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Friday, February 27, 2009

Forester Hopes to Prove He's No One-Hit Wonder

by: Armie Margaret Lee

Thomas Forester skyrocketed from obscurity to fame when his Forester Value fund accomplished what none of the other 8,200 diversified stock funds did last year. It posted a gain -- 0.4 percent -- while the other funds had a 39 percent average loss. In a page one article in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, Diya Gullapalli profiles the 50-year-old portfolio manager and raises the question of whether he can pull off an encore in 2009.

Since word spread about Forester's achievement, the fund's assets ballooned by $20 million. Libertyville The Illinois native has also met with brokers in Philadelphia and Long Island interested in selling his fund, made his TV debut in December, fielded an interview request from a Chilean newspaper, and transferred to larger and swankier offices.

Gullapalli notes that a lot of Forester's success in 2008 stemmed not from great stock-picking but from taking large cash positions. The fund is so far down 13 percent this year.

"Everyone's afraid" of the market, says Forester, who earlier in his career helped manage a $50 million account for Sir John Templeton and also did stints at Wells Fargo and Scudder Investments. "I'm a little afraid, too." 

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