12.12.2011
By Terry Flanagan

Microcap Investing to the Masses

Boutique asset manager takes niche strategy to a wider distribution channel.

Grandeur Peak Global Advisors, the Salt Lake City-based boutique asset manager has caught the eye of large fund distributors such as Fidelity, Pershing, Vanguard, and Scottrade.

According to firm President, Eric Huefner, the Grandeur Peak team is “pleased to provide an increasing array of platforms through which investors can access (our) funds.”

“Beyond the platforms announced today we continue to work with a number of other intermediaries and expect to continue expanding distribution options,” he said.

The firm’s niche “microcap” strategy focuses on providing investors with global, undiscovered, small, but growing companies. With a reported 12 trillion under management via financial advisors, broadening distribution has been critical for Grandeur Peak.

Retail intermediary firm, Charles Schwab was the first to distribute Grandeur Peak Funds.

The funds include the Grandeur Peak Global Opportunities Fund and the Grandeur Peak International Opportunities Fund. The former consists of a portfolio of mainly small and microcap global equities. The fund’s investments include U.S. companies, as well as those in the developed foreign countries, and emerging/frontier markets. The latter fund solely focuses on international opportunities.

The funds have adopted the popular “go-anywhere” strategy of flexibility, in terms of market cap, country, and sector in order to invest where the firm believes some of the best global opportunities exist.

The funds are managed by former portfolio managers, Robert Gardiner, who also serves as chief executive, and Blake Walker, both of whom currently manage Grandeur Peak’s funds and are formerly of fellow Utah-based firm, Wasatch Advisors.

“After our first six weeks, with limited distribution, our funds have over $50 million under management, and we have had a nice stream of requests from potential investors to expand our distribution. We will continue working to make our funds and investment approach broadly accessible to investors,” Gardiner said.

The firm is also taking on some institutional prospects, noted Huefner. Grandeur Peak’s Head of Client Relations, Mark Siddoway will be responsible for growing the firm’s institutional business.

“(Mark) will be exploring institutional opportunities for us,” Huefner told Markets Media, “But we will keep a tight lid on assets. We will always protect our clients and investment strategy from asset bloat.”

However, one platform in which the firm does not plan on partaking in, is the exchange traded fund (ETF).

“We have no intention to create an ETF,” Huefner said. “We believe that there is a true advantage to good active managers in the global micro/small cap space.”

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