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Monday, February 13, 2012

Third Ave.'s Founder Takes Another Step Back

News summary by MFWire's editors

Third Avenue Management's founder, Marty Whitman, has stepped down as co-PM of Third Avenue Value Fund, handing over the fund's responsibilities to Ian Lapey, effective March 1 Bloomberg reports.

Morningstar's "Fund Times" column also reported on the news.

"I have the utmost confidence in Ian and the entire Third Avenue team, and my family and I will remain significant shareholders in the Third Avenue Value Fund," Whitman, 87, said in a statement.

Whitman has managed the $3.4 billion fund since it inception in 1990, and will remain as the chairman of the firm complex as well as run a new concentrated value fund for accredited investors.

Lapey is not new to the fund. Whitman anointed Lapey as his successor PM back in 2006, and in Lapey officially joined Whitman as a co-PM [see MFWire.com 7/17/2009]. Then two years ago Whitman stepped down from his co-chief investment officer post [see MFWire.com, 1/4/2010].

Ian Lapey Named Sole Portfolio Manager of the Third Avenue Value Fund Marty Whitman to Remain Chairman of Third Avenue Trust

February 10, 2012, New York, NY – Third Avenue Management LLC, an investment adviser to private and institutional clients, announced today that Ian Lapey, Co-Portfolio Manager of the flagship Third Avenue Value Fund (TAVFX, TVFVX) has been promoted to sole portfolio manager, effective March 1, 2012. Third Avenue’s founder, Martin J. Whitman, who has managed the fund since its inception in 1990, will step down as Co-Portfolio Manager of Third Avenue Value Fund but will remain as Chairman of the fund complex.

Mr. Lapey has served as Co-Portfolio Manager of Third Avenue Value Fund since July 1, 2009 and was designated to serve as Mr. Whitman’s successor as manager of Third Avenue Value Fund in 2006. He has worked closely with Mr. Whitman since joining the firm in 2001. Mr. Lapey will continue to be supported by Curtis Jensen, Third Avenue’s Chief Investment Officer, as well as the rest of the firm’s 29-person investment team.

David M. Barse, Chief Executive Officer of Third Avenue Management said, “We have long provided for a smooth transition from Marty Whitman to the outstanding team we have built over the years. While Marty personally designated Ian Lapey as his successor six years ago, Ian really has earned the Contact: Bridget Wysong Third Avenue Management LLC bwysong@thirdave.com 212-906-1164 position on merit through his perceptive analysis, prescient investment decisions and commitment to shareholders.”

Mr. Whitman said, “Ian Lapey has proven to be an exceptional analyst across industries and asset classes, and he is a very capable value and distressed investor. I have the utmost confidence in Ian and the entire Third Avenue team, and my family and I will remain significant shareholders in the Third Avenue Value Fund.” Mr. Lapey said, “The opportunity to manage money alongside the legendary Marty Whitman has been the most rewarding experience of my career. I look forward to upholding his superior long-term record of wealth creation for Third Avenue’s clients.”

For Mr. Whitman, this transition is the next step in the evolution of an investing career that spans more than six decades. In addition to remaining as Chairman of Third Avenue, he will continue to play an active role in the research process, offering his advice, guidance and wisdom to the Third Avenue investment team. Mr. Whitman also will manage a private concentrated value fund for accredited investors, which will be seeded by a portion of his holdings in Third Avenue Value Fund.

ABOUT THIRD AVENUE MANAGEMENT Third Avenue Management LLC is a New York-based investment advisory firm that offers its services to private and institutional clients. Third Avenue adheres to a disciplined bottom-up value investment strategy, to identify investment opportunities in undervalued securities of companies with high quality assets, understandable businesses and strong management teams that have the potential to create value over the long term. 

Edited by: HFD

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