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What Helen Young Hayes' Departure Means to Janus

Well-known manager's exit leaves a big void.

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When asked to pick the fund manager most similar to Peter Lynch, I usually picked Helen Young Hayes. Like Lynch, she was a fast-trading, go-anywhere growth manager with little regard for macroeconomic analysis. Most significantly, she had continued to put up enormous returns at  Janus Worldwide (JAWWX) even as the fund grew to gigantic proportions. Now that she’s announced her retirement (like Lynch’s, at a surprisingly young age), it’s worth taking a look back to see what she’s accomplished and where Janus is going.

In a 1996 Analyst Report on Worldwide, I wrote, "Will success spoil Janus Worldwide?" The fund had topped $3 billion in assets and I was worried that all those assets would crimp Hayes’ freewheeling style. Shows what I know. Hayes went on the best run of her career with three years of outstanding returns from 1997 to 1999. The fund returned 159% over that stretch, and assets at the fund exploded to $33 billion.

In hindsight, this would have been a superb time to ask my question. The bear market hit the fund hard. Even considering its growth bias, the fund and sibling  Janus Overseas (JAOSX) performed poorly. Equally disconcerting was the fact that asset growth appeared to have caught up with the funds and led to rather bland-looking large-cap portfolios that resembled a lot of international funds’.

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