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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MetWest Hits a Milestone

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Metropolitan West Asset Management, the fixed-income asset manager in the process of being acquired by TCW Group, on Tuesday revealed that assets in its seven mutual funds have surpassed the $10 billion mark. AUM grew by more than $1 billion since the third quarter.

Chris Scibelli
Managing Director of Marketing
In an interview with The MFWire, Chris Scibelli, founding partner and managing director of marketing, attributed the milestone to performance and continued market appetite for fixed-income offerings.

"The performance of the funds continued to attract FAs, RIAs, other financial professionals, and institutional investors," said Scibelli, who runs MetWest's 10-person marketing team. The group includes includes three external wholesalers and one internal wholesaler.

The largest fund in the MetWest family is Total Return Fund, which bagged the Morningstar Fixed Income Fund of the Year in January 2006 and currently has $7.6 billion of assets. It is followed by Low Duration, with $1.3 billion and and High Yield, currently a finalist for Fixed Income Fund of the Year, which has $550 million.

"This [$10 billion] threshold is a nice, round number. We are grateful and we want to put out a notification on that," Scibelli said.

MetWest's announcement on Tuesday came a few hours on the heels of a press release issued by its soon-to-be owner, TCW, announcing the appointment of Chuck Baldiswieler as the new president and CEO of TCW's mutual fund business, replacing Ron Redell, who left to join ousted TCW CIO Jeff Gundlach's new firm.

TCW on December 4 announced that it was purchasing MetWest and firing Gundlach. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter.

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Metropolitan West Asset Management LLC (MetWest), an investment firm focused exclusively on fixed income portfolio management, today announced that the Metropolitan West Funds complex has crossed the $10 billion mark in assets under management.

Launched with two funds in March 1997, the Metropolitan West Funds complex has grown to seven funds. The Total Return Fund was named Morningstar Fixed Income Fund of the Year in January 2006 and has been nominated as a finalist candidate four other times. The High Yield Fund is a current finalist nominee for Morningstar’s Fixed Income Fund of the Year.

“The timing of this milestone is perhaps as significant as the milestone itself,” said David Lippman, chief executive officer of MetWest. “Our assets under management have grown by more than $1 billion since third quarter this year, and inflows have remained quite strong over the past few weeks, outpacing the same periods of the past several years. Not only are our clients retaining us as we transition to TCW, they are adding to their positions and new clients are coming on board. What this milestone represents, ultimately, is a vote of confidence that MetWest will continue to provide the level of value-driven, bottom-up fixed income expertise that investors have come to expect, now with even greater support resources.”

The three largest funds in the complex in terms of assets under management are Total Return, with $7.6 billion; Low Duration, with $1.3 billion; and High Yield, with $550 million.

About Metropolitan West Asset Management

Founded in 1996, Metropolitan West Asset Management is a Los Angeles-based investment management firm focused exclusively on fixed income portfolio management. MetWest concentrates on managing fixed income assets through traditional and non-traditional investing strategies for institutions, financial advisors and individuals. The firm has nearly $30 billion in assets under management, offers seven mutual fund products and manages separate accounts for institutional investors. In December 2009, Metropolitan West announced that it had agreed to be acquired by TCW, an international asset-management firm with over $110 billion in assets under management. Please visit www.mwamllc.co for additional company information.

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