Second Acts in Tech Fund Managers’ Lives

There is a great and sobering “where are they now” article in Kiplinger this month looking at the technology fund manager class of 1999. You remember them, they were the ex-lawyers, biologists, and other newbie fund managers who turned in triple-digit performance at the peak of the boom. On average if you had $10,000 in any of those funds at the end of 1999 it would be worth around $4,000 today, versus $9,339 for the S&P 500.

If the Kiplinger story stopped there it would be worth reading, but it goes on to take apart the transformation of one fund manager in particular: quasi-blogger Robert Loest, formerly of IPS Advisory, and now of Integrity Funds. At its peak in 1999 Loest’s IPS was managing more than $600-million in assets, but today, in admittedly merged and strategy-changed form, he’s running a mere $53-million. What’s more, Loest has gone from an out-there guy who bought tech stocks without worrying overly about price, to a deep value guy who buys nothing that isn’t selling for less than break-up value, and that doesn’t produce “prodigious amounts of free cash flow”.

While it would be easy to draw all sorts of cynical conclusions, let’s just say instead, How times change.


  1. My favorite “second act” is Don “The Upside Is Virtually Infinite” Luskin turning from tech visionary / fund manager to a pathetic and monomaniacal stalker of that other Paul K.