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Rating:Miller Manages New Legg Mason Fund Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, January 03, 2000

Miller Manages New Legg Mason Fund

Reported by Hayley Green

Legg Mason launched the Legg Mason Opportunity Trust on December 20, 1999 with much success, the company said. The new fund is being managed by Morningstar's 1998 Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year, Bill Miller.

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The Opportunity Trust fund invests in U.S. equities and is not limited by investment style, sector, market capitalization and other such restraints. The fund closed its first day of trading, last Thursday, with $132 million, or what most funds would consider a success.

Tal Daley, senior vice president and director of Legg Mason Funds marketing, said that the high asset base is credited to Bill Miller who was able to attract the attention of brokers. On Friday, Miller was profiled in The Wall Street Journal for beating the S&P index nine years in a row. Peter Lynch, the former Fidelity Magellan Fund manager with whom Miller is often compared, never beat the benchmark for longer than a six-year run.

For Miller to manage the fund, Legg Mason created another corporation, LMM, LLC. "LLM is sub-advising it out to Bill's advisory firm which also manages Legg Mason Value Trust, the Legg Mason Special Investment Trust, as well as other separate accounts and pooled products," Daley said.

All marketing was done internally and for now the fund will only be sold through Legg Mason's brokers. The word was spread through "typical internal branch visits," Daley said. "Bill is maybe the best of the decade. When he was given wide open management, brokers fell in love and so did their clients."

Daley said that Legg Mason will consider listing the fund on other platforms at the 90-day assessment in March. The fund has no front or back-end fee, and if it is taken outside the firm a 1% redemption fee would be added along with a 1% 12b-1. The expense ratio is 1.99% with waivers, Daley said, but he expects it to go down as assets grow. 

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