Though its history has been brief, Hartford Advisers Fund is quickly making a name for itself.
This fund is subadvised by Wellington Management.
Rand Alexander, who has been with Wellington since 1990, runs the equity portion of the portfolio and has built a solid risk/reward profile at another offering, Hartford Stock.
Paul Kaplan runs the fixed-income side. He has also established an enviable record, most notably at Vanguard Wellington. Both of the managers set the fund's asset allocation.
In addition to strong management, a key component to this fund's success has been its stock-picking. Alexander uses several themes in looking for stocks, such as the aging of America and the growing importance of computer networking. He then takes a bottom-up approach, looking for stocks with strong underlying businesses.
This approach has given the fund an above-average stake in technology issues, compared with other hybrid offerings.
That has helped performance, as those stocks have blown away the S&P; 500 in recent years. Throughout the fund's three-year history, it has yet to finish a calendar year outside the domestic-hybrid category's top quintile. This year has been no different.
Top holdings such as Microsoft and General Electric have continued to perform well. The fund's return for the year-to-date through Sept. 7, places in the category's top quintile.
On the fixed-income side, the fund's credit-quality rating of AA is in line with its peers. More importantly, though, Kaplan does favor a longer duration stance. That has hurt performance so far in 1999, as interest rates have edged higher.
Overall, though, the fund hasn't been any more volatile than its peers.
Given the strong records of this fund's managers and its excellent record thus far, this fund could make a good core holding in a portfolio.
Fund managers: Rand Alexander and Paul Kaplan
Largest investment sector: Technology
Style: The fund's median equity investment is in both value and growth stocks of companies with large market capitalizations. The fund's median fixed-income investment is in intermediate term bonds of high quality.
Total returns as of 09/24/99
Three-year annualized: 17.95%
Risk vs. domestic equity funds: Low
Morningstar rating: 4 stars
Maximum sales charge: 5.50%
Phone number: 888-843-7824