Every now and then, old and new can work well together. Just ask Chuck Akre. After being closed to new investors for more than two years, the veteran money manager's 11-year-old fund, formerly FBR Small Cap, reopened in January -- and welcomed a fresh influx of more than $550 million.
With cash accounting for more than a third of the portfolio, FBR also announced over the summer that it would change the fund's name and eliminate its policy of investing at
least 80% of assets in companies with market values of less than $3 billion. The moves mean that Akre now has the flexibility to buy stocks of larger companies -- or to hold
large cash positions while waiting for opportunities.
Despite those shifts, Akre's $1.6 billion portfolio has remained remarkably stable -- as has the investing approach that produced annualized gains of 15% over the past ten
years. "Our investment style hasn't changed an iota," he says. Indeed, investments must still meet strict valuation criteria: Akre will pay only a modest multiple of free cash
flow per share, typically between ten and 20, depending on the business.
Akre says he will still keep a concentrated portfolio of around 40 stocks, and he'll continue to look for "little compounding machines" -- businesses that have a relatively high
return on capital (15% or higher), with solid management teams and opportunities to reinvest excess cash to juice returns.