June 2021 IssueLong scroll reading

Briefly Noted

By David Snowball


The fund-to-ETF train appears to be leaving the station.

On May 7, 2021, the Adaptive Growth Opportunities Fund became the Adaptive Growth Opportunities ETF.

At some time in the third quarter of 2021, Water Island Long/Short Fund will become the AltShares Event-Driven ETF. That’s a more convoluted change since the fund will change both its legal structure and its investment strategies. The only logic for jumping through the hoops rather than simply launching the ETF is the desire to keep control of the fund’s four-star rating and “Gold” status at Morningstar. Oddly, Water Island already has an event-driven fund that seems unaffected by this change.

Effective May 11, 2021, ClearShares Piton Intermediate Fixed Income ETF renounces its dalliance with the ticker symbol BTC. The fund was “PIFI” until April 15, when it left the dull, steady, and sensible ticker behind to hook up with BTC. But now, after just less than a month-long fling, the fund has returned to PIFI. Lesson learned, we hope.


Hmmmm … bunches of funds continue to nibble away at their expense ratios, and several really solid funds are launching ETF versions. De facto, that eliminates the burden of meeting minimum initial expense requirements and offers at least the prospect of lower fees and higher tax efficiency.

CLOSINGS (and related inconveniences)

Effective as of the close of business on May 28, 2021, the Grandeur Peak Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund no longer accepts purchases from new or existing investors

Effective as of May 28, 2021, the Grandeur Peak Global Reach Fund closed to new investors seeking to purchase shares of the Fund through third-party intermediaries.

On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, Harbor Small Cap Value Fund will be closed to new investors. 

Effective June 18, 2021, Retail and Institutional Class Shares of the RiverPark Short Term High Yield Fund will be closed to new investors.

Effective as of June 18, 2021, the WCM International Small Cap Growth Fund will be soft-closed.


Barings is attempting to sell their fund business to MassMutual. If the agreement goes through, six Barings funds will become MassMutual ones.

No assurance can be given that the reorganizations will occur. None of the proposed

Vanishing Fund Acquiring Fund
Barings Active Short Duration Bond MassMutual Short-Duration Bond
Barings U.S. High Yield MassMutual High Yield
Barings Global Floating Rate MassMutual Global Floating Rate
Barings Global Credit Income Opportunities MassMutual Global Credit Income Opportunities
Barings Emerging Markets Debt Blended Total Return MassMutual Emerging Markets Debt Blended Total Return
Barings Global Emerging Markets Equity MassMutual Global Emerging Markets Equity

On or about July 1, 2021, ClearBridge All Cap Growth ETF becomes ClearBridge All Cap Growth ESG ETF, and ClearBridge Focus Value ETF becomes ClearBridge Focus Value ESG ETF. ‘cause ESG.

Effective October 23, 2021, Fidelity Select Consumer Finance Fund will change its name to Fidelity Select FinTech.

On November 13, 2021, Fidelity Select Information Technology Sector becomes the Fidelity Select Tech Hardware Portfolio.

Effective May 28, 2021, Global Tactical Fund (GIVYX) became the Greenwich Ivy Long-Short Fund.

Effective on or about September 1, 2021, Harbor Mid Cap Growth Fund becomes the Harbor Disruptive Innovation Fund because if you aren’t going to be ESG, you wanna be disruptive. Nominally an all-cap portfolio, it will be benchmarked against the S&P 500. Wellington is out as manager, and some combination of NZS Capital, LLC, Sands Capital Management, LLC, Tekne Capital Management, LLC, and Westfield Capital Management Company, L.P are in. The adviser warns investors of impending turnover and the consequent tax bill.

Effective on or about July 30, 2021, A bunch of James Alpha funds become Easterly funds.

Current Fund Name New Fund Name
James Alpha Global Real Estate Investments Easterly Global Real Estate Investments
James Alpha Hedged High Income Easterly Hedged High Income
James Alpha Macro Easterly Global Macro
James Alpha Managed Risk Domestic Equity Easterly Hedged Equity
James Alpha Managed Risk Emerging Markets Equity Easterly Managed Risk Emerging Markets Equity
James Alpha Multi Strategy Alternative Income Easterly Multi Strategy Alternative Income
James Alpha Total Hedge Portfolio Easterly Total Hedge Portfolio
James Alpha EHS Easterly EHS
James Alpha Event Driven Easterly Event Driven
James Alpha Family Office Easterly Family Office
James Alpha Relative Value Easterly Relative Value
James Alpha Structured Credit Value Easterly Structured Credit Value

Pending the inevitable shareholder approval on June 29, 2021, two Macquarie funds will merge into Delaware funds.

Acquired Fund Acquiring Fund
Macquarie Core Plus Bond Portfolio Delaware Diversified Income
Macquarie High Yield Bond Portfolio Delaware High-Yield Opportunities Fund

We found a new category of fund changes: Repurposing. As in Touchstone Ohio Tax-Free Bond Fund is going to be repurposed as Touchstone Core Municipal Bond Fund.

