particular they are:

  • Changing the name of the Fund to Essential 40 Stock Fund.
  • Changing the Fund’s investment objective;
  • Changing the Fund’s principal investment strategies;
  • Changing the Fund’s classification from “non-diversified” to “diversified”
  • Changing the supplemental benchmark for the Fund;
  • Suspending the sale of Class A shares of the Fund and converting existing Class A shares to Class I shares.

And, so far as I can tell, becoming an index fund. The objective is “track[ing], before fees and expenses, the performance of the Essential 40 Stock Index.” There’s no suggestion that it will adopt index fund-like expenses, rather than its current 1.18% ratio.


Effective November 1, 2017, the redemption fee for the Cedar Ridge Unconstrained Credit Fund (CRUPX) will be removed.

Gotham has filed to launch retail shares for two of its funds, which is a first and generally quite welcome. The funds are Gotham Index Plus and Gotham Total Return. Neither has yet been assigned a ticker symbol. Both will have $2,500 share classes. Expenses in Index Plus are capped at 1.40%. The Total Return fund invests in other Gotham funds and caps expenses at 25 bps in addition to the fees and expenses of the underlying funds. Neither fund yet has a three-year record; both have beaten their peers since inception.

Roumell Opportunistic Value Fund (RAMVX) is simplifying its share structure by collapsing “A” and “C” shares into the “Institutional” share class, with a new Institutional minimum of $2,500. That gives shareholders a break in their expenses of between 25 bps (“A” shareholders) and 100 bps (“C” shareholders). Now they just need to hope that the 2016-17 performance turnaround endures.

CLOSINGS (and related inconveniences)

Highland Floating Rate Opportunities Fund (HFRAX) closed to new investors on October 13, 2017. Bank loan funds don’t particularly float my boat, so I haven’t paid much attention but it certainly does have a provocative performance record. In the last 11 calendar years, including 2017 YTD, the fund

Finished in the bottom 20% of its peer group: five times.

Finished in the top 20% of its peer group: five times.

Finished exactly at the 50th percentile for performance: one time.

Effective on October 30, 2017, the Nationwide Geneva Small Cap Growth Fund (NWHZX) was closed to new investors. Good call, by the way. It’s a $700 million microcap growth fund with a good record; it’s hard to imagine how you’d maintain the record with a much larger asset base.

Neuberger Berman Greater China Equity (NCEAX) soft-closed in September. “Since the total assets of the investment strategy have continued to increase and the capacity limit is likely to be reached in the near term,” the fund moved to a hard-close on October 17, 2017.


Effective January 1, 2018, the American Funds Balanced Portfolio (BLPAX) will change its name to American Funds Moderate Growth and Income Portfolio.

Effective November 1, 2017, the $8 million Ashmore Emerging Markets Value Fund was renamed Ashmore Emerging Markets Equity Fund (EMEAX).

Accordingly, effective on or about December 30, 2017, the following changes are made to the Fund’s Summary Prospectuses, Prospectuses and SAI, as applicable:

Change in the Fund’s Name

On December 31, 2017, BlackRock Science & Technology Opportunities Portfolio will be renamed BlackRock Technology Opportunities Fund. Just as stunning, its benchmark will change from the MSCI World Information Technology Index to the MSCI All-Country World Information Technology Index.

The Center Coast MLP Focus Fund (CCCAX) is likely to be adopted by Brookfield Investment Funds by February 2018. The current management team will become Brookfield employees; no word about possible changes to the name or expenses. It’s got about $3 billion in assets and offers slightly above-average returns for substantially below-average volatility.

On November 1, Dreyfus GNMA Fund became Dreyfus U.S. Mortgage Fund.

Effective October 30, 2017, QuantShares becomes AGFiQ.

Fund (Old Name) Fund (New Name)
QuantShares U.S. Market Neutral Momentum Fund AGFiQ U.S. Market Neutral Momentum Fund
QuantShares U.S. Market Neutral Value Fund AGFiQ U.S. Market Neutral Value Fund
QuantShares U.S. Market Neutral Size Fund AGFiQ U.S. Market Neutral Size Fund
QuantShares U.S. Market Neutral Anti-Beta Fund AGFiQ U.S. Market Neutral Anti-Beta Fund
QuantShares Hedged Dividend Income Fund AGFiQ Hedged Dividend Income Fund
QuantShares Equal Weighted Value Factor Fund AGFiQ Equal Weighted Value Factor Fund
QuantShares Equal Weighted Low Beta Factor Fund AGFiQ Equal Weighted Low Beta Factor Fund
QuantShares Equal Weighted High Momentum Factor Fund AGFiQ Equal Weighted High Momentum Factor Fund

“Anti-Beta.” Uh-huh.

