June 2019 IssueLong scroll reading

The Top Five Manager Changes

By David Snowball

Each month dozens of funds and ETFs undergo partial or complete turnover in their management teams. This month we found 85 funds and ETFs making a change. The vast majority of those changes are inconsequential to anyone other than the folks losing (or gaining) jobs: one manager on a five person team might be popped out and replaced by another, resulting in little net change.

In deference to our impending trip to Ireland, we’ve decided to report just five changes that caught our eye for now with the whole big list returning in July.

DWS ESG Global Bond Fund (SZGAX) dismissed its entire management team and brought two new guys on-board. The fund has been a long-time laggard. Seven other DWS funds had management tweaks.

Fidelity Emerging Markets Fund (FEMKX) loses star manager Sammy Simnegar, who’s taking over the reins on Fidelity Magellan, on September 30, 2019. He’s replaced by John Dance, who’s done a fine job at Fidelity Emerging Asia over the past couple years and who also ran Fidelity Pacific Basin. Fidelity Emerging Asia (FSEAX) then loses John Dance on December 31, 2019 who’s being succeeded by Xiaoting Zhao.

Harbor International Small Cap Fund (HIISX) terminated Baring International Investment Limited as its sub-adviser after three pretty uninspired years and is bringing in Cedar Street Asset Management LLC to run the fund. Since Cedar Street’s lead manager, Waldemar Mozes, did a fine job with ASTON/TAMRO International Small Cap Fund (AROWX/ATRWX), I’m pleased for the change.

Ben Franklin no longer serves as the portfolio manager of the Intrepid International Fund (ICMIX) or as part of the investment team of the Intrepid Capital Fund (ICBMX). On the one hand, ICMIX was distinctive and fascinating – international, absolute value, micro-cap – on the other hand, that discipline hasn’t worked over the past three years and the fund is about to be liquidated.

T. Rowe Price International Value Equity (TRIGX) is in the midst of an un-T. Rowe Price-like shuffle. On July 1, 2019, Sebastien Mallet steps down as manager – on very short notice, by TRP standards – after less than a year – a very short tenure by TRP standards – running this fund. Colin McQueen will take the helm of this fund. Mr. McQueen has had a long investing career, though mostly elsewhere.

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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.