Finally, on May 20, 2021, WisdomTree 90/60 US Balanced Fund become Wisdom Tree US Efficient Core Fund … presumably because no one had the slightest clue about what the phrase “90/60 US Balanced” meant.


On August 31, 2021, something will happen to the Aberdeen Total Return Bond Fund. The adviser “will no longer offer the investment strategy pursued by the Fund.” And so shareholders will have the choice either to liquidate the fund outright or to merge it into Aberdeen Global Absolute Return Strategies Fund. Either way, the original’s a deadster.

BMO Global Low Volatility Equity Fund will be liquidated on July 30, 2021.

On or about July 19, 2021, BNY Mellon Japan Womenomics Fund will be liquidated.

On November 5, 2021.BNY Mellon Structured Midcap Fund will disappear into BNY Mellon Small/Mid Cap Growth Fund.

Bridgeway Small Cap Growth Fund is merging into Bridgeway Small Cap Value Fund, “on or around the end of the third quarter of 2021.”

On July 2, 2021, four Delaware funds will be absorbed by their siblings. (Ick.)

Acquired Funds Acquiring Funds
Delaware International Fund Delaware International Value Equity Fund
Delaware Investment Grade Fund Delaware Corporate Bond Fund
Delaware Special Situations Fund Delaware Small Cap Value Fund
Delaware Fund for Income Delaware High-Yield Opportunities Fund

Fidelity Advisor Communications Equipment Fund will be liquidated on or about August 6, 2021. That’s likely part of the larger shuffle below.

On November 12, 2021, Fidelity Select Communications Equipment Portfolio will merge into Fidelity Select Computers Portfolio.

On November 19, 2021, Fidelity will merge Fidelity Select Energy Service Portfolio (which is tied to the fate of the oil path) and Fidelity Select Natural Gas into Fidelity Select Energy. Also, the Air Transportation Portfolio is transported into the Transportation Portfolio

Horizon Advisers agreed to sell “certain investment management-related assets” to Federated Hermes. On September 24, 2021, eight funds are merged away while one, the last one on the list, lives on under a new name:

Hasta la vista … Acquiring Fund
Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Federated Hermes MDT Small Cap Core
Hancock Horizon Diversified Income Federated Hermes Capital Income
Hancock Horizon Diversified International Federated Hermes International Leaders
Hancock Horizon Dynamic Asset Allocation Federated Hermes Global Allocation
Hancock Horizon International Small Cap Federated Hermes International Small-Mid Company
Hancock Horizon Louisiana Tax-Free Income Federated Hermes Municipal Bond
Hancock Horizon Microcap Federated Hermes MDT Small Cap Core
Hancock Horizon Mississippi Tax-Free Income Federated Hermes Municipal Bond
Hancock Horizon Quantitative Long/Short Federated Hermes MDT Market Neutral, a new series of Federated Hermes Adviser Series

Harbor Funds’ Board of Trustees has determined to liquidate and dissolve Harbor Robeco Emerging Markets Active Equities Fund, Harbor Robeco Emerging Markets Conservative Equities Fund, Harbor Robeco Global Conservative Equities Fund, Harbor Robeco International Conservative Equities Fund, and Harbor Robeco US Conservative Equities Fund on June 15, 2021. The funds all launched in December 2019, seemed to be sensible ideas, and were sensibly structured, which earned Morningstar medalist ratings for them. Sadly, they either were not marketed well or were not marketable.

The $2 billion ICM Small Company fund is being merged into the $52 million William Blair Small Cap Value Fund. Ummm … quite beyond “minnow swallowing the whale,” the long-term performance difference between the funds is substantial. $10,000 invested in ICM in 1996 is now worth $132,000. The same money in William Blair would have grown to $91,000.

In one of history’s odder executions, MFS Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund, which launched in August 1988 is slated to be merged into the brand new MFS Municipal Intermediate Fund (launched 5/18/2021) in September 2021. Their entirely reasonable explanation:

MFS believes that the proposed reorganization is in the best interest of the shareholders of both funds. The Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund shareholders no longer realize additional tax benefits from investments in obligations of the State of Tennessee or political subdivisions thereof in light of Tennessee’s recent elimination of a tax on interest and dividend income effective January 1, 2021. Shareholders of the MFS Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund will participate in a fund with substantially similar investment objectives, investment policies and strategies, a lower management fee, a more favorable expense limitation for shareholders, and lower net expense ratios.

The Board of Trustees of the Fund has approved the liquidation and dissolution of the RBC Emerging Markets Small Cap Equity Fund on or about July 23, 2021.

Rational Trend Aggregation VA Fund will be liquidated on July 30, 2021.

On June 21, 2021, the Selective Opportunity Fund (SLCTX) will become a lot less selective. Also, a lot less of a fund, being liquidated and all.

At the close of business on May 21, 2021, Stone Harbor Investment Grade Fund was liquidated.

The Thornburg Long/Short Equity Fund will be liquidated on or around June 25, 2021.

Wells Fargo Diversified Equity Fund will be absorbed by Wells Fargo Spectrum Aggressive Growth Fund sometime in September 2020.

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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.