AIM Management Group and Capital Cities Asset Management have introduced multicap mutual funds they are referring to as go-anywhere funds.
The Texas companies say the AIM Worldwide Spectrum Fund and the Capital Cities Chameleon Fund have the flexibility to invest in any stocks, regardless of the issuing companys size, location, or sector. The managers can range from style to style and can focus on performance or asset allocation or risk-reward criteria, the companies say.
Joel Dobberpuhl manages the AIM fund, which was introduced Monday. He said that the emphasis for the past few years in mutual fund management has been on clinging to a specific investing style. Now, as Wall Street prepares for a year of expected turbulence in the stock market, we want to deemphasize specificity, he said. We want to line everything up, weigh the merits of each, and come up with the best fund possible.
The Chameleon fund was introduced Dec. 28. Julie Keller, director of marketing at Capital Cities, said Chameleons managers have the freedom to shift between different industries, style sectors, and countries to find the economic hot spots in which to invest.
This fund allows us to be in any sector, any style, or any index at any time, she said. If tech is hot, its a tech fund. If value gets hot, then its a value fund. We dont want to be pigeonholed.
Ms. Keller said the Chameleon fund, which in its first week amassed $3 million of assets under management, was spurred by the growth of exchange-traded funds, which have the freedom to shift internally from one investment style to another.
While the stock market remains up in the air, multicap funds like Chameleon and Spectrum that allow for such internal shifts may be able to retain assets more effectively than others, Ms. Keller said.
Keith Hartstein, executive vice president of sales and marketing at John Hancock Funds in Boston, said these multicap funds are beginning to pop up because investors are asking for them. The funds pass the responsibility of stock picking back to the investment manager, he said.
The rise of the multicap fund is a backlash from the style-box buttonhole syndrome that existed for the past few years, said Mr. Hartstein, who launched a multicap growth fund at John Hancock on Dec. 1. Everyone wanted everything pinned down very specifically in different funds, and for a while that worked. Most of the market just wants a good stock picker managing their funds, picking stocks wherever they may be.
Mr. Dobberpuhl said these offerings are appealing because they encourage a long-term outlook. This fund will never be in the top 10% of any particular group, he said. But the fund will perform well over a period of three, five, or 10 years, he said. By diversifying we will be on top for the long haul.
Avi Nachmany, executive vice president of Strategic Insight, a New York consulting firm, said people should think long-term when they invest, but few do.
There is an extreme bias toward the style du jour, he said. In the past year you could have been the worlds best value manager and no one was buying your fund. In theory funds that diversify appear ideal, but in reality everyone invests in what is best as of late.
The AIM Worldwide Spectrum Fund is available through insurance companies, banks, and online and brick-and-mortar brokerages.
The Chameleon Fund is available through online brokerages.
So far, it is not distributed through banks, but the company says it may do so if the fund performs well.