Polen Capital Slide 1

A Concentrated Approachwithin a Global Universe

International Small Company Growth Portfolio

The Polen Capital International Small Company Growth strategy seeks to achieve superior long-term performance by focusing on dynamic companies with low to moderate risk and the potential for sustained double-digit annual earnings growth.

“Our goal is to preserve and grow client assets by investing in concentrated portfolios of companies that we believe can deliver sustainable, above-average earnings growth. We are excited about the potential of the International Small Company Growth strategy given the long runway of growth for these innovative quality companies,” explains Rob Forker, International Small Company Growth Portfolio Manager.

The primary objective is to maintain a high conviction portfolio of about 30 stocks with robust or increasing margins. The Portfolio tends to have greater allocations to stocks of the faster-growing industries, such as the technology, health care and consumer sectors, although we look for unique growth opportunities across all sectors.

Investment Process

The strategy concentrates on small, growing companies with the potential for sustained growth of earnings and revenue. The process is entirely bottom-up and relies heavily on new idea generation. This is done through a combination of generating organic ideas, developing bottom-up themes, and using front-end screens. We build our portfolio through a disciplined and active management approach:

  1. New Idea Generation: We begin the portfolio selection process by screening over 4,000 stocks in the small company stock universe to identify companies with strong sales and earnings growth rates, narrowing the filed to about 180 companies. Our quality criteria include profit margin, return on equity, and earnings stability.
  2. Initial Financial Analysis: We test the sustainability of strong financials for the identified small company candidates. This helps us determine if growth is secular. We then look for expanding or robust operating margins.
  3. Deep Dive Research: To narrow the candidates in the coverage universe, we’ll assess industry dynamics and growth, appraise the durability of this growth, and determine earnings power. We meet with or speak with the management team of every company we invest in to assess their management style and their ability to generate strong returns on capital over a sustained period.
  4. Portfolio Construction & Management: Once the fundamental research and management assessment has been completed, the portfolio manager decides whether to add the company to the Portfolio – and in what quantity. The portfolio manager continues to evaluate the performance of each holding in the Portfolio, retaining the stocks that continue to meet our criteria and eliminating the ones that fall short. We look for companies we believe we can hold for at least five years, and we anticipate an annual turnover ratio of 30% or less.

Managing Risk

If there is not complete conviction in a company’s ability to deliver solid performance over a period of several years, the stock will not be considered for investment in the Portfolio. The Small Company Growth Team seeks to limit risk in the Portfolio by raising the bar in the selection process, limiting the Portfolio’s holdings to companies it believes believe possess superior business models (high return on equity, strong free cash flow and solid balance sheets) and by limiting the number of holdings.

IThe fund also addresses risk by typically beginning with a small position in a new holding (1.5 to 3%) and slowly building up that position over time. Typically, the position may grow to 4 to 5% of the Portfolio, with 10% as the maximum position for most holdings unless we feel the risk/reward of the investment is particularly compelling.

Fund Manager

The Strategy is managed by the Small Company Growth Team and Rob Forker is the lead portfolio manager. Rob joined Polen Capital in 2018 and has significant international investment experience, including 10 years at Loomis, Sayles & Company, with six of those years dedicated to the Global Opportunities Fund as a senior equity analyst and four years as an equity analyst in central research. Before business school, Mr. Forker worked at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers on the institutional trading desks. He received his B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia. Mr. Forker is a member of the Boston Economic Club.


The Boston-based Polen Capital Small Company Growth Team is focused on finding high-quality small growth companies that we believe can deliver double-digit earnings per share growth over the next five years while incurring low-to-moderate risk. The team looks to generate returns by identifying dynamic companies in the fastest growing sectors that offer the potential for sustained, above-average growth in revenues and earnings. The team has a combined 65 years of investment experience.

We primarily seek to control risk at the individual security level. As bottom-up stock pickers, we evaluate the companies in our coverage list one at a time.

Tucker Walsh   |   Head of the Small Company Growth Team & Portfolio Manager

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