Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Mutual Funds

The Exodus at Janus Group

A deep bench means the funds are still in good hands.

Three key fund managers have jumped ship from Janus funds in the past few months, following two who left in 2006. Five overboard bodes something, but not necessarily ill, given the overhaul at Janus since its infamous blowup early this decade (see Janus Rebuilt).

The latest defector is Minyoung Sohn, of Janus Balanced fund. Before Sohn, it was David Corkins, manager of the flagship Janus fund since February 2006. In August, Janus Twenty's longtime manager, Scott Schoelzel, announced he was leaving.

Sohn, Corkins and Schoelzel lived through bleak times at Janus, which was a preeminent growth-stock shop of the U90s. At the turn of the century, too many Janus managers threw too much money at too few tech stocks. When the sector subsequently crashed, so did the funds.

But Janus's growth funds have rebounded strongly in recent years. The company deepened its roster of managers and analysts, undertook efforts to ensure that its funds don't overlap excessively and sought better diversification within portfolios.

Advertisement

All these changes may rankle longtime Janus managers. "Janus managers of old had carte blanche," says Morningstar stock analyst Rachel Barnard. "Having your wings clipped a bit would have to be difficult."

Janus chief executive Gary Black, who engineered many of the changes, says, "We've evolved as the industry has evolved." He also says that compensation for portfolio managers is up "sharply," so managers aren't leaving because they're not being paid enough.

Should Janus clients be concerned? Yes, if the exodus continues. But if you're sitting on significant gains, sit tight for now. All three managers who left recently have good replacements, and two are stellar. At the helm of Janus Twenty will be Ron Sachs, whose Janus Orion returned an annualized 26% for the past five years to November 1. Janus fund's new lead manager is Jonathan Coleman, who led Janus Enterprise to a five-year annualized return of 21%.