April 2024 IssueLong scroll reading

Briefly Noted…

By TheShadow


The marriage is off: the planned merger of BlackRock Capital Appreciation Fund and BlackRock Large Cap Focus Growth Fund has been canceled. No word on why.

Morningstar Magazine featured GoodHaven Fund, which we profiled in July 2023 (“The Rise of GoodHaven Fund”), in their March 2024 issue. Our quick summary: remarkable turnaround. Distinctive portfolio. Disciplined manager. “May not have broad appeal,” because it doesn’t fit neatly into a box. Still, it’s drawing attention.

Briefly Noted . . .

Carillon Chartwell Income Fund has become the Carillon Chartwell Real Income Fund; with subsequent changes to its investment strategies to incorporate the “real” income stuff.

On February 2, 2024, Guardian Capital Group Limited announced that it had entered into a unit purchase agreement to acquire 100% of the ownership interests of Sterling Capital Management. The closing is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2024. Guardian has indicated that, following the closing, it plans to operate Sterling Capital as a standalone entity, led by the current team of management and senior professionals, providing continuity, stability, and continued excellence for Sterling clients.

Hartford Schroders Sustainable International Core Fund, Hartford Sustainable Income ETF, and Hartford Global Impact Fund will no longer automatically exclude certain companies from the investment universe but will continue to use sustainability criteria to determine the funds’ investment universe.

RWC Asset Advisors has terminated its expense limitation agreement for Redwheel Global Emerging Equity Fund, as a consequence of which expenses pop from their capped limit (1.25%) to a range from 1.3% (Institutional) to 1.64% (no-load retail).

Effective April 3, 2024, WisdomTree Enhanced Commodity Strategy Fund and WisdomTree Managed Futures Strategy Fund both gained the right to invest in bitcoin through exchange-traded products.

Old Wine, New Bottles

Effective May 1, 2024, the American Beacon Bridgeway Large Cap Growth Fund becomes American Beacon Man Large Cap Growth, with the attendant loss of its Bridgeway managers.  The Large Cap Value Fund undergoes the same transformation, and a team from Numeric Investors takes over.

Several Alliance Bernstein funds are in the process of becoming Alliance Bernstein ETFs. “Trans funds” of a short, we suppose.

AB Short Duration Income Portfolio AB Short Duration Income ETF June 7, 2024
AB Short Duration High Yield Portfolio AB Short Duration High Yield ETF June 7, 2024
AB International Low Volatility Equity Portfolio AB International Low Volatility Equity ETF July 12, 2024

As a yet-undetermined moment in the third quarter of 2024, two Aquila funds will become two Cantor Fitzgerald funds.

Disappearing fund Surviving fund
Aquila High Income Fund Cantor Fitzgerald High Income Fund
Aquila Opportunity Growth Fund Cantor Fitzgerald Opportunity Growth Fund

“Effective on the Effective Date,” AXS First Priority CLO Bond ETF will be renamed Alternative Access First Priority CLO Bond ETF. While the advisor changes from AXS to AAF, for all material purposes the fund will remain the same.

Community Capital Management is now the advisor for the CCM Affordable Housing MBS ETF (OWNS), which was previously sub-advised by Impact Shares. Investments in OWNS include home loans in census tracts where more than 50% of the population is non-white and at least 40% of the population is living at or below the poverty line. Additionally, OWNS includes loans in counties where 20% or more of the population has lived in poverty for more than 20 years and loans to minority borrowers or loans originated in a census tract where more than 50% of the population is a minority.

As of June 1, 2024, Columbia International ESG Equity Income ETF and Columbia U.S. ESG Equity Income ETF each ditch the term “ESG” in their names becoming Columbia International Equity Income ETF and Columbia U.S. Equity Income ETF, respectively.

On June 10, 2024, the First Trust Mid Cap US Equity Select ETF, which you likely don’t know exists, becomes the First Trust SMID Capital Strength Index ETF. At base, it will track an index that “provides exposure to well-capitalized small and mid-sized companies with strong balance sheets, a high degree of liquidity, the ability to generate earnings growth, and a record of financial strength and profit growth.”

On or about May 22, 2024, Franklin MicroCap Value Fund will become Franklin Mutual Small-Mid Cap Value Fund with attendant changes of strategy.

