Wasatch Advisors of Salt Lake City will close the $261 million Wasatch Small Cap Value Fund to new investors on May 16 to stem cash inflows of hot money and protect investors, said Eric Bergeson, vice president of marketing at Wasatch. The group announced the fund closing in a May 10 prospectus amendment filing.

"We are trying to protect our performance and feel a strong responsibility to our shareholders," Bergeson said. "We can recognize when hot money is coming into the fund."

The Wasatch Small Cap Value Fund, with $261 million in assets as of May 11, has returned 21.27 percent year-to-date through May 11, and ranks in the top one percent of its peer group of funds for its three-year annualized return, according to Morningstar of Chicago. Its assets have increased 57 percent in just the past three weeks, according to Morningstar.

This will be the third of seven no-load Wasatch funds that has closed within the last 12 months, according to the firm. The Wasatch Micro Cap Fund closed to new investors on March 31, 2000. On March 16, 2001, the adviser closed the Wasatch Core Growth Fund.

Despite the closing, Wasatch will accept new investments from existing investors, Wasatch's Premier Services high net worth clients, 401(k) participants, new investors with $50,000 or more to invest directly, and financial planners who own shares for clients.

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