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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is Barrow Developing a Succession Plan?

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

For a few years now, industry wonks have wondered over the succession plans for storied veteran value investor James Barrow, who at 73 has managed a number of funds for three decades.

Now it looks like Barrow, the executive director as well as large cap value and mid cap value equity portfolio manager at Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss may be making the first, perhaps tentative, steps towards developing a succession plan.

According to an SEC filing, he added two associate PMs to the Vanguard [profile] Windsor II fund.

Sharing the helm with Barrow on the fund will be PMs Jeff Fahrenbruch and David Ganucheau, both of whom are managing directors and equity analysts at the firm.

Barrow, who has managed a portion of the Windsor II fund since 1985 has over 51-years of industry experience, according to his firm's website. In addition to the Windsor II fund, he is also lead PM for the Selected Value Funds,.

Fahrenbruch has 16-years of experience in the industry, having joined Barrow's firm in 2002. Before that, he was an equity analyst at Westwood Holdings Group.

Meanwhile, Ganucheau has 17-years of experience in the industry, having joined the firm in 2004. Before that, he was a portfolio manager and analyst for Clover Partners.

The Windsor II fund has both Four-Star and Silver ratings from Morningstar.

Regarding the significance of these promotions, veteran Vanguard-watcher Daniel Wiener, editor of the Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors wrote this on the subject:
For years Jim Barrow, one of the top value investors in the U.S. and the lead manager on Windsor II and Selected Value, has been hinting at retirement, though to be honest I am doubtful he’ll ever really retire. In fact, he came close to retiring a few years ago until Vanguard persuaded him to stick around and let his (unnamed) replacements season a bit more. Who those replacements are, and when they’d take charge, has long been a mystery.

  Today, the word is out, through an SEC filing, that when Barrow, who’ll turn 73 this summer, does finally hang up his green eyeshades, his hand-picked successors will be Jeff G. Fahrenbruch and David W. Ganucheau, both managing directors at Barrow, Hanley.  Of course, I assume Mark Giambrone, Barrow’s co-manager on Selected Value, isn’t going anywhere and will stay on to run that fund’s largest share of assets.

  Barrow’s shoes will be extremely tough to fill. As a co-manager on Windsor II it’s tough to break out his performance versus all the other cooks in that kitchen, but Barrow also runs the Diversified Value Annuity for Vanguard—solo. As the chart below shows, despite higher operating costs Barrow’s solo venture has outperformed the multi-manager mess at Windsor II. Despite all that firepower and talent on the big fund, Barrow’s strategy of owning about 35 to 40 companies with below-market P/E’s and above-market yields has shined through.

According to one large database we track, neither Fahrenbruch or Ganucheau run any public mutual funds or seperately-managed accounts, so a public performance record isn’t available. Fahrenbruch already owns more than $500,000 (but less than $1 million) in Windsor II shares and Ganucheau has more than $100,000 (but less than $500,000) in the fund. Barrow has more than $1 million invested there. Yet, only one of Vanguard’s directors, Al Rankin, Jr., owns shares in the fund—Chairman Bill McNabb owns none.

  While I was able to find out little about either of the new managers immediately, Fahrenbruch is, reportedly, a good golfer however. How that will apply to managing billions for Windsor IIshareholders remains to be seen.



Barrow's firm, which is majority-owned by Old Mutual [profile], is one of six advisors to the Windsor II fund. The others are Vanguard Equity Investment Group; Hotchkis and Wiley Capital Management; Armstrong Shaw Associates Inc.; Lazard Asset Management, and Sanders Capital

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