Effective March 29, 2024, the $60 million Inspire Faithward Mid Cap Momentum ETF will change its name to Inspire Momentum ETF. The fund has a fine performance record, fwiw.

As of April 1, 2024, Global X Emerging Markets ETF (which has no direct exposure to China) has been rechristened Global X Emerging Markets ex-China ETF, and Global X Data Center REITs & Digital Infrastructure ETF has become Global X Data Center & Digital Infrastructure ETF (DTCR), with a new ticker.

Janus Henderson seemed to have found a new way to play the “green flight” game. Janus Henderson Sustainable Corporate Bond ETF will soon become the vanilla Janus Henderson Corporate Bond ETF. But (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) it’s still an ESG fund. The key is “the Repositioning” of the fund away from “giving special consideration” to ESG factors to “instead, integrating ESG factors as part of its investment process only.”

Umm… one wonders what qualifies as “special consideration”? Under the original mandate, were the managers acting to incorporate considerations that did not contribute positively to the fund’s performance? That is, after all, the ESG argument: such factors are “material.” In that case, shame on them.

Or is this just a shell game, lowering the public profile of the ESG factors in order to dodge political heat while still considering the factors as they always did?

On June 21, 2024, Charles Schwab will make what appears to be utterly inconsequential tweaks to the names of five of its funds. It does not appear that there are any substantive changes following the tweaks.

Current Names New Names
Schwab Fundamental US Large Company Index Fund Schwab Fundamental U.S. Large Company Index Fund.  It appears they added periods after U and S.?
Schwab Fundamental US Small Company Index Fund Schwab Fundamental U.S. Small Company Index Fund. Okay, more periods!
Schwab Fundamental International Large Company Index Fund Schwab Fundamental International Equity Index Fund. Equity subs for Large Company.
Schwab Fundamental International Small Company Index Fund Schwab Fundamental International Small Equity Index Fund. Equity subs for Company.
Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index Fund Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Equity Index Fund. Again, equity subs for Large Company.

On May 1, 2024, Voya Global Multi-Asset Fund becomes Voya Global Income & Growth Fund with a revised management team and a target allocation of 33% high yield, 33% convertibles, and 33% equities and/or call options.

Off to the Dustbin of History

AAM/Phocas Real Estate Fund will be liquidated on or about April 26, 2024.

AGF Global Infrastructure ETF, AGF Global Sustainable Equity Fund, and AGF Emerging Markets Equity Fund will all be liquidated on April 30, 2024.

AXS Multi-Strategy Alternatives Fund and AXS Sustainable Income Fund will be liquidated on or about April 26, 2024.

abrdn Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund will be reorganized into its abrdn Emerging Markets ex-China Fund, The reorganization is expected to be completed sometime during the second quarter of 2024.

Anfield Diversified Alternatives ETF will be liquidated and dissolved on or about April 26, 2024.

Astor Macro Alternative Fund will be liquidated on or about April 29, 2024.

BlackRock Global Impact Fund spares us further tales of woe, as of April 29, 2024. The fund, with about $8 million in AUM, has a record of startlingly consistent underperformance.

BNY Mellon US Equity will be terminated on May 17, 2024.

The Castle Has Fallen! Castle Focus Fund was leveled, effective March 7, 2024.

The ClearBridge All Cap Growth ESG ETF is merging into the ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG ETF. The transaction is currently expected to be completed on or about June 14, 2024.

The Defiance Pure Electric Vehicle ETF turned off its lights forever on March 28.

A bunch of Delaware funds are transitioning in phases. Phase One: fund mergers. Phase Two: year-end rebranding.

