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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Joel Greenblatt Brings His Magic to Mutual Funds

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

Joel Greenblatt
Gotham Asset Management
The hedge fund manager who wrote the bestseller The Little Book that Beats the Market has thrown his hat into the mutual fund ring.

Joel Greenblatt and his team at Gotham Asset Management has launched two mutual funds and are gearing up to roll out two more at the beginning of next year.

His 2006 book, which describes a "magic formula" for value investing, has sold more than 300,000 copies.

The book's success spurred demand for Greenblatt's money management expertise. Greenblatt and Gotham CEO Blake Darcy launched a Web site in May last year, www.formulainvesting.com, offering separately managed accounts. "That still left a lot of people saying, 'We'd really rather have a mutual fund,'" Darcy said in an interview in Gotham's midtown Manhattan headquarters on Tuesday.

Gotham then decided to come out with mutual funds under the Formula Investing brand.

The firm this year filed for nine funds and formally launched its first two mutual funds -- Formula Investing U.S. Value 1000 and Formula Investing U.S. Value Select -- last week. It plans to launch the Formula Investing International Value 400 and Formula Investing International Value Select on January 3.

"I would expect that by early January, we would be on most of the major platforms," Darcy said.

Gotham currently does not plan to do an advertising campaign for its mutual funds.

"The good news is we already have a lot of people's attention," Darcy said. "We have someone really smart and already has a great reputation in the marketplace. We get to have a faster start as a result of that."

"We'll continue to target people who are followers of Joel," he said.

Heading up Gotham's advisor sales and distribution is Tom Gatto, an alum of BlackRock and Pimco/Nicholas Applegate, who joined the company in February.

Gotham's story "is a very easy story to tell advisors," Gatto said. "It's helpful that you have a story that's easy to tell."  

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