After completing his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ralph Wanger began his career in the insurance sector – as a stock analyst and portfolio manager.
In 1970 he became the manager of the Acorn Fund, which subsequently churned out average annual yields of 16 percent until Wanger’s departure in 2003. By comparison, the S&P 500 only grew by 12 percent per annum.
Wanger is known as a value investor, a growth investor and a contrarian. His motto: “There is really no need to be a pure this or a pure that”.
Wanger and his Acorn Fund specialized in long-term investments in small cap stocks, and his investments have become more internationally diversified over time. He invests based on themes which he considers to be of macroeconomic relevance.
As an example of his investment style, Wanger refers to the California gold rush of the nineteenth century. If he had been around at the time, he would not have invested in the goldmines, but rather in the companies that sold picks, shovels and other tools miners.
While a single goldmine can be exhausted within a few months, gold mining as a whole would carry on for many years.