January 26, 2006

Surgeons shopping for advisors for new fund

BOSTON (Reuters) - American surgeons, skillful at curing
the body but often stumped by business, will soon get a mutual
fund of their own that its organizers say is aimed at helping
the physicians make better financial decisions.

The American College of Surgeons is currently interviewing
money managers who will begin investing the surgeons' money in
nine separate categories as soon as this fall, Gay Vincent, the
scientific and educational group's comptroller told Reuters.

"Surgeons are often not equipped to run their offices let
alone their investments," Vincent said, explaining the group's
70,000 members urged the group to offer a mutual fund as one of
its membership benefits.

The new pool will join roughly 8,500 already established
mutual funds all eager to pull in more money at a time
investment returns have been modest and many mutual funds with
less than $50 million in assets have been forced to shut down.

Vincent said the fund will be managed like any other,
without any special focus on drug company stocks or medical
equipment manufacturers. Until assets top $100 million, the
money will be invested mostly in exchange traded funds, baskets
of stocks that track indexes of equities, bonds and other
assets and trade like a single stock, she said.

While the success of this fund is far from assured, Vincent
said the group decided to pursue its plans because many members
wanted a fund and some pledged to invest $1 million in it.

The average investments, however, will likely be more
modest, Vincent said, noting the group expects between 2
percent and 10 percent of its members to invest in the fund,
putting an average of $45,000 into the pool. The fund will be
available only to the group's 70,000 members and their families
and it will cost no more than investing with any other mutual

Although surgeons' salaries can sometimes reach seven
figures, Vincent noted these types of doctors usually begin
their careers later in life after extensive training and with
roughly $100,000 in debt from medical school tuition. And she
said many surgeons are retiring earlier from their physically
grueling career when they are in their 60s.

"Surgeons have a short span to make a lot of money and we
have found that there seems to be a large need to provide
investment education," Vincent said, explaining the group also
plans to provide pointers on investing to its members.

Many surgeons already hire financial advisors to help them
manage their wealth and mutual fund industry experts said there
are few funds available only to one professional specialty.