John Neff is one of the best known mutual fund investors of the past four decades, notable for his contrarian and value investing styles as well as heading Vanguard’s Windsor Fund. Windsor was the best performing mutual fund during his tenure and became the largest fund closing to new investors in the 1980s. Neff retired from Vanguard in 1995. During his 31 years (1964 to 1995; a very long time in the mutual fund management business) of managing Windsor, the fund returned 13.7% annually versus 10.6% for the S&P 500. That means a US$ 10,000 initial investment would have grown to close to half a million by the end.
Neff was considered the “professional’s professional,” because many fund managers entrusted their money to him with the belief that it would be in safe hands.
So why was John Neff so successful? The reason in his own words – “We relied on relentless applications of low P/E sympathies, abetted by attention to fundamentals and a liberal dose of common sense.”
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