Magazine article American Banker

T. Rowe Media/Telecom Fund Presses Crucial Advantages

Magazine article American Banker

T. Rowe Media/Telecom Fund Presses Crucial Advantages

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Garmhausen

Dan Martino, manager of the T. Rowe Price Media and Telecommunications Fund, has two big advantages over competing fund managers.

First, his fund has wider investing latitude than most rival funds with straight-up communications mandates. Second, he works at T. Rowe Price, which for years has been well regarded for its authoritative grasp of tech, telecom and media.

"This fund really is right in T. Rowe's wheelhouse," said Kevin McDevitt, senior mutual fund analyst with Morningstar Inc.

And, like sluggers who are continually thrown fat pitches down the middle of the plate, Martino and his predecessors have put up impressive numbers over the years.

The fund has outperformed peers in its category since 1999, according to Morningstar; in early October the fund was once again beating its category average in 2010, with a gain of 14.75%, compared with 13.55%, based on Morningstar data.

Martino went from being an analyst on the fund to managing it about a year ago. He can still get advice from its previous three managers, who are with T. Rowe running other funds.

Unlike rival funds, T. Rowe Price Media and Telecommunications tends to go relatively light onstocks from usual-suspect companies like AT&T and Verizon. It's more aptto be invested in transmission-tower businesses along with everything from Disney to Amazon to Apple. "It takes a far broader view of the world," McDevitt said. "That frankly has played a role in its success."

One of the oft-remarked aspects of the fund is how it can invest a portion of its assets in areas that are distantly related to media and telecom. …

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