Wells Fargo Funds reports strong investor interest in a new product designed to temper the volatility usually associated with New Economy stocks.
The Specialized Technology Fund, which invests in aerospace, biotechnology, communications equipment, Internet services, defense, health care, semiconductors and computer software and hardware companies, was launched Monday. Wells Fargo said it raised $79 million - $69 million more than it says it had hoped for - in an initial subscription that ended Friday.
The fund is the 66th offered by the Wells Fargo & Co. unit, its second technology fund, and the first designed to reduce volatility of tech investments.
The trick is diversification, said Mike Hogan, president of Wells Fargo Funds. "Wells Fargo believes that the technology revolution is not a fad, but a lasting, fundamental transformation of global culture and economies," he said. "The fund's unique investing style, supported by extensive ongoing field research, creates the potential for substantial growth with manageable volatility."
Mr. Hogan said most technology funds focus on one industry or sector, but the strategy for the Specialized Technology Fund is to spread the risk by selecting stocks from different companies of differing sizes and value, and by global diversification.
Walter C. Price Jr. and Hauchen Chen of the Dresdner Bank unit Dresdner RCM Global Investors, who are subadvising the fund, are applying the same investment style that helped build the Dresdner RCM Global Technology Fund by 182% last year.
Wells Fargo, which has $66 billion under management, launched its other technology product, Wells Fargo OTC Growth Fund, on Sept. 5. Offered only as a no-load fund through Wells Fargo's online brokerage, it invests in companies in the computer hardware, software, telecommunications, retail/wholesale trade and biotechnology sectors, and is intended to outperform the Nasdaq composite index.
Greg Bronstein, managing director of brokerage services for Wells Fargo's Private Client Services unit, said that in the next five years his company expects to at least sustain the rapid expansion its technology funds have had.
"Because our economy continues to undergo a vast transformation, Wells Fargo is recommending investing in technology," he said. "Today, we depend on technology in a way we only talked about a few years ago. We believe tomorrow will bring technology breakthroughs that are even more important to our business strategy."