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A Fund Where Growth and Value Try to Get Along

Kalmar Investments looks for quality companies whose qualities may not be readily apparent.

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Ford Draper Jr. doesn't own a yacht, was never in the Navy, and owns farmland. He has spent enough time on the water, however, to know a useful nautical allusion when he hears one.

Nearly 30 years ago, when Draper's wife suggested that he name his new investment boutique after a 400-year-old ship that few people outside of Delaware and Sweden knew ever existed, he got it right away. The Kalmar Nyckel wasn't the most famous vessel that ferried settlers to the New World during the 17th century, but the ship, named for its Swedish home port and the fortress that guarded it, was among the most successful. In 1638, the armed merchant ship carried inhabitants to the colony of New Sweden, the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley. The Kalmar Nyckel made four round-trip voyages between the Old World and New, more than any other craft before the American Revolution, including the more heralded Mayflower. It also outlived more than one captain.

The Kalmar Nyckel embodied a lot of the values Draper wanted to undergird his firm: an emphasis on results over renown, crew over captain, and repeatable rather than unreliable returns. "The name resonated from an organizational standpoint," Draper says. "There was a good story behind it."

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Dan Culloton does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.