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Vanguard welcomes Stephens Investment Management Group as advisor to Explorer Fund


Vanguard has added Stephens Investment Management Group as an advisor to the USD11.4bn Vanguard Explorer Fund.

This is the first Vanguard advisory mandate for Stephens, a Little Rock, Arkansas and Houston, Texas-based investment advisory firm with more than USD1.5bn under management.
“We are pleased to welcome Stephens Investment Management as an advisor to the Explorer Fund, and to our roster of now 30 investment advisory firms from around the world,” says Vanguard chairman and chief executive Bill McNabb (pictured). “The firm brings a distinctive small-cap expertise to the fund, which will diversify the advisory team and the portfolio.”
Stephens employs a disciplined, bottom-up investment approach. The firm combines fundamental research with quantitative screening to identify companies that are poised for earnings growth.
Ryan E Crane, chief investment officer of Stephens, serves as portfolio manager. Crane, who has 18 years of investment management experience, earned a BS from the University of Houston and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Stephens is initially managing a modest amount of the fund, with its portion expected to grow more substantial over time.
The Explorer Fund has employed a multi-manager structure since 1990 and now uses seven advisors. As reported in the fund’s 30 April 2013 semi-annual report, the allocation of assets among the other advisors was: Wellington Management Company, 29 per cent; Granahan Investment Management, 24 per cent; Kalmar Investment Advisers, 23 per cent; Century Capital Management, nine per cent; Chartwell Investment Partners, nine per cent; and Vanguard Equity Investment Group, four per cent; with the remaining two per cent in cash.
Vanguard first adopted the multi-manager approach in 1987. Nineteen of its 32 actively managed US-domiciled funds currently employ the approach. 

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