TWST: Tell us about Wedgewood Partners and the inception of your current strategy.
Mr. Rolfe: Wedgewood Partners was founded in 1988 by our partner Tony Guerrerio — 1988 is also is the year I started our current investment strategy. In 1988, I was working as a portfolio manager at the old Boatmen’s Trust Co. in Saint Louis, Missouri. I’m the architect of our strategy, and I had the fortunate opportunity to begin this strategy on full discretionary accounts at my former employer.
Starting back in 1984 while still in college, I had begun studying and researching the successful investors of the day and became quite enamored with focus investing either on both the growth side and value side. By the time 1988 rolled around, I had an opportunity to put those theories and philosophies to work. So essentially the foundational underpinnings of this strategy was the synthesis of the best tenets of growth and value investing, plus the proper temperament and behavior of a successful business owner, all through the advantaged structure of focus investing.
Then in 1992, the founding CIO that started Wedgewood with our partner Tony Guerrerio retired. So in May of 1992 I was hired as Chief Investment Officer. The strategy has been in place for 25 years, and 21 of those years have been at Wedgewood. Along the way, Dana Webb and Michael Quigley joined Tony and I to become part of our investment team in 2002 and 2005, respectively.
TWST: Tell us more about your investment philosophy and strategy, and how that translates into making investments.
Mr. Rolfe: In this big wide world of active management, there are now hundreds of active management strategies. In our view, far too many of these firms emphasize the “active” part of active versus passive investing, active trading and/or countless securities in their portfolio. We believe that the key differentiating factor of an active manager versus your peer group or the benchmark is being different — and at best, significantly different.