Joe Frohna continues as lead manager, Brian Bies joins fund as co-manager
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The First American Small Cap
Growth Opportunities Fund (formerly the First American Micro Cap Fund - FRMPX)
debuted its new name January 31 after reopening to new investors Dec. 16,
2002. The fund, which has been closed since July 31, 2001, had assets of more
than $297 million (all share classes) as of Dec. 31, 2002. With a 15.13
percent return for the trailing five years ended Dec. 31, 2002, the fund's
Y-class shares ranked third against a total of 220 funds categorized as small-
cap growth funds by Lipper. This put the Y-class shares in the second
percentile versus funds in Lipper's small-cap growth category.
"The recent and past success of the Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund
can be attributed to sound bottom-up fundamental and valuation analysis in
conjunction with the identification of top-down themes within the overall
economy and market," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at U.S. Bancorp
Asset Management. "The reopening of the fund provides investors with a
competitive investment opportunity."
Joe Frohna, CPA, CFA, has managed the First American Small Cap Growth
Opportunities Fund since September 1997. In 2001, Barron's named him the No. 2
portfolio manager in the United States and the No. 6 portfolio manager in
2002. This month, Brian Bies, CFA, joined Frohna as a co-manager of the fund.
Bies has been an analyst for the fund since 2001.
Fund Maintains Investment Approach
On Dec. 16, 2002, the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund
broadened its eligible investment universe to include companies with market
capitalizations in the range of companies in the Russell 2000 Index
(approximately $8 million to $1.8 billion). Previously, the fund was generally
limited to investing in companies with market capitalizations under
"Despite the increase in market cap opportunities, the fund's investment
approach will not change, and it will continue to have a market capitalization
generally lower than the average small-cap growth fund," said Portfolio
Manager Joe Frohna. "This will make it possible to offer investors a
competitive diversification vehicle for the small-cap portion of their
Performance of the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund as
of Dec. 31, 2002:
Small Cap Growth Funds Since
Fund/Benchmark 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year Inception
Small Cap Growth
Fund* (Y) -25.59 -4.35 15.13 21.86
Russell 2000 Growth -30.26 -21.11 -6.59 -0.87
Lipper Average -29.68 -16.90 -2.15 2.72
Lipper % Ranking
Growth Funds 29th 7th 2nd 2nd
Number of Funds 445 330 220 106
*Prior to 1/22/03, the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund
was known as the First American Micro Cap Fund.
Past performance does not guarantee future results. The principal value of
an investment and investment return will fluctuate so that an investor's
shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
The 1999 returns of the First American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund
were higher due in substantial part to its strategy of investing in IPOs in a
period favorable for IPO investing. Of course, such favorable returns involve
accepting the risk of volatility, and there is no assurance that the fund's
future investment in IPOs will have the same effect on performance as it did
in 1999. Stocks of micro-capitalization companies involve substantial risk.
These stocks historically have experienced greater price volatility than
stocks of larger companies, and they may be expected to do so in the future.
Lipper Analytical Services, Inc. is an independent mutual fund research
and rating service. Each Lipper Average represents a universe of funds with
similar investment objectives. Rankings for the periods shown are based on
fund total returns with dividends and distributions reinvested and do not
reflect sales charges.
Russell 2000 Growth Index is an unmanaged index that measures the
performance of those companies in the Russell 2000 Index with higher price-to-
book ratios and higher forecasted growth values.
About U.S. Bancorp Asset Management
With more than $113 billion* in assets under management, U.S. Bancorp
Asset Management is the 42nd largest asset manager in the world and one of the
nation's leading money managers to institutions and individuals. The firm
provides portfolio management to corporations, public entities, nonprofit and
other institutions, as well as advising the First American family of mutual
funds and providing customized portfolio management for private clients.
About First American Funds
The First American Funds family of mutual funds is the fifth-largest bank-
affiliated mutual fund family in the United States.
* Total assets listed as of Dec. 31, 2002
For a prospectus containing more complete information on First American
Funds, including investment policies, fees and expenses, please contact your
investment professional, call First American Funds investor services at 1-800-
677-FUND, or visit us on the web at www.firstamericanfunds.com . Please read
the prospectus carefully before you invest or send money.
Based in Minneapolis, U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc., is a subsidiary
of U.S. Bank National Association. It provides investment management services
to individuals and institutions - including corporations, foundations, pension
funds, public funds and retirement plans - which had combined assets under
management of more than $113 billion as of Dec. 31, 2002. The firm has offices
in 22 states.
U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bank National
Association ("U.S. Bank"), serves as the investment advisor to the First
American Funds. U.S. Bank is a separate entity and wholly owned subsidiary of
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), the eighth-largest financial services holding
company in the United States and a leading provider of comprehensive banking,
trust, investment and payment systems products and services. U.S. Bancorp is
the parent company of U.S. Bank.
First American Funds are distributed by Quasar Distributors, LLC, an
affiliate of the investment advisor.
SOURCE U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc.