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w n t wm wv w www m i1' 8D THE PALM BEACH POST THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1997 TH U R S D A Y Mutual fund gifts just a phone call away Y YOHRilflQNI Charles A. Jaffe Your Funds Short Course Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC) SIPC is the nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1970 to insure the securities and cash held by brokerage firms against the failure of those firms. All brokers and fund) or USAA First Start Growth Fund (1-800-382-8722; $250 minimum or $20 monthly payment to open custodial accounts). These funds have two plusses. The better- ; ' established SteinRoe fund has superior education material for both parents and kids. The USAA fund, which opened last summer, is still developing its materials but has some interesting interac-" tion planned with fund manager Curt Rohrman. - A hybrid of all of these offerings is the IDSA-merican Express "Kids, Parents and Money" pro--gram, where investments in the IDS New Dimensions Fund a fund that has been a solid performer for nearly 30 years are combined with a special newsletter aimed at helping parents teach children about money. Participants get the ' New Dimensions fund at a reduced minimum of ' $500 or $50 per month. Call 1-800-986-9598 for ' details. If all of these minimums seem too steep for your holiday budget, there are plenty of books on , fund investing to consider. My personal favorites are A Commonsense . . Guide to Mutual Funds by Mary Rowland and The Mutual Fund Investors Kit from the Mutual Fund. . Education Alliance. Rowland's book, as well as her new A Com-; . monsense Guide to Your 401(k), costs $19.95 and is available in bookstores or by calling 1-800-233- -, 4830. The investors kit is available only by mail. Send $19.50 to The Mutual Fund Education Alliance, P.O. Box 419263, Dept. 0148, Kansas City, . Mo. 64193-0148. : B Charles A Jaffe is mutual funds columnist at ' The Boston Globe. He can be reached by e-mail at jaffeglobe.com or at The Boston Globe, Box 2378, Boston, Mass. 02107-2378. ' , One of the best things about shopping for mutual funds is that you never have trouble finding a parking space. That's particularly helpful to know at this time of year, when holiday shoppers are mobbing the mall. By contrast, the gift of mutual funds is just a phone call away. A growing number of fund companies offers some type of gift program. They aren't all created equal and may not be any better than a fund gift idea you come up with on your own. "Gift of shares" programs are little more than a card and a prospectus. Offered in various forms by Alliance, Founders, FranklinTempleton and other fund families, this is your pledge to invest for the recipient, who gets to pick the fund of his or her choice from within the fund family. In some cases, gift accounts can be opened with lower minimum initial investments. Ask your favorite fund company if it has this type of program and how it works, but keep in mind that you can't actually open an account for another adult. The recipient needs to sign the authorizing paperwork. (You can complete a transaction for children for whom you act as custodian because the account application needs only your signature.) Since all you can give is a card and your good intentions, this is one area where a do-it-yourself effort is at least as good as what the fund companies offer. . Simply select both your favorite card and fund. Enclose a prospectus, an application completed except for the signature and a check made out to the fund company. When the gift is given, you can take the time to explain how you chose the fund, hopefully imparting some of your wisdom to the recipient. If your gift is for children, there are two other ways to give, both involving specialized funds. Gift trust funds are designed specifically for dealers registered with the national stock exchanges or the Securities and Exchange Commission are required to be members of SIPC. the purpose of transferring money as a gift, then allowing the recipient's money to grow over time. The problem with these accounts is that they generally don't allow for withdrawal for 10 years or more, and they aren't designed as education tools. As a result, the child gets the money years after it's given and without understanding how the fund works and makes money grow. One plus of these funds is the long time horizon that allows them to invest extremely aggressively. This should make your gift much more substantial by the time it can be withdrawn. The granddaddy of these funds is American Century's 20th Century Giftrust Fund (1-800-345-2021), which has a $500 minimum investment on custodial accounts. The Royce Giftshares Fund (1-800-221-4268) has a $2,500 minimum initial investment and, like Giftrust, requires the money to stay in for 10 years or until the recipient reaches the age of majority, whichever is longer. The Royce fund does have some options that let the money be used to pay college tuition, and it offers some choices on how the money is treated for tax purposes, which makes the fund worth a look. If you prefer funds that invest in companies children know and understand and that offer education materials to boot, consider SteinRoe Young Investor Fund (1-800-403-KIDS; custodial accounts opened for a $100 investment or automatic $50 a month electronic bank payment into the 5irL does not protect investors against market risk, but rather against the insolvency of the brokerage house. In this way, it acts very much like the more widely known Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures banks. If a brokerage firm fails, SIPC will take over the firm and try to sell it to another member firm; if that fails, SIPC will liquidate assets and pay customers up to $500,000 each, with a limit of $100,000 reimbursement for cash holdings. OThe Boston Globe Analyst says proposed buyout needs 'significantly more value' Able Telcom Six-month performance r:: 1 P V ;,1.,- ' 'I ' In i' niiii i rllnfiiii -? i f lilt fil inlii ii. If ti-itiVTijr iaiiilrfj i..'.. 'ii.M Kii Miifi -(.ij.a,.! iiiiim.t ABLETELCOM . From ID and could not be reached Wednesday. Citing sensitivity of its bid, the company's publicity firm declined comment beyond its press release. The statement said Applied Cellular expects revenues of more than $300 million from the combined companies next year. This year, Applied Cellular had revenues of $72 million in the nine-month period that ended Sept. 30. Able Telcom had revenues of $61 million in the nine-month period that ended July 31. Applied Cellular has made 18 acquisitions recently, 12 of them in the past year. The software development company said that it expects to retain existing senior management at Able Telcom. The company's $100 million offer to acquire Able Telcom would involve a stock transaction, with Able Telcom shareholders receiving Applied Cellular stock. Vik Grover, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach who recom- 123 62 81 926 1997 SOURCE: Bloomberg News ' STAFF GRAPHIC mends Able Telcom stock to investors, said the offer was a better deal for Applied Cellular. "We do not think ABTE is currently for sale and do not expect management to put the company in play until significantly more value has been created for its shareholders," Grover wrote in a two-page analysis. 'mmA, if f t : WW - o ' 864- - , nr.m'"" - -- -- niTilnfiT iTi,iiri'rrii-inir"fnriin'iflii-ir-""T'-Tr"T -y i inini n i i r r'r " "rr "ir nuiifl Mercury, the Roman god known for swiftness, is pictured on 1955 French 1000-franc note. IT' Annual Percentage Yield effective as of 12497 and is subject to change without notice. Minimum deposit M0,(X)0. Penalty may be imposed for early withdrawal. When you open a new TT A A ITT TTYrVT EARN 5.50 jglrvmil-l VJ1X BANK, N.A. ItTlfrn FDIC . WEST PALM BEACH 2090 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. (561) 683-8787 One Company, One Source! 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