Yes, you should send money to
Oakmark Select before it closes. Yes, Bill Nygren is one of the best managers out there. Yes, value is still the place to be. No, the fund is not too big to send money to, but it would be if Bill weren't closing it.
Bill has the integrity to know that his fund is getting too big. He understands that the revenue that comes from gathering assets isn't as important as the performance he can deliver, and his style won't allow for unlimited funds. That's why he is closing his fund next month.
I have been besieged with inquiries about whether it is too late to go to this fund. At first, I thought it might be, because the stampede that will be engendered by the fund's closing is going to put a huge amount of money into this fund. That said, Bill knows that. He has probably taken it into account. Sometimes it just comes down to whether you think a guy can handle it and keep doing his numbers, and I think Bill can handle the additional $500 million I bet he gets in during the next few weeks.
I think he can maintain his 18% annual gain. And I like the idea of taking assets from the people who don't know how to run money and giving it to him. Who are those who don't know how to run money? Ah, the greatness of objectivity: anyone down 40%.
(Nygren has also rung up solid gains with the
Oakmark fund since taking its reins a little over a year ago, and that less concentrated fund is still open to new investors. If you'd like to hear from the man himself, check out this recent
10 Questions interview with Ian McDonald.)
Don't forget to think about Elizabeth Bramwell's
Growth Fund as an alternative when Oakmark closes. Although her numbers aren't as good as Bill's, she runs a great shop and has outperformed year after year. She was on a panel with me last night on
and impressed me once again with solid stock-picking and a balanced plan to make money for the short and long term. One of my faves. Her
choice really makes a lot of sense to me. And in a world where the consumer stocks seem to explode every day, I am impressed that she spotted
, the only winner. ... After the show we talked about
, a stock that we are both interested in. If anyone has any good info about that company, including the break-up value analysis, email me here at
firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share it.
Also, I am stepping out this morning to pay my respects to
and his family, so there will be a gap in reportage. I am sure you understand.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to