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Columbia Acorn Shareholders' Meeting 9-24-14

A few highlights:
The management seems sensitive to lackluster performance of Acorn funds and treated us as adults, explaining in depth more of their approach.
A few snippets:
1. ACRNX performance seems partly joined at the hip to M&A activity. More of its holdings became takeover targets this year (repeatedly referred to as "takeout," which sent the aging audience into 10-minute revery on Peking duck) than in previous 18 months; portfolio managers very excited about that.
2. In their purchased-equity field, companies with low PE and poor earnings or negative earnings did slightly better than others over past investment year (begins midyear, maybe), but their GARP philosophy led them to purchase slightly higher up the PE and earnings ladders, generally, and not to overweight the lower end. The fund, ACRNX, still benefited from bounces at the low end. (The differences were very slight, such as 25% and 26%, not 10% and 60% -- in terms of buying low PE + neg or small earnings versus higher up the ladder.)
3. Company philosophy is to ignore macroeconomic events (at least as decision drivers).

Answers to audience Qs:
1. Where to put $10k? Ask a registered investment adviser.
2. Long bull market run: going to cash? No. Mngt does not time cash. It is up to investors to sell their own holdings and go to cash. (Per M*, ACRNX, ACINX, and CEFZX all hold zero cash.)
3. Doing what else? Harder to find great cos. with no problems. So portfolio managers are looking for companies with good business model and some problems that co. mngt might be able to turn around in short- to mid-term (within 5 years).

Cookies; wraps, with and without meat or cheese; coffee, soft drinks, iced tea. Free coffee mug.


  • Thanks for the review. It looks like you got a nice selection of food:-)

    Here's the link for the webcast (the page says it will be available in October):
  • Acorn funds have interesting and informative reports so I am not surprised the meeting was worthwhile
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • I rather had the feeling that most of the attendees would not invest in Acorn funds today.
    And most were 20-year-plus holders, which meant they probably also invested in the doomed (If only we had known!) Third Avenue funds. Indeed, my neighbor in the next seat had. Kind of sick faces all around. I understand that last year the portfolio managers offered some sort of mea culpa; I didn't attend.
    I swapped some ACRNX for CEFZX, mostly because their charts on M* were sine curves one-half cycle out of synch: when one was high, the other was low.
    Now I'm thinking about pie...
    OTOH, the market today seems to me very, very different from the 90s. I have no idea what I would do with ACRNX (in a trad IRA) if I yanked it all out.
  • The webcast is now available. It seems you have to register to see it.
    A more direct link than the one I posted previously is:
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