Rebranding might be the next hot mutual fund trend, Gregg Wolper of Morningstar writes. Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are in the process of determining new names for their mutual fund families, while Schwab recently rechristened its funds Laudus and Gabelli renamed eight of its funds GAMCO.
Rebranding in and of itself isn't a bad thing--if the funds are actually taking a new direction or under new management, Wolper says. The trouble is some fund companies are well-oiled marketing machines that simply rebrand funds as a way to repackage, and sell, them.
Instead, Wolper advises investors, take a close look at a fund's management and performance history.