Today marks the 20th anniversary of Oppenheimer International Growth Fund, and my tenure as its manager. Time does fly by.
I’d first like to express a heartfelt thank you for your support throughout the last 20 years. The most basic thing a money manager needs is money to run. You have given me that opportunity, and I’m deeply grateful.
Money management is a process of continuous learning and improvement. As with anything, you learn the most from your mistakes, and I have certainly had my share. However, the successes have been manifold too. Although the basic thrust of what we do is more or less the same as it was 20 years ago, we continue to refine and improve the implementation, while adhering steadfastly to our core investment principles. Those principles are a commitment to long-term growth and an appropriate appraisal of value. I can promise you that those principles will not change. Today, I believe the process and the team are the best they have been in my 20-year tenure.
In a world of increasing short-termism, we have owned nearly one-third of the companies in our portfolio for more than 10 years. Most equity market participants believe in reversion to the mean, and are systematically too optimistic about lousy businesses turning around and too pessimistic about exceptional businesses remaining exceptional. We are informed optimists. We buy high quality companies that our research concludes can maintain or improve their return structures over time. By holding these companies over the long term, we capture the compounded difference between the market’s expectation of mean reversion and the valuation that eventuates as their earnings power is recognized. Often this takes a number of years to unfold; that is why we are so long term in orientation.
In addition to being very patient investors, we are also very careful about the prices we pay. Good businesses, like almost anything else of quality in this world, are usually not cheap. We sometimes have to wait years before investing in something that has the sort of characteristics of quality and durability we like. If a stock never gets cheap, we’ll never buy it.
I’m proud of the fact that the investment team is strong, and well positioned for success long into the future. Robert Dunphy joined me as an analyst in 2004, and as a co-manager in 2012. Rob and I make all decisions jointly on the portfolio. It has been a great partnership that I look forward to continuing for many years. We’ve also added two analysts in the last several years, Rijn van der Walt and Melissa Casson. Both are very talented, and make important contributions to our success.
My team and I are honored by the trust you have placed in us. We know you are investing to pursue important life goals—and we strive to prove worthy of your trust by serving as effective stewards of your valuable capital each day.
With sincere gratitude,
George Evans, CFA
CIO Equities, Portfolio Manager
Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes, regulatory and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. Eurozone investments may be subject to volatility and liquidity issues. Investments in securities of growth companies may be volatile. Mid-sized company stock is typically more volatile than that of larger company stock. It may take a substantial period of time to realize a gain on an investment in a mid-sized company, if any gain is realized at all. Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss.