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Onetime Merrill Lynch Star Manager Resigns

November 07, 2001|Reuters

Merrill Lynch & Co.'s onetime star fund manager, James D. McCall, who racked up big losses at a pair of growth funds launched just before technology stocks cratered last year, is leaving the firm.

McCall's departure comes two years after Merrill (MER) hired him away from another fund company in a public battle.

McCall's funds have been some of the worst performers in their categories. The Merrill Lynch Focus Twenty fund is down 71.9% year to date, putting it at the bottom of its large-cap growth peers, according to fund tracker Morningstar Inc. Merrill Lynch Premier Growth, a mid-cap fund, is down 55% so far this year.

The funds' assets have crumbled. The Focus Twenty fund has about $329 million in assets, down more than 80% from a peak of $1.77 billion in September 2000, while Premier Growth's assets stand at $66 million, down 75% from peak assets of $265 million, according to Merrill Lynch figures.

Merrill Lynch spokesman Erik Hendrickson confirmed McCall's departure, but did not elaborate. McCall couldn't be reached for comment.

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