Mutual Funds
Vanguard on growth wave
March 7, 2000: 6:13 a.m. ET

Outside manager of new fund is optimistic, promises high-octane stocks
By Staff Writer Martine Costello
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Fund manager Bob Turner is used to the high-flying world of growth stocks such as Cisco Systems, and the volatility that can send some holdings crashing down. And now, Vanguard investors can get a taste of it, too.
    Turner Growth Equity Fund will become Vanguard Growth Equity Fund in a new partnership the two sides announced recently.
    "We're very bullish," Turner said. "Growth stocks will continue to shine."

    Also in this column: Ryan Jacob talks about his new fund; and some new performance figures from Morningstar.

    Vanguard is known for its penny-pinching and its fleet of cost-efficient index funds. But it also has 18 actively managed funds, many headed by outside advisers.
    John Woerth, a principal at Vanguard, said the company wanted to broaden its line of actively managed funds. Of its 18 actively managed funds, one is closed and seven invest in international or sector stocks. That leaves only 10 choices besides index funds.
    Another advantage for investors of the new Vanguard fund is that their expense ratio will decrease from one percent to 0.65 percent, Woerth said.
    And, it will give retirement investors who have Vanguard funds in their 401(k) plans a new growth fund alternative, said Stephen Kneeley, president and chief operating officer.
    "Industry-wide, you're seeing more growth stocks in the indexes," Kneeley said. "Right now, there's so much money flowing into growth stocks ... The big, bundled 401(k) providers don't have a lot of growth funds."
    The fund has a turnover rate of 200 percent a year, so it's a good choice for a tax-deferred account such as a 401(k) or IRA, Kneeley said.
    Scott Cooley, an analyst at Morningstar, said Vanguard has taken some heat for not having enough aggressive alternatives.
    "I don't see a downside," Cooley said of the new partnership. The only possible concern, long term, is that Turner Investment Partners hasn't managed funds with large asset levels.
    But Kneeley argued that the company intentionally keeps its funds small, and often closes the doors if they get too big. The Vanguard Growth Equity Fund will have a ceiling of $9 billion, he said.
    And despite its partnership with cost-conscious Vanguard, Bob Turner and Kneeley say there won't be any investing changes to the fund.
    "Our goal is not to change the process in any way, shape or form," Kneeley said.
    The fund, with about $280 million in assets, has about 53 percent of its portfolio in technology stocks, according to Morningstar. It is up 12.7 percent as of Feb. 29, Morningstar said.
    Its top holdings include: Cisco (CSCO: Research, Estimates), representing 6 percent; Oracle (ORCL: Research, Estimates), representing 2.5 percent, and America Online (AOL: Research, Estimates), representing about 2.5 percent.
    (America Online is merging with Time Warner, the parent of
    "If anything has changed, the market has become increasingly volatile," Bob Turner said. "I've got two stocks up 19.5 percent and one stock down 21 percent ... A few years ago, I would have panicked at that. Now, it's a normal day at the office."

    Ryan Jacob, manager of the Jacob Internet Fund, says he has been adding some business-to-business stocks such as Commerce One (CMCR: Research, Estimates) into his portfolio. The fund, with $270 million in assets, is up about 13 percent year to date as of March 3, Jacob said.
    "The market has been all over the place, to say the least," Jacob said.
    Jacob acknowledges he has a hard act to follow after stepping down at Internet Fund. He delivered triple-digit returns and watched assets soar to $654 million. But he said it's unrealistic to assume he'll always be leading the pack.
    "We're a buy-and-hold fund," Jacob said. "We wait for the market to come to us rather than jumping into the hot trends."
    For example, last year he felt that the business-to-business stocks were too expensive. But he started buying in January when prices came down substantially.
    The fund's holdings as of Jan. 31 include: (BOUT: Research, Estimates); (DSCM: Research, Estimates); and Netzero (NZRO: Research, Estimates).

    Small growth funds are the top-performing category tracked by Morningstar for the week ending March 3.
    The category earned 9.80 percent for the week, Morningstar said. Top performers include TCW Galileo Earnings Momentum I Fund, up 16.32 percent; followed by Firstar MicroCap Institutional Fund, up 15.59 percent; and Neutered Berman Millennium Fund, up 14.81 percent.
    Technology came in second for the week, earning an average of 9.14 percent. Winners included Alpha Analytics Digital Future Fund, up 15.93 percent; PBHG Technology & Communications Fund, up 14.42 percent; and HomeState Select Technology Fund, up 13.22 percent. Back to top


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