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Four decades of investing with Gordon Crawford

Gordon Crawford
Portfolio manager
Based in:
Los Angeles
Investment experience:

WILL MCKENNA: How did you find your way to Capital?

GORDON CRAWFORD: Well, I almost didn’t come to Capital. I was at the University of Virginia Graduate Business School. I was getting my MBA there. It’s now the Darden School, and I was one of those odd people that from, really, the moment I started business school, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I wanted to be a securities analyst. There weren’t a lot of people that said that when they went to business school.

I was interviewing all of the usual suspects: T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, Goldman, Morgan Stanley. And both my wife and I were bartending to put me through school. We had a child — we were supporting ourselves — and one day I had a motorcycle and a motorcycle jacket on, I stopped by the school at 5:00 to pick up some cases on the way to my bartending job and I bumped into my finance professor. And he said, “Geez, you’re not signed up for Capital.” And I said, “Who is Capital?” And he says, “It’s a great, small, private investment-management company in Los Angeles. Go home, call in sick, get a suit on and I’ll try to convince these guys to stay.” And they did. And the rest is history.

WILL MCKENNA: You told us a story about how you came to Capital. It sounds like you were a risk taker even then, driving a motorcycle. I hope you don’t drive one today.


WILL MCKENNA: Why did you stay? You must have had opportunities to go elsewhere, but you’ve been here for 40 years.

GORDON CRAWFORD: It never occurred to me to leave. I’ve been here 41 years. Almost nobody leaves Capital. If I think back over that 41 years, I could probably count on one hand the people that for a variety of reasons have left that we wouldn’t have wanted to have left.

It’s the best place to manage money in the business. It’s a privately held company with a conservative nature to it, a balance sheet that creates this enormous comfort zone so that when you have these very difficult times (1973/’74, 1980/’82)-- I remember when you had the crash in 1987, October 1987, the market went down 20% in one day. There was tremendous fear in the business. I remember calling friends that worked for hedge funds and small investment-management companies. They didn’t know if at the end of that quarter, which was a month and a half away, their business was going to go away. So they were running scared. At Capital I knew we were a private company, we had a history of investing in down markets — I mean investing in our capabilities in down markets. So I spent my day thinking about what stocks I wanted to buy. So there’s that.

There’s the culture of collegial, cooperative interaction between people. So it’s a wonderful place to manage money. It’s all we do. And the culture is one where the client is the total focus. I never wanted to work for a company [where] I would ever have to feel like I wasn’t proud of any decision that was made if I read about it in the LA Times or The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal the next day. And in 41 years, I have never been put in a situation where any decision that we made was anything but of the highest ethical order and always focused on the long-term benefit of our clients.

So it never occurred to me to work anywhere else. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have come to work here and never looked back.

Past results are not predictive of results in future periods.

Investments are not FDIC-insured, nor are they deposits of or guaranteed by a bank or any other entity, so they may lose value.

Investing outside the U.S. involves additional risks, such as currency fluctuations, periods of illiquidity and price volatility, as more fully described in the prospectus. These risks may be heightened in connection with investments in developing countries.

Capital Group manages equity assets through three investment groups. These groups make investment and proxy voting decisions independently. Fixed-income investment professionals provide fixed-income research and investment management across the Capital organization; however, for securities with equity characteristics, they act solely on behalf of one of the three equity investment groups. 

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing.

The statements included here are the opinions and beliefs of the speaker(s) expressed at the time the commentary was recorded and are not intended to represent those persons’ opinions and beliefs at any other time.