Lead manager Clare Hart plans to retire from JPMorgan U.S. Value and the firm in fall 2024, which drives the People Pillar rating down to Above Average from High. While Hart has been essential to the strategy’s strong track record since 2004, it’s well-prepared to succeed after she retires. Until then, she remains a portfolio manager alongside Andrew Brandon and David Silberman.
In about a year, Brandon and Silberman will lead the seasoned five-person U.S. value team Hart assembled. Andy Brandon joined J.P. Morgan Asset Management as an equity analyst in 2000, joined this team in 2012, and became a named manager in February 2019. Dave Silberman joined J.P. Morgan Asset Management in 1989 and ran portfolios for private clients before serving as the firm’s corporate governance expert starting in 2008; he joined this team as a comanager in November 2019. Dedicated analysts Tony Lee and Lerone Vincent joined the value team in 2018 and 2022, respectively. The managers will hire a veteran banking analyst within the year.
Similar to the larger equity-income fund (closed to new investors), this strategy rests upon a classic value philosophy: a pool of well-run but undervalued companies with consistent earnings and disciplined capital allocation should beat the market. The key is not in this perspective but in applying it methodically, as this group has. It seeks 85-110 high-quality companies with reasonable valuations; but unlike the equity-income strategy, it doesn’t require holdings to pay a dividend.
Since Hart became a portfolio manager in March 2004, the fund’s institutional shares have gained an annualized 8.3% through August 2023 versus 7.7% for the Russell 1000 Value Index and 7.0% for the typical large-value Morningstar Category peer. While less defensive than its equity-income sibling during downturns, it has done better in rallies over this period. Since Silberman joined Hart and Brandon as a manager, the strategy has topped the typical peer and the index.
The departure of a highly successful lead manager often augurs middling future results, but the veteran team and battle-tested approach here will probably remain a cut above.