The New England Funds will be renamed in the new year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The funds are to be called the Nvest Funds after Nvest Companies LP, the Boston holding company that owns the $7.7 billion-asset family and 16 other fund groups and distribution companies. The SEC filing said that 22 of the 23 funds would be affected.

Nvest would not be the first parent company to stamp its brand on its mutual funds. Several banking companies - including Fifth Third Bancorp of Cincinnati and Huntington Bancshares of Columbus, Ohio - have renamed their portfolios this year.

"There seems to be a pattern for holding companies to have a fund distribution arm that is identified" with the parent, said Neil Epstein, an analyst who covers Nvest for Putnam, Lovell, de Guardiola & Thornton Inc. of New York.

The New England moniker has become less important in recent years, particularly since New England Investment Cos. was renamed Nvest in March 1998, said Geoffrey Bobroff, a mutual fund analyst based in East Greenwich, R.I. In some cases using the old New England name on the funds may be an "impediment" to sales, he said.

A spokeswoman said Nvest does not plan to change the names of its other fund families: the CGM Funds, the Jurika & Voyles Funds, the Kobrick Funds, the Loomis Sayles Funds, the Oakmark Funds, and the Reich & Tang Funds.

On Feb. 1, the name of the distributor, New England Funds LP, is to be changed to Nvest Funds Distributor LP, the SEC filing said. And the company's investment adviser, New England Funds Management, is to be renamed Nvest Funds Management LP.

Nvest, which is 48% owned by Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., managed $127 billion of assets on Sept. 30, the company said.

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