Humility and Patience: Understanding the Long-Term Outperformance of the First Eagle Overseas Fund

The First Eagle Overseas fund (SGOVX) has an exceptional 27-year history. Since its inception, it has returned 9.15% versus 4.03% for the MSCI EAFE index. It was originally managed by the legendary Jean-Marie Eveillard. I spoke with its current management team about how the fund has performed during the coronavirus crisis and why financial professionals should look to diversify outside the U.S. markets.

Matthew McLennan is head of the Global Value team and a portfolio manager on the Overseas Fund, Global Fund, Gold Fund and U.S. Value Fund. Matt joined First Eagle in 2008 to lead the Global Value team. Previously, Matt worked for Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) in London, where he served as co-portfolio manager of Global Equity Partners, a group he co-founded in 2003 that ran a focused global equity portfolio for offshore private wealth clients. Earlier in his career, Matt was equity chief investment officer of the Investment Strategy Group for Goldman Sachs’ private client business. He joined Goldman Sachs in Sydney in 1994. Matt started his career in 1991 in Brisbane, Australia, with the Queensland Investment Corporation and was ultimately responsible for the firm’s international equity exposure. He was born in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, and grew up in Queensland, Australia. He received his bachelor of commerce with first-class honors and master of international commercial law from the University of Queensland.

Kimball Brooker, Jr. is deputy head of the Global Value team and a portfolio manager on the Overseas Fund, Global Fund, Global Income Builder Fund and U.S. Value Fund. Kimball joined First Eagle as a senior research analyst in 2009, and he continues to be responsible for coverage of banks, financial services and holding companies. Previously, he was chief investment officer at Corsair Funds, a multi-billion-dollar private equity fund spun off from J.P. Morgan. Kimball began his work at Corsair in 1994, when he joined J.P. Morgan as an associate in the Investment Banking Department’s private equity group. Kimball started his career in 1992 as a financial analyst at Lazard Frères & Co. He received his BA from Yale University and his MBA from Harvard University.

Alan Barr is an associate portfolio manager on the Overseas Fund and a research analyst on the Global Fund, Global Income Builder Fund and U.S. Value Fund. Before joining First Eagle in 2001, Alan spent seven years at Rittenhouse Financial Services and four years at PNC Bank as an equity research analyst. He holds a BA in communications with a minor in economics from Temple University.

I spoke with Matt, Kimball and Alan on April 28.