Effective November 1, 2017, Sierra Core Retirement Fund (SIRAX) was renamed Sierra Tactical All Asset Fund.

Tierra XP Latin America Real Estate ETF (LARE) is morphing into the Alternative Agroscience ETF on December 26, 2017. I’m always struck by the brazenness of some of these transformations.


AdvisorShares Gartman Gold/Euro ETF (GEUR) and AdvisorShares Gartman Gold/Yen ETF (GYEN) both liquidated in mid-October.

Bishop Street Short-Duration Bond Fund (BSSDX) will liquidate on November 15, 2017. The fund produced index-like returns but charged nearly 1.9% of their services which likely made it a hard sell. The fund’s $11 million in assets included none of its managers’ own money, per the most recent SAI. I’ve always been taken by the question directed to managers and directors, “if you’re not willing to put your money into the fund, why should anyone else?”

CM Advisors Fund (CMAFX) will be merged into the CM Advisors Small Cap Value Fund (CMOVX) on February 28, 2018. There’s trouble in River City when the fund you choose to keep is the $47 million, one-star one that’s trailed 98% of its peers over the past five years.

“The previously scheduled shareholder meeting to approve the merger of the Deutsche Gold & Precious Metals Fund (SGDAX) into Deutsche Real Assets Fund (AAAAX) has been adjourned to a later date. If approved by shareholders … the merger is expected to occur on or about December 11, 2017. If the merger is not approved by shareholders … the Board will take such action, if any, that it deems to be in the best interest of the Fund.” Ummm … when the black hooded guy with the AAAAX says “or else I’ll take ‘such action’ as I think fit,” you might as well jot down the names of the heirs and next of kin.

Dreyfus Emerging Markets Debt U.S. Dollar Fund (DMEAX) will liquidate on or about November 29, 2017.

Frontier Silk Invest New Horizons Fund (FNHSX) has dumped Silk Invest Limited as a subadvisor and allows that the Board may soon consider a merger or liquidation of the fund.

Goldman Sachs Long Short Fund (GSEAX) will be liquidated on or about December 12, 2017.

On October 27, 2017, JPMorgan Dynamic Growth Fund was absorbed by JPMorgan Large Cap Growth Fund 

JPMorgan SmartAllocation Income Fund (SAEAX) becomes a Former Fund on (or about) November 30, 2017.

Mirae Asset Asia Great Consumer Fund (MGCEX) will merge into Mirae Asset Asia Fund (MALAX) by December 1, 2017. By Morningstar’s reckoning, both are four-star funds. Both are small, MALAX is one-quarter the size of MGCEX and both launched in 2010. Presumably the broader mandate for MALAX is what convinced the advisor to keep the smaller one.

As of October 16, 2017, the reorganizations of Nuveen Large Cap Growth Opportunities Fund into Nuveen Large Cap Growth Fund (NLAGX) and Nuveen Large Cap Core Plus Fund into Nuveen Large Cap Core Fund (NLAGX) are complete.

Parametric Emerging Markets Core Fund (EAPEX) will be liquidated on or about December 15, 2017. This was one of those rare cases where the trustees of the fund had substantially more invested in it than did its managers who, collectively, placed $0.00 of their own money into the fund.

Satuit West Shore Real Return Fund (NWSFX) liquidated and dissolved on Halloween, 2017. We warned it not to take a flickering flashlight to check out that “thump” in the basement.

Stone Ridge Emerging Markets Variance Risk Premium Fund (VRMIX) and Stone Ridge International Variance Risk Premium Master Fund (VRIIX), both institutional funds, will liquidate on or about December 21, 2017 and December 22, 2017, respectively.

The Symons Concentrated Small Cap Value Institutional Fund (SCSVX) is set to be liquidated “due to the adviser’s business decision that it does not want to continue to manage the Fund.” The fund is less than a year old, has a $1 million minimum initial investment and $300,000 AUM. That almost implies the possibility that they did not attract a single outside investor.

Having a name like “Victory” surely is a double-edged sword when it comes to media notices. If times are good, you gloat over “Victory prevails” or “Victory assured!” But then come the fund liquidations and the temptation to headline “Victory vanquished” or “Victory No More.” In any case, Victory Funds is liquidating several of its troupe on December 15: Victory CEMP Commodity Volatility Weighted Strategy, Victory CEMP Global High Dividend Defensive, Victory CEMP Long/Short Strategy, Victory Sopus China, and two muni-bond funds (Ohio and National).

We’d mistakenly included Victory Strategic Income Fund in the list of Victory funds being liquidated. We apologize for our error. The Victory Strategic Income Fund is NOT liquidating.



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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.