Category Archives: Stars in the shadows

Small funds of exceptional merit

Ariel Global (AGLOX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Ariel Global Fund’s fundamental objective is long-term capital appreciation. The manager pursues an all-cap global portfolio. The fund is, in general, currency hedged so that the returns you see are driven by stock selection rather than currency fluctuation. The manager pursues a “bottom up” discipline which starts by weeding out as much trash as humanly possible before proceeding to a meticulous investment in both the fundamentals of the remaining businesses and their intrinsic value. The fund is diversified and will Continue reading →

Castle Focus (MOATX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Castle Focus Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation. They have a bottom-up, absolute value focus, which means a ready willingness to hold substantial amounts of cash when they’re not able to find good companies selling at substantial discounts. The portfolio is typically comprised of 15 to 30 positions. Currently about 30% of the portfolio is in cash and about 30% is invested in non-US companies.

Adviser

Castle Investment Management, which is Continue reading →

Crawford Dividend Opportunity (CDOFX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Dividend Opportunity pursues attractive long-term total return with below market risk. They pursue that goal by investing in a portfolio of small cap US companies that demonstrate a consistent pattern of earnings and dividend growth. Their discipline is bottom-up, value-oriented and focused on company fundamentals. There are currently Continue reading →

Invenomic Fund (BIVRX/BIVIX/BIVSX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Invenomic Fund is seeking long term capital appreciation. They pursue that through a widely diversified long-short portfolio comprised, primarily, of domestic stocks. The long and short portfolios each held about 130 positions, as of August 2019. The long portfolio is generally fully invested in undervalued, timely stocks while the size of the short portfolio varies based on the opportunities available. The long portfolio is all-cap and might include equity securities other than just common stocks. The fund’s short portfolio is broadly diversified and targets stocks which Continue reading →

Matthews Asia Value (MAVRX / MAVAX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Matthews Asia Value pursues long-term capital growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of securities of undervalued companies from the Asian region. The target is firms that are high quality, undervalued with strong balance sheets, focused on their shareholders, and well-positioned to take advantage of Asia’s economic and financial evolution. The goal is to buy shares at a discount of 30% or more to their calculation of intrinsic value.

It is an all-cap portfolio, which translates to Continue reading →

River Canyon Total Return Bond Fund Institutional Class (RCTIX)

By Dennis Baran

Objective and strategy

The fund seeks to maximize total return by investing across the structured credit sectors – RMBS, ABS, CMBS, CLO, and other non-traditional fixed income sectors. The fund must invest at least 60% of its assets in securities rated as investment grade. The balance of the fund will typically be invested in bonds rated below investment grade.

The management team seeks relative value across the breadth of structured credit sectors including Agency/Non-Agency RMBS, ABS, CLOs, Mortgage Derivatives, and Continue reading →

Brown Advisory Sustainable Growth Fund (BAFWX/BIAWX/BAWAX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The managers seek long-term capital appreciation by investing in a concentrated portfolio of 30-40 mid and large capitalization companies that use sustainable business strategies (SBA) to drive future earnings growth.

They focus on finding companies whose sustainability strategies are generating tangible business results such as revenue growth, cost improvement, or enhanced franchise value. Such companies may enjoy competitive advantages from environmentally efficient design or manufacturing or offer Continue reading →

Marshfield Concentrated Opportunity (MRFOX)

By Dennis Baran

Objective and strategy

MRFOX seeks capital preservation and long-term growth of principal while targeting a pattern of performance that’s at variance with the market, different from it in as many ways as possible, and adds value on a risk-adjusted basis. The managers’ goal of avoiding the “closet index” trap while laying the groundwork for superior performance means

  • owning a thoughtful concentration of approximately 20 stocks
  • holding cash between of 0-25 percent while awaiting well-priced opportunities
  • steering clear of generic “consensus” stocks and
  • being freed from sector and market capitalization constraints

Continue reading →

Provident Trust Strategy Fund (PROVX)

By Dennis Baran

Objective and strategy

PROVX seeks long-term growth of capital. As a concentrated, non-diversified, bottom-up, multi-cap core growth equity fund, it aims to exceed the S&P 500 Index over full investment cycles, which are typically five to seven calendar years in length and contain both a 30% advance and a 20% decline.

The managers generally prefer to invest in large and medium capitalization stocks (namely, companies with at least $2 billion in market cap) but may also invest a portion in small capitalization companies.

