Three Influential Funds, Three New Bosses
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Three Influential Funds, Three New Bosses

Ian Lapey of Third Avenue Value Fund, Matthew McLennan of First Eagle Funds, and Guy Pope of Columbia Value & Restructuring Z Fund are the new bosses of three influential funds. Reuters sat down with them at the Morningstar conference to discuss their investing strategies.

Lapey, who took over Third Avenue Value last March after longtime head Marty Whitman stepped down, says he will continue to make concentrated bets, but is looking to reduce volatility by holding more cash and downsizing some of his large stakes -- like Hong Kong real estate, which accounted for 40 percent of the firm's assets in January.

First Eagle's McLennan described himself as a dyed-in-the-wool contrarian.

"We tend to be where enthusiasm is not," he said, citing Cisco as an unpopular stock his fund is holding. "We will build up cash if we can't find good businesses for good prices. We will also hold gold as a hedge."

Pope became co-PM, with Nick Smith, of the Columbia Value & Restructuring Z Fund when longtime chief David Williams retired at the end of April. He plans to stay true to Williams' contrarian investing philosophy, telling Reuters that his "starting point" is looking for stocks with high degree of pessimism.

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