In January, Baird announced the addition of a new small/mid cap equity team led by Michelle Stevens, CFA, a veteran small cap value investor. Stevens and her team will manage the new fund.
Prior to Baird, Stevens spent 17 years managing small, mid and all cap value portfolios. She was a portfolio manager with Transamerica Investment Management where she was responsible for both institutional accounts and the Transamerica Small/MidCap Value Fund (IIVAX) from March 2004 through September 2008.
"Given capacity constraints among small cap funds, we are excited to add this fund to the Baird Funds Family," said Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director and president of the Baird Funds. "Michelle and her team have an excellent track record and deep experience managing small cap portfolios."
The fund is no-load and, like the other stock funds in the Baird fund family, it has an .85 percent management fee. The expense ratio is 1.1 percent for the institutional class and 1.25 percent for the investor class.
In an interview, Stevens explained her investment priorities. “One broad theme in the portfolio seeks to invest in businesses that benefit from a more value-conscious consumer and tighter lending standards domestically. This theme spans multiple sectors with holdings in dollar stores, rent-to-own operators and unconventional lenders. We also like businesses that help the world meet its insatiable demand for energy. This is timely, as disruptions to supply additions during the credit crisis are beginning to make themselves felt by way of higher oil prices as demand returns. In this space, we have exposure to liquefied natural gas and oil infrastructure, the domestic electric grid and shale plays. One additional portfolio theme seeks to benefit from the long-term secular growth trend toward online services. Although, these technologies may seem reserved for growth managers, we have identified multiple companies which sell at valuations below market multiples in areas such as domain registry, online bill pay and digital book distribution,” she said.