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Artisan reopens Small Cap Fund; Stimulus plan boosts SBA loans; Milwaukee financial institutions receive $2.75 million in federal funds for distressed communities; Scottrade to open new office in Delafield

Artisan reopens Small Cap Fund

Milwaukee-based Artisan Funds Limited Partnership announced today the reopening of the Artisan Small Cap Fund (ARTSX).

The combination of a manageable asset base and market volatility provides the fund with sufficient capacity to accept new investors while maintaining the integrity of the fund’s investment process, the company said.

The fund had been closed since December 2004.

In addition, the company announced that the Artisan Small Cap Fund will be co-managed by Craig Cepukenas, Andy Stephens and Jim Hamel.

Cepukenas has been a portfolio co-manager for the Artisan Small Cap Fund since 2004 and an analyst for the fund since 1995. Stephens and Hamel are portfolio co-managers for Artisan Mid Cap Fund and Artisan Opportunistic Growth Fund.

Artisan Partners Limited Partnership is an independent, multi-product investment management firm based in Milwaukee, with principal investment offices in San Francisco, Atlanta and New York.

Artisan Funds is a family of 11 no-load mutual funds. As of September 30, 2009, Artisan Partners managed more than $44 billion for individuals, financial professionals, endowments, foundations and pension plans by focusing exclusively on high-value-added equity strategies in the U.S. and international markets. The firm offers both mutual fund and separate account management in each strategy to accommodate a broad range of client mandates.

Stimulus plan boosts SBA loans

Changes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs led to a rebound in SBA-backed loans for American small businesses and greater access to much-needed capital.

Since the Recovery Act was signed on Feb. 17, the SBA has supported more than $11.3 billion in lending to small businesses through its two largest loan programs and seen its average weekly dollar volume increase by more than 60 percent in comparison to the weeks before the Recovery Act.

Additionally, the average number of loans approved per week has increased by more than 50 percent. The dollar volume for September 2009 ($1.9 billion) was the highest single-month total since August 2007.

"These numbers, along with our conversations with lenders and small business owners around the country, show that the Recovery Act hit the mark," said SBA administrator Karen Mills. "The Recovery Act was critical to unlocking the market and as a result we’ve helped put billions of dollars of much needed capital in the hands of small business owners during this tough economic time, and brought more than 1,200 lenders back into SBA’s loan programs. With half the nation’s workforce either working for or owning a small business, these dollars played a critical role in driving economic recovery across the country."

As a result of the credit crunch, the SBA lending saw a significant decline in the fall of 2008 and early 2009. For the seven weeks prior to the Recovery Act being signed, the SBA’s average weekly dollar volume was $165 million. The average weekly average since the Recovery Act was signed, through Sept. 25, was $275 million. 

Mills cited Recovery Act provisions that reduced fees on SBA loans and raised SBA guarantees to 90 percent, as well as actions that reinvigorated the secondary markets for SBA-guaranteed loans as especially helpful in improving access to SBA-backed credit.

Overall, SBA loan approvals for the fiscal year amounted to a combined 50,829 loans (preliminary number) worth $13.1 billion under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. The comparable figures for fiscal year 2008, which ended just as the nation’s economy entered the financial crisis, were 78,317 and $17.96 billion.


Milwaukee financial institutions receive $2.75 million in federal funds for distressed communities

Three Milwaukee financial institutions will receive $2.75 million in Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) funds. The federal funds will be split among Legacy Bank, Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation and North Milwaukee Bancshares.

The CDFI Fund was created to promote economic revitalization and community development through investment to Community Development Financial Institutions. One way the CDFI Fund accomplishes this mission is through direct investment in financial institutions that provide loans, investments, financial services and technical assistance to underserved populations and communities. The awards are being made through the fiscal year 2009 round of the CDFI Program with annual appropriations from Congress.

“CDFIs provide the access to credit and investment capital that struggling neighborhoods need,” said U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis. “Too often, some of the best ideas and the smartest minds in our communities are stymied and unable to develop because the individuals with these bright minds and ideas cannot find the initial loan or start up capital they need to start a business. CDFIs are charged with working right here in our communities to support innovative minds and great ideas. They are here to bolster the entrepreneurial spirit.”

The CDFI program has awarded nearly $53 million to 62 organizations across the nation.

Scottrade to open new office in Delafield

St. Louis, Mo.-based Scottrade Inc., a branch-supported online investing firm, will open a new office in Delafield on Monday, Oct. 12.

The new office will be located at 3230 Golf Road in the Shoppes at Nagawaukee Shopping Center and will be managed by Kim Gibas.

"The new Delafield office will serve investors throughout the Lake Country area," said Gibas, who has served Scottrade customers for nearly 15 years, most recently as branch manger at the company’s Brookfield office. "Customers can learn more about investing online and all of the tools and services Scottrade offers by receiving a one-on-one or over-the-phone demonstration from an associate."

Scottrade markets itself an online investing firm with the largest branch network in the country. The company was founded by Rodger Riney.


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