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Can I ask what people's thoughts are on Wintergreen are? I've owned it since its inception because of David Winters's prior track record. However his performance over the 1, 3, and 5 year periods is pretty awful compared to the category averages. In addition, as others have noted, his total expense ratio is really high for this category. He has pitched this fund as a go anywhere fund that can short stocks to offer protection, but he didn't do so in 2008. At any rate, I'm thinking of selling this holding and deploying the funds into an emerging markets fund like Seafarer. My EM exposure right now is only about 7% and I'd like to increase it. Would value your thoughts. thanks!


  • edited February 2015
    I agree with some of what David Winters has said regarding emerging market consumers and still own a significant holding in former Wintergreen top holding Jardine Matheson. That said, the fund has not done terribly well in recent years, partly due to the Macau theme, which has seemingly cooled off quite a bit recently. He also has a few sizable energy holdings, including "forever a value" Canadian Natural Resources.

    I don't think the emerging market consumer theme has done all that well in the last couple of years, although there have absolutely been some exceptions (especially the internet stocks - Tencent, for example.)

    Keep in mind there has been a crackdown on luxury gifting in China, which has hurt stocks like Diageo and has probably hurt Richemont (

    The Winters vs Coke battle was ridiculous and he's probably taken losses on the Swiss holdings (Richemont, Nestle, Swatch) lately.

    The Genting companies that Wintergreen holds are the most fascinating resort companies, but have done terribly as stocks. They are high on the list of "stocks I would like to like but can't."

    I don't think Winters is wrong on the EM consumer trade, but I think his themes have run into problems and I get the sense in interviews that he's long-term in his beliefs/holdings and if you don't want to join him, go.

    I completely agree with you regarding the lack of short selling. Not that one has to use that tool constantly or anything, but Winters has often pitched Wintergreen as a "hedge fund" with all manner of tools at its disposal and it's rare he seems to use any of them. He's discussed his ability to go activist - I mean, him going against Coke is literally kind of a David vs Goliath and kind of a waste of time and resources.

    Seafarer would not be a bad choice at all, although that's EM vs Wintergreen (world fund), so not an apples-to-apples replacement. Still, at least Seafarer provides a bit of a yield.
  • Hi MikeW,

    I would classify WGRNX as a definite sell. David Winters has always given interesting interviews, but despite the hype at the fund's inception ("2 without the 20" hedge fund comparison), WGRNX has never behaved like a hedge fund and has had underwhelming performance to date. Furthermore, WGRNX continues to be outperformed by his old fund, MDISX, despite a huge difference in AUM: $1.4B vs. $25B.

    Among global funds, there are more attractive options such as: VMNVX (young, but so far so good), DODWX, THOIX ($500 minimum + initial TF in Fidelity retirement accounts per test trade) and HCOYX.

  • @MFO Members: Can you spell turkey !!! Nice percentile rankings, right !
  • Scott, Kevin and Ted,
    Thanks very much for the feedback. You've confirmed pretty much what I've thought already. I've been very patient with this fund but its been frustrating and that expense ratio is killing me. Kevin thanks for the heads up on the other global funds. Some of these are new to me. I'm invested in ARTHX (global) and HAINX (intl), and I will take a look at both of these too.
  • Given what has happened, it appears more and more that the deep analytical benchwork that Franklin Templeton provides to its PMs does make a significant difference to performance by its better managers over time. Time and again, when they go off on their own, or go elsewhere to another shop, you just don't get what you got when they were at FT.

    @MikeW Do a search of the Discussion Board for WGRNX. There were several thorough digs on this fund done last year (IMO,very thorough, i.e. group think can't be done any better)
  • kevindow said:

    Hi MikeW,

    I would classify WGRNX as a definite sell. David Winters has always given interesting interviews, but despite the hype at the fund's inception ("2 without the 20" hedge fund comparison),


    He says that ("2 without the 20") and I go, "Is there another Wintergreen fund that he's talking about that I'm not aware of?"
  • Hi Guys,

    I have never owned any Wintergreen product.

    But in the 1990s I did own Michael Price’s Mutual Qualified fund which did employ David Winters as a major fund sub-manager. Since he sat at the feet of star manager Price, I presume he did learn the ins-and-outs of active value management.

    Since a continuous value seeking strategy chain exists from Benjamin Graham to Warren Buffett to Michael Price to David Winters, the opportunity for effective education and experience existed. I’m sure the winning techniques were fully passed along that impressive chain.

    Of course, it is never a given that wisdom will also be conveyed along with the rudimentary principles. The Winters record in a solo leadership position is singularly unimpressive, and his fund’s fees are high. Performance is often not transferable when changing jobs. Those of you who have stayed loyal have certainly not been rewarded for that loyalty.

    But the value-oriented investment process advocated by Winters has proven its worth over many decades. There are few opportunities to hear details on how an expert puts it into practice. There are even fewer such opportunities to learn its specifics from an expert of Michael Price’s caliber.

    Such an opportunity presented itself a year or so ago when Price made a presentation at a London-based Value investors conference. Price is an excellent, clear thinker and speaker. Please take advantage of this special opportunity to learn. Here is a Link to that superior talk:

    I hope you took the time to learn from this 42 minute presentation. I did. Price is a much more cogent speaker than Winters is. That attribute does not directly transfer to investment success, but their comparative records speak for themselves. Too bad that I no longer have access to Michael Price. In Price I trust.

    Best Wishes.
  • Previous discussion on board...not very supportive of fund:

    ...value-oriented investment process advocated by Winters has proven its worth over many decades
    WGRNX high fees add a significant headwind, seems like, to capturing that value premium.
  • Thanks very much Charles and MJG.... thanks for the link to Price too!
  • edited February 2015
    @MJG- Thanks for the recommendation and link to the Price presentation. Very straightforward, no nonsense. The most interesting thing to me was that his methodology was so intrinsically simple and understandable. Unfortunately, it also requires a very focused in-depth analytical support team, which most of us don't have access to as individual investors.

    Add: I'm also working my way through Nial Ferguson's 4-hour video "The Ascent of Money" which you recommended previously. Pretty well done, I think.

    Regards- OJ
  • MJG
    edited February 2015
    Hi Charles,

    I completely agree. High fees are a daunting hurdle and often overwhelm active fund managers.

    The Muttual fund series always had below average fees. That's an attractive element in the fund decision process. I suspect that I passed on Wintergreen when it originated because of its high fees although I believed that Price trained professionals would do well. I made a lucky trade off and passed on the fund.

    Thanks for our comment and your internal MFO reference. I had missed it.

    Best Wishes.
  • Hi Old Joe,

    Thanks for your atta-boy.

    Although I'm a long time fan of Micchael Price and his crystal clear disclosures of his investing approach, I totally agree with your observation that it is a near impossibility to execute for most investors (perhaps Scott excepted). It is way beyond my capabilities.

    The work load can not be done without a large staff since Price recommends holding 30 to 50 positions. That translates to collecting detailed info on perhaps 100 plus possible investments. No way!

    That's likely why we all decided to do the mutual fund route. It simplifies. And as I get older, simplification is a mandatory goal.

    I hope you're in good health and your portfolio matches that good health.

    Best Wishes.
  • David Winters' theme has always been, he charges the fee because he does the work. As others have pointed out, look at the performance during the 2008 crisis. He says his fund is a Hedge fund in Mutual fund clothing, but look at 2008. I'd rather have FMIJX for nearly half the price, low beta, team managed.
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