Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Aggressive Approach Pays off for Fast-Shifting Stock Picker ; Look for Our Mutual-Fund Quarterly Oct. 12

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Aggressive Approach Pays off for Fast-Shifting Stock Picker ; Look for Our Mutual-Fund Quarterly Oct. 12

Article excerpt

Andrew Cupps fell in love with the stock market as a kid. Now he manages $140 million in the Strong Enterprise Fund.

The love affair began when he was 13 and living in Kalamazoo, Mich. Back then, "Drew" mowed 12 to 20 lawns a week and plowed his earnings into stocks.

"I became fascinated with the market," Mr. Cupps recalls. He charted stock-price movements, read annual reports, and talked to brokers.

With the $280 he made in his first lawn-mowing summer in 1983, Cupps bought 10 shares of Upjohn Co., a pharmaceutical company. In the next several years, his portfolio grew with his earnings - and it rose in value.

Nowadays, Cupps is making good money for investors.

"I'm investing in change," says the investment prodigy in a kind of sales pitch. "The key is to understand how the world is changing and capitalize on these changes for our shareholders. The world is changing at an accelerating pace. But it's hard for people who are working to figure out where the changes are."

This investment philosophy has been lucrative.

So far this year, money put into his fund's shares has grown about 67 percent. Started just a year ago, Strong Enterprise is too new to get a rating from Morningstar Inc., a Chicago firm that tracks mutual funds. But the no-load fund - no sales fee - ranks in the top few among funds aiming for aggressive growth and willing to take risks to reach that goal.

Cupps saw some of his lawn-mowing portfolio vanish when he got to college - Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. Each year Harvard takes one-third of the wealth of students getting financial assistance.

Cupps recalls skipping class to watch the market at times of excitement. He was already managing some $100,000 for family and classmates.

He graduated in 1992 with an economics degree, which, he says, gives him "a decent knowledge base" when trying to figure out the economic environment.

Cupps started his professional career with Driehaus Capital Management in Chicago as a research analyst. In 1994, he joined the Milwaukee-based Strong group, with 30-plus funds managing a total of $30 billion, when Dick Strong offered him a private account of $10 million to manage. …

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