The goal of the Darden Fund management team is to deliver returns that exceed our benchmark while incurring a comparable level of risk. We believe that superior risk-adjusted returns will result from primary, value-added research that leverages our general management education at Darden.
Our equity investment strategy is focused on the small-cap segment; our equity portfolio benchmark is the S&P SmallCap 600. We believe that markets are least efficient in the small-cap arena, offering us the greatest opportunity for generating positive alpha. Furthermore, while we are focused on bottom-up research, we are optimistic about a reversal of the long bear market. Small-caps have historically outperformed in the initial stages of a bear market, offering additional upside potential to the Darden Fund.
Small companies typically carry more firm-specific risk than larger firms. As a result, the current management team will ensure adequate diversification by holding a larger number of equity positions (~40) than has been true historically (~25). In addition, careful attention will be paid to matching industry exposure to the benchmark.
We believe that the market is least efficient in small-cap segment offering the greatest opportunity for generating positive alpha. Small cap stocks have outperformed mid and large-cap stocks for six consecutive years, and continued this trend in 2004 outperforming the general market by 10%.
It will be difficult for small-cap stocks to continue these outsized returns particularly in an environment of rising interest rates, which has traditionally favored large-cap stocks. However, The Darden Fund managers aim to outperform our competitive benchmarks through a process of disciplined fundamental research and analysis. By leveraging our team’s diverse experiences and educational foundations, we hope to realize superior returns while remaining conscious of the inherent risk of our investments.
Portfolio Manager Bios
David Waldman – Senior Portfolio Manager
David graduated from Hamilton College Magna Cum Laude in 2007, where he earned a B.A. with Honors in World Politics and a minor in Economics. Prior to Darden, David spent three years as a hedge fund equity analyst and emerging market private equity associate. During this period, Dave spent time living, working and investing in emerging Eastern Europe. Following these years, David worked in M&A with a special focus on Software-as-a-Service and real assets. Since 2007, David has been an active member of the Echoing Green Social Investment Council. During his tenure, David was instrumental in founding the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Council, bringing together impact investors across the region. Following his first year at Darden, David interned for the summer in Liberty Mutual Insurance's Global Specialty division.
Alex Cameron – Portfolio Manager
Alex graduated from the University of Maryland in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Alex came to Darden after spending four years in the finance industry. Most recently, Alex worked at Capstone Strategic, a boutique M&A consultancy, and was responsible for sourcing and structuring external growth opportunities for corporate clients. Prior to Capstone, Alex co-founded a buy-side search firm helping financial sponsors uncover proprietary deal flow. During the summer, Alex will intern as a Summer Associate at Barclays Investment Bank.
Brian Dunne – Portfolio Manager
After graduating from James Madison University in 2008 with a degree in Economics and Political Science, Brian joined IBM Strategy Consulting Group. During his four years at IBM Brian assisted IBM Consulting in the development and expansion its economic development practice and client base. He spent a majority of his time focusing on defining the methodology behind assisting Small-to-Medium sized enterprises in developing countries expand and obtain financing. This summer Brian will be interning as an Investment Banking Summer Associate at Citi in New York.
Aaron Mack – Portfolio Manager
Prior to attending Darden, Aaron spent three years working at Barclays Capital in New York City. While at Barclays, Aaron worked in Fixed Income Capital Markets within the Investment Banking Division. In this role, Aaron advised Investment Grade and High Yield companies in the origination and execution of debt securities across domestic and foreign markets. Aaron received his B.S. in Finance from Lehigh University, where he graduated with honors. This summer Aaron will be interning at a distressed debt hedge fund in New York City.