Provident has the Continue reading →

Conestoga SMID Cap Fund (CCSMX & CCSGX)

By Dennis Baran

Objective and strategy

The managers seek long-term growth of capital favorable to its benchmarks with lower risk – specifically companies with 12-15% earnings growth potential for at least three years. They typically hold 40-60 SMid stocks whose valuations are attractive relative to their growth prospects. SMid caps have market capitalizations between $250 million and $12 billion, and are generally within the range of those in the Russell 2500 Growth Index.
Continue reading →

Zeo Short Duration Income (ZEOIX), July 2018

By Charles Boccadoro

“Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond.”

Kahlil Gibran

Objective and Strategy

The Zeo Short Duration Income Fund (ZEOIX), previously known as the Zeo Strategic Income Fund, is a non-diversified, actively managed, total return, fixed-income fund that seeks …

  • “ … to deliver low volatility, risk-managed solutions for the prudent investor.”
  • “ … low volatility and absolute returns consisting of income and moderate capital appreciation.”
  • “ … long-term capital preservation, income and moderate capital appreciation across market environments.”
  • “ … low volatility, absolute returns in a long-only fixed income portfolio.”
  • “ … to deliver a consistent, low-volatility risk profile suitable for both short and long time horizons.”
  • “ … to deliver low volatility.”

Clearly, ZEOIX’s focus is Continue reading →

LS Opportunity Fund (LSOFX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

LS Opportunity Fund pursues three goals: preserving capital, delivering above-market returns and managing volatility. “The secret,” says manager John Gillespie, “is to avoid large losses.” They invest, both long and short, in individual stocks; they do not short “the market,” they don’t use esoteric options and they don’t typically use ETFs. They normally will have 20-40 short positions and 50-70 long ones. The long portfolio is both all-cap and value-oriented, both of which are fairly rare. The short portfolio targets Continue reading →

Prospector Opportunity (POPFX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The Opportunity Fund seeks capital appreciation. They apply a value-oriented discipline to micro-, small- and mid-cap stocks in the US and other developed markets. In general, the managers look for companies with long, consistent, predictable track records of free cash flow yield generation and healthy organic growth. They identify undervalued securities by starting with balance sheet strength but they also consider qualitative factors (e.g., quality of the management) and the presence of a Continue reading →

Guinness Atkinson Global Innovators (IWIRX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The fund seeks long term capital growth through investing in what they deem to be 30 highly innovative, reasonably valued, companies from around the globe. They take an eclectic approach to identifying global innovators. They read widely (for example Fast Company and MIT’s Technology Review, as well as reports from the Boston Consulting Group and Thomson Reuters) and maintain ongoing conversations with folks in a variety of industries. That leads them to identify a manageable set of themes (from artificial intelligence to clean energy) which seem to be driving global innovation. They then identify companies substantially exposed to those themes (about 1000), then weed out the financially challenged (taking the list down to 500). Having identified a potential addition to the portfolio, they also Continue reading →

FAM Value (FAMVX/FAMWX), March 2018

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The managers seek to maximize long-term return on capital. They can invest in firms of any size, but mostly invest in mid- to large-cap US firms and invest through both common stocks and convertibles. They pursue a patient value approach to investing which favors companies which meet at least one of these three criteria Continue reading →

Fuller & Thaler Behavioral Small-Cap Equity (FTHNX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

FTHNX pursues long-term capital appreciation. The managers invest in a diversified US small cap equity portfolio. The managers seek out stocks where other investors are likely to make behavioral mistakes. If they conclude that an investor mistake is likely and the company has solid fundamentals, the portfolio managers generally buy the stock. They sell when the misbehavior has run its course, which tends to lead to a high turnover portfolio. That said, they do not automatically buy or sell based on a single security’s characteristics; they impose a risk management overlay that helps control exposures to sectors, size, and other characteristics. The fund currently holds Continue reading →

Evermore Global Value (EVGBX/EVGIX), August 2017

By David Snowball

Objective and Strategy

Evermore Global Value Fund seeks capital appreciation by investing in a global portfolio of 30-40 securities. The Fund’s special situations strategy is to identify companies trading at substantial discounts to their estimates of intrinsic value, and where catalysts exist to close these gaps.  Although they are opportunistic investors and can buy securities of any market capitalization, their sweet spot has been in micro to mid-cap opportunities.  They also have the ability to invest beyond the equity market in “less liquid” investments, such as distressed debt, can hold short positions in merger/arbitrage situations or to hedge market risk, and are willing to hold a up to 15% in cash.

Adviser

Evermore Global Advisors, LLC. Evermore was founded Continue reading →