LGFA Finds Four Small Cap Masters
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Tuesday, June 17, 2003

LGFA Finds Four Small Cap Masters

After spending three years searching for the best small cap stock pickers, Orinda, California-based Litman/Gregory Fund Advisors has finally found a firm it thinks it can bet on. The sponsor of the Masters' Select series of funds registered the Smaller Companies Fund with the SEC three years ago before it had found a subadvisor. At the time it believed that finding managers for the fund would be easy. Not so.

Many skilled small-cap managers who were capable of running a concentrated portfolio were either closed for new business or were charging excessive fees, according to Litman/Gregory officials.

Now, though, the fund has a team on board and is set to open to investors on June 30. And who are the subadvisors? All told there will be four, each handling a quarter of the fund's assets. The quartet consists of Brandywine's Bill D'Alonzo, Ariel Funds' John Rodgers, FPA Funds' Bob Rodriguez and Dick Weiss of Strong Funds.

Each manager has the mandate to invest in between 8 and 15 of his "highest conviction" stock ideas. Because the fund achieves it diversification by building off the top stock picks of multiple managers, LGFA considered the how each manager's investment style would add to the mix as part of its search.

Litman/Gregory plans to close the fund when its size reaches between $300 million and $450 million in assets. Both the use of multiple subadvisors and the practice of closing the fund while it is still relatively small are standard practices at the fund shop.

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