How One Stock Fund Finds Winning Picks

A recent article in Barron’s profiles Grandeur Peak International Stalwarts fund lead manager Randy Pearce and the “small army” of investment analysts his firm uses to research and identify opportunities among the world’s 40,000 publicly traded stocks.

Pearce explains, “the easiest thing to do is run a lot of money in a big-cap strategy with as few resources as possible,” adding that his firm (Grandeur Peak Global Advisors) has aggressively built out its analytics team to “stack the odds” on its side. Which it seems to have accomplished: The fund’s reported three-year annualized return of 12.2% beat 98% of its peers as well as its benchmark by a wide margin.

The article notes that “Grandeur’s investment process begins with a quantitative biannual screen of all 40,000 companies to identify high-quality ones for further research—those with strong, stable cash flows and wide profit margins. Industry analysts then dig into individual stocks.” Pearce is mindful of macroeconomic factors, the article says, but “tends to be agnostic as to where he finds growth opportunities.” But having boots on the ground is important, says Pearce: “You have to be careful, particularly the smaller you go [in terms of stock size]. We’ve learned that the better the numbers are, the more cautious you have to be.”