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Friday, March 01, 2013

OpFunds Hires an Ex-Columbia Team

News summary by MFWire's editors

OppenheimerFunds [profile] has lured a four PM team away from Columbia [profile] to bolster its flagging value franchise, according to InvestmentNews.

The trade pub reports that OpFunds hired Laton Spahr, former PM of the $5.3-billion Columbia Dividend Opportunity Fund, along with three other Columbia Funds vets, to take over Oppenheimer's value funds.

“The value funds have been laggards over the past couple of years,” Art Steinmetz, Oppenheimer's chief investment officer, is quoted as saying. “We saw this as an opportunity to grab some of the top talent in the value investing sector.”

Moreover, Steinmetz in the article said that talent is at a premium now because of the extra pressure active managers face from low-cost index products such as exchange-traded funds.

“We're required to demonstrate we're worth the fees we charge every day,” he said in the InvestmentNews article. “There's no room for closet indexers in an active-management shop anymore.”

Spahr will become PM of the $2.2-billion Oppenheimer Value Fund and the $1.4-billion Oppenheimer Small & Mid Cap Value Fund on March 11. Former PMs Mitchell Williams and John Damian are no longer with OppenheimerFunds, spokeswoman Kristina Ferrari Baldridge said in the article.

The change isn't surprising, according to David Kathman, a mutual fund analyst atMorningstar Inc. “Both funds used to be star performers but have been struggling in recent years,” he said in InvestmentNews.

Read more in InvestmentNews

Edited by: Tommy Fernandez

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