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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Morgan Stanley Fund to Change Names, Focus

by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Morgan Stanley Investment Management filed a prospectus with the SEC last Thursday, proposing that the Morgan Stanley Information Fund be renamed the Morgan Stanley Technology Fund. Ironically, the original Morgan Stanley Technology Fund was merged into the Morgan Stanley Information Fund back in 2003, after tech stock environment turned sour.

The name change, which would take place on July 28, is merely the latest in a long line for the current Morgan Stanley Information Fund. Created in December 1994 as the TCW/DW Global Communications Fund, its name has changed three times: first to the Dean Witter Information Fund in August 1995; then to the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Information Fund in June 1998; and then again to the Morgan Stanley Information Fund in June 2001.

This time it will be transformed in more than name: the prospectus just filed with the SEC also includes plans for a change in strategy. The fund will still seek long-term capital appreciation, but it will do so by investing at least 80 percent of its assets in companies that "rely extensively on technology, sciences and communications in their product development or operations at the time of investment." Currently, the fund focuses on communications and information companies.

A company spokesperson explained these alterations to the MFWire. "The portfolio management team believes a strategy change will help expand the pool of potential investment opportunities available to the fund," Andrea Slattery said. "The name change more accurately reflects the fund's revised strategy."

The Morgan Stanley Information Fund is managed by the members of the Sector Funds team, led by executive director David Walker and managing director Mary Jayne Maly. Walker and Maly have both been with the company for more than a decade, and have been managing the fund since February.

The fund offers four classes of shares: A, B, C and D shares. A, B and C shares are available to the general public, with maximum annual distribution and shareholder fees of 0.25 percent, 1.00 percent and 1.00 percent, respectively. D shares have no annual fees, but are only available to certain types of investors who put in at least $5 million.  

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