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Access Capital Strategies Opens Its Community Investment Fund to All Investors

Submitted by: Access Capital Strategies

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Community Development

Posted: May 15, 2007 – 02:40 PM EST

 

Company Also Selects Voyageur Asset Management as New Sub-Advisor to $500 Million Fund

May 15 /CSRwire/ - BOSTON - May 14, 2007 – Access Capital Strategies LLC (Access Capital), a pioneer in the development of a high credit quality nationwide community investment vehicle, announced it has received regulatory approval to open the $500 million Access Capital Strategies Community Investment Fund (the Fund) [XACSX] to all investors.

The Company also announced that Voyageur Asset Management, a Minneapolis-based firm specializing in fixed income and equity portfolio management, has been named as the new sub-advisor to the Fund.

The Fund, previously operated as a private placement investment principally for banks and other investors, has changed its status to a continuously offered, closed-end interval fund under the Investment Company Act of 1940.

Beginning immediately, institutional and retail investors can simply contact the Fund's transfer agent directly or through a registered broker to make an investment. The new minimum initial investment is $25,000, with sales fees waived on investments of $1 million and above.

The Fund, which commenced in June 1998, provides a unique double bottom line return by investing in targeted debt securities that support economic development activities in communities chosen by its investors.

The targeted mortgage backed securities structured for purchase by the Fund are usually guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. Unlike securities created from the pooling of sub-prime mortgage loans, these guaranteed mortgage backed securities are derived from prime or FHA insured mortgage lending activities that increase the availability of these lower cost mortgages to a wider range of low- and moderate-income borrowers.

Since its inception, the Fund has purchased securities made from loans that have provided financing for more than 8,000 low- and moderate-income homebuyers, project loans for 4,400 affordable rental housing units, loans to 145 small businesses, and more than 10 other economic development projects. The Fund has a portfolio of community investments in 45 states and territories.

The mission of the Fund is to invest in debt securities that support community development serving low- and moderate-income individuals and communities across the U.S. These activities include investments in home ownership, affordable housing, education, community health centers and small businesses. Current investors include banks, corporations, insurers, foundations and public pension funds.

Ronald A. Homer, Access Capital's chief executive officer, said, "The new openness of the Fund means that individuals, along with more commercial banks, pension funds, corporations, charitable endowments, trust funds, and insurance companies, can merge their financial and social investing goals into the same package. Recent concerns regarding the sub-prime mortgage market heighten the need for initiatives that will expand the reach of the prime mortgage market in low- and moderate-income communities."

Timothy P. Cahill, Massachusetts state Treasurer and chairman of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) board, has consistently recognized Access Capital for its strong track record and commitment to underserved individuals and businesses.

PRIM is a pooled investment fund established in 1984 to invest the assets of the Massachusetts State Teachers’ and Employees' Retirement Systems and the assets of certain county, authority, district and municipal retirement systems. In 2004, PRIM made an initial investment of $25 million in the Fund. The following year, the pension fund invested an additional $50 million.

Treasurer Cahill said, "Our experience with Access Capital shows that solid investment returns can work hand-in-hand with social responsibility. What I like about this fund is its ability to target investments by income and region. The beneficiaries of this investment strategy are the people of Massachusetts who need it the most."

The experience of one client may not be representative of the experiences of other clients. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment return and principal will fluctuate, so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance information quoted. To obtain performance information current to the most recent month end, please call 1-800-973-0073.

Major Fund Investors

As of December 31, 2006, the Fund had 132 investor accounts. The largest investors include the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Fund, Merrill Lynch Community Development Bank, Washington Mutual, Bank of America, and Sovereign Bank. Access Capital and Voyageur also entered into an agreement on February 1, 2007, to manage a separate account that contains a $100 million investment from a large municipal public pension fund.

Investments can be managed to enable a bank to earn qualified community development credits under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which is part of legislation passed by Congress in 1977 to encourage the provision of financial services to low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.

According to Access Capital, investments in low- and moderate-income mortgages have the potential to outperform higher balance mortgages because these investments pay at more predictable rates, have less price compression and are less apt to be refinanced. Government guaranteed project loans also carry higher yields to Treasuries with comparable risk and duration.

Financial Strength of New Sub-Advisor

Voyageur, which has $30 billion in assets under management, brings a strong reputation as a mid-sized institutional asset manager that provides fixed income advisory services to public funds and other institutional clients. Founded in 1983, Voyageur is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBC Dain Rauscher Corp., which is owned by Royal Bank of Canada.

John Huber, Voyageur's chief investment officer for fixed income investments, said, "Our ability to offer an economically targeted investment product reinforces Voyageur’s commitment to the public fund and specialty fixed income markets. What Access Capital has accomplished is extremely meaningful toward a more responsive and balanced financial system for all Americans."

According to The Social Investment Forum, a national non-profit organization providing research and education on socially responsible investing, between 1995 and 2005 the assets of U.S. community investing institutions grew from roughly $4 billion to almost $19.6 billion. The industry’s growth has been even more dramatic lately, with total domestic assets jumping nearly 40% in just the past two years.

About Access Capital Strategies LLC

Access Capital Strategies LLC is a registered investment advisor and the manager of the Access Capital Strategies Community Investment Fund, Inc. Its leaders are pioneers in community development investing and currently have over $600M in assets under management. The Company’s strategy is to support a wide range of community development activities through the purchase of securities backed by home mortgages, affordable rental housing projects, commercial real estate loans, small business loans, and other economic development project loans. For more information, visit www.accesscapitalfunds.com or call 617-236-7274.

You should consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. For a prospectus, which contains this and other information about the Access Capital Strategies Community Investment Fund, call 1-800-973-0073 or go online at www.communityinvestmentfund.com. Please read it carefully before investing.

The average annual returns for the Access Capital Strategies Community Investment Fund were 7.36%, 5.19% and 5.85% for the one-year, five-year and since inception periods, respectively, as of March 31, 2007. The Fund was incepted on June 25, 1998.

Investment in the Fund involves risks including, but not limited to: limited transferability of shares; the illiquidity of the Fund's portfolio investment; the effects of leveraging the Fund’s portfolio; concentration in the affordable housing market and related mortgage backed securities; competition for investments; interest rate risk; and use of derivatives.

UMB Distribution Services, LLC, Distributor.

For more information, please contact:

Ron Homer Access Capital Strategies
Phone: 617-236-7274, ext. 224
Joe Grillo Nicolazzo & Associates
Phone: 617-951-0000

 

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