The upcoming retirement of JPMorgan Growth Advantage’s lead manager will be a loss, but the firm’s broader research resources should continue to serve the strategy well. Cheaper share classes earn a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver, while more expensive ones earn Bronze.
Tim Parton, who recently announced that he will retire in early 2024, has performed admirably over his 20 years managing this fund. While his departure will be a drawback, his success owes to both his stock picking prowess and the skill of the component strategies from which he selects investments. This all-cap strategy compiles the highest-conviction ideas from J.P. Morgan's growth-equity teams. Parton and comanager Felise Agranoff, who will succeed him on this fund and Bronze-rated JPMorgan Mid Cap Growth HLGEX, oversee a group effort. They work closely with fellow managers Giri Devulapally of Bronze-rated JPMorgan Large Cap Growth SEEGX and Eytan Shapiro of JPMorgan Small Cap Growth OGGFX. They also benefit from synergies with J.P. Morgan’s 20-plus member core research team, which covers large-cap stocks for other strategies at the firm. Parton, Devulapally, and Shapiro have led their charges since 2004, posting good results relative to benchmarks and peers.
Agranoff developed under Parton’s mentorship on the firm’s small- and mid-cap growth team and shares a similar investment philosophy. While she lacks large-cap investing experience, she has plenty of supporting resources and time to adapt. Her 18 years as a mid-cap analyst and portfolio manager will still play a key role as mid-caps take up around 30% of assets and remain a key differentiator. She will also get assistance from an experienced large-cap analyst in Larry Lee, who is now a comanager. Lee has nearly 30 years of industry experience, 19 of them at J.P. Morgan.
The investment process should remain consistent. It will continue to invest in the firm’s most promising stocks, while allowing for flexibility to choose exposures across the market-cap spectrum. This more concentrated and customizable approach has yielded benefits over the years as the fund has consistently outperformed the Russell 3000 Growth Index and a custom benchmark comprising the component strategies weighted by their representation in the portfolio.
While Parton’s stock-picking no doubt has helped produce a strong track record, Agranoff should have the tools necessary to extend it.