In a recent Barron’s Mutual Fund Profile, “Finding Middle Ground,” Rob Lanphier and Karl Brewer, co-portfolio managers of the William Blair Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund, highlighted their pioneering efforts to combine small- and medium-cap companies in the same portfolio.
Now known as SMID investing, when Lanphier co-founded the institutional strategy in the late 1990s, investors were unsure of how to categorize a strategy that blended small- and medium-sized companies.
“Institutions and consultants were still using the nine [Morningstar] boxes pretty religiously,” Lanphier told Barron’s. It was so new at the time that it was called “non-large-cap investing.” Since then, investors have embraced the benefits of buying small quality growth companies with sustainable business models “and letting them run,” Lanphier said.
William Blair’s SMID Growth strategy was made available to mutual fund investors in 2003 when the Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund was launched. The investment team seeks to find durable franchises that will grow over a long period of time. “We’re not looking for companies that could have a hot year or two,” said Brewer in the interview. “We want companies that can sustain their growth over the long term.”
In the Barron’s article, Lanphier and Brewer highlighted several companies that they believe have a durable franchise.
William Blair Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund Facts
Co-Portfolio Managers Lanphier and Brewer are joined by Dan Crowe, co-portfolio manager, and 15 experienced analysts in vetting and identifying investment ideas.