Phil Goldstein - the closed-end fund investor, fund director and leader of proxy fights - is running for the board of directors for the Italy Fund. Goldstein, president of Opportunity Partners LP of Pleasantville, N.Y., plans to spend $30,000 in a campaign to persuade shareholders to elect him and fellow Italy Fund investor Glenn Goodstein of Encino, Calif., to the board. Goldstein also is asking shareholders to vote in favor of opening the Italy Fund, according to the proxy statement. Such a move will eliminate what Goldstein described as chronic discounts to the fund's net asset value.
SSB Citi Fund Management LLC of New York is investment adviser to the fund. The Italy Fund has approximately $150 million in assets under management, according to Morningstar of Chicago, the fund tracking and rating firm. The Italy Fund had a discount to net asset value of 16.24 percent as of March 10, according to Morningstar. The fund has a four-star rating from Morningstar.
Opening the Italy Fund would not be good for long-term fund investors, the Italy Fund directors said in a preliminary proxy statement filed with the SEC March 13. Opening the fund will make it more difficult to invest in Italian securities and will increase the expense ratio of the fund, the directors said.
Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposals on May 10. (See related story p.14)