Last Month, Goldman Sachs Quietly Retired A Legendary Investment Strategy

Peter LynchREUTERS/Jim BourgStock-picking guru and famed mutual fund manager Peter Lynch.

Peter Lynch is known as something of a legend in the mutual fund industry.

The stock-picking guru was responsible for 29% annualized returns as the manager of Fidelity’s Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990, which he took from $US18 million in assets under management to more than $US14 billion over that 13-year span.

Lynch popularised an investing style known as “growth at a reasonable price” (which is more or less exactly what it sounds like).

Investors who adhere to GARP look for stocks that will grow faster than their peers, but are also undervalued relative to their peers.

Goldman Sachs equity strategists started publishing monthly GARP screens for their clients in January 2004.

In a note to clients last month, however, Goldman’s chief U.S. equity strategist David Kostin and his team said the screens would be discontinued.

“We will no longer publish our screens as we have decided to deploy resources elsewhere,” said Kostin.

Despite the apparent lack of interest in the strategy, it still seems to be fairly successful.

“Since inception in January 2004, our GARP screen outperformed the S&P 500 (89.8% vs. 79.9%), a positive excess return of 991 bp,” wrote Kostin in the note. “Through the first nine months of 2013 our GARP screen generated a total return of 21.4% versus 19.8% for S&P 500, an excess return of 159 bp.”

Though Goldman is no longer bothering with it, GARP isn’t completely dead on the Street — BMO chief investment strategist Brian Belski, for one, believes stock-picking is making a comeback.

“Our investment recommendations remain centered on more active strategies,” he wrote in a November 1 note. “We continue to favour GARP-like and select beta strategies for the sort of market environment we expect to unfold through year-end and into 2014.”

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