Better Know a Stock Picker

Welcome, Fools, to part 43 of our several-thousand-part series, "Better Know a Stock Picker," which is loosely -- but not too loosely -- based on Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District" from The Colbert Report.

Like Stephen and his thorough investigations into America's congressional districts, each week I take a look at a fund you may want to own. What's on tap this week?

Julius Baer International Equity (BJBIX)

Expense ratio

1.19%

Fund size

$24.2 bil.

1-year return

22.50%

5-year return

20.18%

10-year return

16.19%

Sources: Julius Baer, Morningstar

Top 5 holdings

Company

% of Assets

OTP Bank

1.94%

Komercni Banka

1.53%

Vodafone Group (NYSE:VOD)

1.39%

Total SA (NYSE:TOT)

1.33%

Nestle SA

1.28%

Sources: Julius Baer

Meet Richard Pell and Rudolph-Riad Younes
The fightin' team at Julius Baer International Equity has been led by Richard Pell and Rudolph-Riad Younes since April 1995. They've been making investors rich ever since, as I can personally attest.

I've owned shares of International Equity since August 2003, and my position's doubled in that time. That's what happens when you own a fund that's ranked among the top 10 in its category in three of the last five years (No. 1 in 2002, No. 6 in 2004, and No. 5 last year).

Superior performance isn't new to Pell or Younes. According to Morningstar, International Equity has outdistanced the benchmark MSCI EAFE index by nearly 9% a year over the past decade. According to Kiplinger's, that record is good enough to place International Equity within the top 10% of global funds operating since 1996.

How they invest
Color me unsurprised. Younes told BusinessWeek in 2003 that he and Pell take a balanced approach. "I have one eye that can only see close and one that can only see far. As a money manager, that's what you want."

He's not joking. Younes really is cockeyed. He just sees it as a benefit, rather than a malady. Eat that, Wall Street.

And, while you're at it, how about adding a side dish of toughness? Younes is a native of Lebanon, having grown up, as he told BusinessWeek, with "people getting killed next to you." Anything must be simpler after that.

Indeed, what might seem tough for Wall Street's stockinistas, who run at the first sign of trouble, comes easy to Pell and Younes. They're still loading up on shares of market laggard GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) , for example.

Why? Consider the big picture. Kiplinger's describes the pair as "big picture thinkers" who assess global economic trends, then place their bets for maximum returns. With hundreds of millions of people in developing nations suffering from disease, Glaxo's medicines should be in demand for decades.

Is this fund for you?
Could Younes and Pell best Peter Lynch in a stock-picking throwdown? I wouldn't bet on it, but I'd be hard pressed to bet against them, either. They've got too good a record.

And at 1.19% annually, International Equity's expense ratio is affordable at worst. That's why I still hold shares after nearly four years.

But if you're hoping to join me, I have good and bad news. First, the bad: International Equity is closed to new investors. Now, the good: a second International Equity Fund -- Julius Baer International Equity II (JETIX) -- was created in 2005, and Pell and Younes steer that ship as well. The expense ratio is also cheap, at 1.05% annually.

Will it ever join the ranks of the champions? I think so, even if Shannon Zimmerman has yet to add it to his list of foreign winners for Motley Fool Champion Funds. (Five of his international stock fund picks are beating their benchmarks. Want details? Click here to get 30 days of free access to Champion Funds.)

And that's today's profile. See you back here next week, fund nation. Good night.

For more Foolish coverage of investing globetrotters:

GlaxoSmithKline and Total SA are Income Investor picks. Vodafone is an Inside Value recommendation.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 6,759 out of more than 28,900 in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database, is a regular viewer of The Colbert Report. (Stay the course.) Tim owned shares of Julius Baer International Equity at the time of publication. Tim's portfolio holdings can be found at his Fool profile. His thoughts on mutual funds, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is always championship caliber.


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