Artisan Partners has hired a new investment team to run an emerging markets mutual fund that will be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the coming weeks. The team will also manage some separate account business, officials at the Milwaukee-based shop said.

The team of analysts, which is multi-lingual and will be headed by portfolio manager Maria Negrete-Gruson, comes to Artisan from DuPont Capital, the retirement plan manager for Wilmington, Del.-based chemical giant DuPont. They will based in New York and travel extensively around the world to research companies in emerging markets, Artisan officials told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"We've determined that these markets will be incredibly important to the global market going forward," said Andrew Ziegler, president and co-founder of the privately held Artisan.

Officials added, however, that the new investment team is not a response to a hot sector, which experts say is cooling. Negrete-Gruson said the firm is confident that emerging markets will mature from commodity-based economies to those that focus more closely on financial services. The fund will invest in about 100 stocks across 15 to 20 countries. It will seek companies with sustainable growth at a reasonable price.

Artisan currently has $50 billion under management and more than half is dedicated to non-U.S. securities. The new fund will be the ninth fund at Artisan.

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