Little-Known Manager, Huge Returns

A recent article in Investment News highlights a mutual fund manager you probably don’t know — but you should.

The manager, James Wang of the Oceanstone Fund, has returned 41% over the past five years — annualized. That beats the S&P 500 by about 39% per year. “Indeed, a $10,000 investment at the fund’s inception would be worth more than $65,000 today,” writes Jason Kephart. The fund has trounced the market since the March 2009 bottom, but also managed to limit losses to just 9% in 2008, a remarkable feat.

Wang is a bit of a recluse, refusing interviews and not showing up at last month’s Lipper Fund Awards, where he was honored. But, Kephart notes, “Mr. Wang does reveal something of his strategy in his annual reports. As of June 30, Mr. Wang was looking for companies trading below their ‘intrinsic’ value. ‘Short-term, stock market can be volatile and unpredictable. Long-term, the deciding factor of stock price, as always, is value. Going forward, the fund strives to find at least some of the undervalued stocks when they become available in U.S. stock market, in an effort to achieve a good long-term return for the shareholders,’ he wrote.”

Information is available on Wang’s holdings as of the end of 2011, and it shows an interesting mix of conservative and risky holdings. About 20% of his portfolio was in a money market fund at the end of the year, for example, his largest position, according to Morningstar. But his next largest holding was Bank of America stock, which made up 11.4% of his portfolio. Rounding out his top 5 holdings were three stocks: Archer-Daniels Midland, Arrow Electronics, and General Motors. Blue chips like Dell, Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs were also among his 18 equity holdings.