Liberty Financial Cos. is expanding its value-style mutual fund offerings.
The Boston-based company's Stein Roe & Farnham unit rolled out the Stein Roe Advisor Tax-Managed Value Fund on June 16.
And in November the company's Colonial Management Associates opened the Colonial Value Fund. That fund has about $30 million of assets under management and has had strong returns-17% through May, compared with 10.4% for the S&P 500 index.
The funds are managed by Scott B. Schermerhorn, who is a employee of both Stein Roe and Colonial. Both funds are distributed through banks and other intermediaries by Liberty Funds Distributor, another unit of Liberty.
Mr. Schermerhorn was hired in October from Pittsburgh-based Federated Investors, where he was the head of the value team and managed more than $5 billion of investments.
A spokesman for Liberty said that though there are no additional value funds on the drawing board just yet, more are likely.
"It's an area the company wants to grow, and Scott has been building a team," said Tom Gariepy, a spokesman.
By hiring Mr. Schermerhorn, Liberty was not only anticipating an eventual resurgence of investor interest in value funds but also continuing to increase its equity offerings.
"Colonial has to put an increasing focus on equity products," said Burton J. Greenwald, a mutual fund consultant in Philadelphia. "It was a strategic move."
Colonial has been trying to shed its reputation as a bond fund shop, and the numbers suggest it is succeeding.
At the end of May 46% of the company's assets under management were in equity funds and 54% were in bond funds. Two years earlier 42% were in equities and 58% were in bonds, while in May 1994 just 24% were in equities and 76% were in bonds.
Part of the shift has to do with the fact that investors have pulled money out of Colonial's bond funds because of the bull market in stocks. Liberty has a total of $57 billion of assets under management.
The new funds give brokers at banks and elsewhere a wider range of Liberty products to sell, including Stein Roe's growth funds.
Colonial has a strong bond shop and is known for the "core value" style it uses to manage its equity funds. Core value managers try to provide investors with more diversification than traditional value funds by looking for stocks that are cheap compared with their market sector.
Separately, Steve Salopek, co-manager of the Stein Roe Small Company Growth Fund, is leaving to join Bank One Corp. of Chicago, Stein Roe said.
Mr. Salopek is the fourth fund manager in two months to leave the Chicago company. Eric Maddix resigned last month from the Mid-Cap Growth Fund. In May, Stein Roe dismissed two small-cap managers, Gloria Santella and Gerry Sandel, as part of a reorganization.