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Common Ground, but Divergent Ratings, for 2 Small-Cap Funds

Greg Carlson

Greg Carlson: Today, I'm going to discuss two small-growth funds with some common ground--Janus Triton (JATTX) and Meridian Growth (MRIGX). Janus Triton is run by Jonathan Coleman while Meridian Growth is run by Chad Meade and Brian Schaub. The latter two managers previously worked with Coleman at Janus on small- and mid-cap growth funds, so naturally there is some philosophical overlap there. Both funds try to invest in companies with relatively stable revenue streams and overall higher quality than a typical small-growth fund. They also invest in a mix of small- and mid-cap stocks in both cases.

Triton tends to hold a larger number of stocks--about 115--whereas Meridian Growth holds about 70 to 80. That's because Coleman has historically been more comfortable with a higher number of stocks. Also, Coleman has a greater deal of experience with mid-cap stocks and large-cap stocks, so his fund has a higher average market cap.

Also, Triton has a larger asset base--about $6.7 billion--and it's closed to new investors, whereas Meridian Growth has about $1.1 billion in assets. So, it's more maneuverable.

Other than that, there are a couple of important differences. Coleman is more comfortable investing in companies with larger debt loads. As a result, Triton has not performed quite as well in downturns as Meridian Growth has.

Over the long haul, we have a little more confidence in Meridian Growth. As a result, that fund gets a Bronze analyst rating, whereas Triton gets a Neutral.