After 20 Years of Beating Market, Danoff Talks Strategy

The Boston Globe has a feature today about Fidelity Contrafund manager William Danoff, who has compiled one of the best long-term track records in history and today reaches the 20-year mark of heading the fund.

Since he took over, Danoff’s fund has generated average annual returns of 12.2% — nearly 4 percentage points better than the S&P 500’s 8.3% annualized return over that period (through Aug. 31), according to the Globe. Over the past 15 years, the fund has been in the top 4% of funds in its class, according to Morningstar; over the last 10, it’s been in the top 2%, and over the past five, it’s been in the top 9%.

Danoff offers several pieces of wisdom in the article. He says he searches for young companies with big potential — and sticks with them. “They don’t go up in a straight line,’’ he says. “Just staying with them is one of the big lessons I’ve learned.’’

Another big lesson: Be able to acknowledge and learn from mistakes.

Danoff, the Globe adds, says his fund’s “go-anywhere investment style” has been a factor in his success. “I’ve been able to see more stories, more industries,’’ he says. “I’ve never had to own something because it was in my [fund’s] name.”

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