Did Oppenheimer’s Core Plus funds rise or fall in 2008?

By Felix Salmon
December 23, 2009
Mish has found something very odd indeed from Oppenheimer Funds. Its Fixed Income Core Plus strategy was marketed to the Illinois Bright Start college savings plan, with disastrous results: parents thought they were making a conservative investment for imminent college-tuition needs, bechmarked to the Barclays aggregate index, which rose more than 5% in 2008. Instead, they wound up in a crazy leveraged vehicle with total losses of 38% in 2008 and more in 2009.

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Mish has found something very odd indeed from Oppenheimer Funds. Its Fixed Income Core Plus strategy was marketed to the Illinois Bright Start college savings plan, with disastrous results: parents thought they were making a conservative investment for imminent college-tuition needs, bechmarked to the Barclays aggregate index, which rose more than 5% in 2008. Instead, they wound up in a crazy leveraged vehicle with total losses of 38% in 2008 and more in 2009.

But at Oppenheimer’s website, the information on the Core Plus fund shows positive returns for both 2008 and the year to date. It’s all very odd, and makes it seem that the college fund investments were invested in something enormously different from Oppenheimer’s own Core Plus fund. Either that, or Oppenheimer is calculating its fund returns in a very odd manner. Can anybody get to the bottom of this?

Update: Mystery solved! There are two Oppenheimers. There’s Oppenheimer Funds, which sold the disastrous investment to Illinois; its Core Bond Fund did indeed plunge in value in 2008. And then there’s Oppenheimer Investment Management, which Mish linked to, which also has a Core bond fund, but which is not part of Oppenheimer Funds at all; instead it’s an affiliate of Oppenheimer & Co, the boutique where Meredith Whitney used to work.

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