The disappearing fund The surviving fund The surviving fund’s new name, as of 12/31/2024.
Delaware Ivy Accumulative Fund Delaware Ivy Large Cap Growth Fund1 Macquarie Large Cap Growth Fund
Delaware Select Growth Fund Delaware Ivy Large Cap Growth Fund1 Macquarie Large Cap Growth Fund
Delaware Mid Cap Growth Equity Fund (formerly, Delaware Smid Cap Growth Fund) Delaware Ivy Mid Cap Growth Fund2 Macquarie Mid Cap Growth Fund
Delaware Small Cap Growth Fund Delaware Ivy Small Cap Growth Fund3 Macquarie Small Cap Growth Fund
Delaware Ivy Core Bond Fund Delaware Diversified Income Fund4 Macquarie Diversified Income Fund
Delaware High-Yield Opportunities Fund Delaware Ivy High Income Fund5 Macquarie High Income Fund
Delaware Ivy Value Fund Delaware Value Fund6 Macquarie Value Fund
Delaware Global Equity Fund Delaware Ivy Global Growth Fund7 Macquarie Global Growth Fund
Delaware Global Equity Fund II (formerly, Delaware Global Value Equity Fund) Delaware Ivy Global Growth Fund7 Macquarie Global Growth Fund
Delaware International Equity Fund (formerly, Delaware International Value Equity Fund) Delaware Ivy International Core Equity Fund8 Macquarie International Core Equity Fund
Delaware International Equity Fund II (formerly, Delaware Ivy International Value Fund) Delaware Ivy International Core Equity Fund8 Macquarie International Core Equity Fund

Fidelity Latin America Fund will be reorganized on a tax-free basis with and into Fidelity Emerging Markets Fund on September 13, 2024.

Fidelity Global High Income Fund will merge with Fidelity High Income Fund on September 13, 2024.

Franklin Global Dividend Fund is expected to cease operations pursuant to the liquidation of the fund on or about April 12, 2024.

Global X MSCI Next Emerging & Frontier ETF (EMFM) crossed its final frontier on March 15, 2024, while its sibling Global X MSCI Nigeria ETF went to meet the oil prince of its dreams on March 25, 2024.

Homestead Rural America Growth & Income Fund will be liquidated on or about June 12, 2024.

There’s a plan to liquidate and terminate Janus Henderson Adaptive Global Allocation Fund, effective on or about June 12, 2024.

Janus Henderson will liquidate its Mid Cap Value Fund’s class “L” shares on or about May 29, 2024.

MassMutual Main Street Fund will be liquidated on or about August 23, 2024.

Neuberger Berman International Equity Portfolio and Neuberger Berman U.S. Equity Index PutWrite Strategy Portfolio, owing to insufficient assets to operate economically, will be liquidated on April 24, 2024. Neither is a mutual fund.

Northern Multi-Manager Emerging Markets Debt Opportunity Fund was subject to an accelerated liquidation. The original date-of-date was May 3, 2024, but someone got an itchy trigger finger and the fund was liquidated on March 27, 2024.

Subversive Cannabis ETF, Subversive Decarbonization ETF, Subversive Food Security ETF, and Subversive Mental Health ETF were liquidated on March 28, 2024, because “marketing efforts have not proven effective.” MFO note: don’t blame your marketing team. Every one of the liquidated funds had lost money for its investors since launch. And every one of them had a benchmark with had made money in the same period.

TCW Relative Value Dividend Appreciation Fund is merged into the TCW Relative Value Large Cap Fund on or about June 17, 2024.

VanEck Future of Food ETF faces imminent “liquidation, winding down, and termination of the Fund, which is expected to happen on or about Tuesday, April 9, 2024.”

VanEck Environmental Sustainability Fund will be liquidated on April 24, 2024.

Effective March 15, 2024, Virtus Seix High Yield Income Fund was merged into Virtus Seix High Yield Fund.

Effective March 8, 2024, Virtus Vontobel Foreign Opportunities Fund was merged with and into Virtus SGA International Growth Fund and Virtus Vontobel Global Opportunities Fund disappeared into Virtus SGA Global Growth Fund. “The Funds,” they helpfully note, “have ceased to exist.”

Voya International High Dividend Low Volatility Fund will be liquidated on April 26, 2024.

Weiss Alternative Multi-Strategy Fund was liquidated on or around March 29, 2024.

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About TheShadow

The Shadow here! Like Mark, I’m a long-time member of the MFO community. I’ve started over 2300 discussion threads, most focusing on developments in the fund industry. I am a personal investor that was introduced to mutual funds when I was young to fund my college education. As I have grown older, I have expanded my mutual funds holdings to a point where I probably have too many; however, this year they all did extremely well due to the overall performance of the market. I work in the financial industry regulating the consumer finance industry in my state. My hope for the months ahead is that I might share word of developments in the finance industry – the comings and goings, launches and liquidations, the fun and the follies – with you.