Oct. 30, 2003 — “Nobody has our mandate,” says Alberto Vilar, manager of Amerindo Technology Fund/D (ATCHX). Unlike other tech fund managers, Vilar seeks out emerging technology companies just after they become public and sticks with them for four to five years. “Our job is to find the next Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) or the next eBay Inc. (EBAY),” he says.
Vilar has had quite a ride pursuing this goal. His fund rode the tech boom, surging 248.9% in 1999, versus a 121.6% gain for the average tech fund. Conversely, it was hit hard in the recent bear market, plunging 64.8% in 2000, and 50.8% in 2001. Tech funds fell 32.5% in 2000, and 34.9% in 2001.
Now, Vilar says he’s back on track, with his fund soaring 119.6% for the one-year period through September, compared with a 61.9% rise for its tech fund peers. The Amerindo Fund was the sixth best-performing sector fund for the one-year period through last month. The aggressive approach, however, has been stomach churning for investors, with the fund coming in at the bottom or top of its extremely volatile category.
Asked about these ups and downs, Vilar says: “There is no question this is a homerun business.” The manager also believes the recent bear market was a “perfect storm” stemming from an unusually large number of negative events, including corporate malfeasance, lower capital spending, and the telecom bust.
“We are overwhelmed and delighted that we survived,” says Vilar. Like many tech survivors from the recent recession, Vilar says his firm restructured and reorganized, although he says he didn’t do much downsizing.