Legg Mason filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday to streamline its mutual fund complex by merging U.S. funds and liquidating others, resulting in 119 funds as opposed to the current 166. Most of the former Smith Barney and Salomon Brothers funds will be re-branded Legg Mason Partners Funds.
In addition, the company intends to reduce the number of boards overseeing the funds from 10 to three, one monitoring equity funds, another fixed income and the third, closed-end funds. Along with this, the company will institute a uniform set of investment policies and implement a single investment manager, Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor.
"This is another important step in the process of integrating the asset management business that Legg Mason acquired from Citigroup on Dec. 1, 2005," said Mark R. Fetting, senior executive vice president at Legg Mason. "We have taken a comprehensive review across all our retail product offerings to reduce product overlap and attempt to create fund families with the objective of a 'best-in-class' approach."
The mergers and liquidations should result in stronger long-term performance, Fetting added.