Frank Russell Co. has hired Delaware Investments to sub-advise three of the fixed-income funds within the firm’s multi-manager fund complex, the firm announced today.

The flexibility of Delaware’s core fixed-income team will be advantageous to the Frank Russell funds, particularly with the current given level of rating agency downgrades and defaults in the corporate market, said Jeff Hussey, a portfolio manager at Frank Russell.

Delaware will sub-advise a portion of the $5.14 billion Frank Russell Trust Company Fixed Income I fund, an institutional product, with existing sub-advisors TimesSquare Capital Management, Morgan Stanley Asset Management and PIMCO. Delaware will also manage portions of the $389 million Frank Russell Investment Company (FRIC) Fixed Income III fund and $636 million FRIC Multi Strategy Bond fund, two retail products. Those funds are managed by the same sub-advisors as well as Lincoln Capital Management.

Although the company would not disclose what percentage of each fund Delaware would manage, the firm will be handling a total of $700 million in assets from the three funds, a Frank Russell spokesman said.

Delaware currently manages portions of three Frank Russell’s equity funds, however these are the first fixed-income products Delaware will manage for the firm.

Some110 investment managers sub-advise the 144 Frank Russell funds in its multi-manager complex. The firm evaluates more than 1,500 external firms each year, the company said.

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