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Fund Spy

First Eagle Is Who We Thought They Were

There may be a new regime, but it's awfully familiar.

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Nobody likes the uncertainty that can come with change, particularly when the status quo is pretty darn good. So, when Charles de Vaulx abruptly left the successful First Eagle funds in March 2007, his departure naturally worried the funds' shareholders. They may have breathed a sigh of relief when the funds' advisor, First Eagle Investment Management, brought the funds' previous longtime manager and value legend Jean-Marie Eveillard out of retirement to run the portfolios while a longer-term solution was determined. But the concerns mounted again when a number of other key managers, analysts, and operations folks also departed from First Eagle a few months after de Vaulx had headed out the door. That crew has since founded IVA Advisors, which manages  IVA Worldwide (IVWAX) and  IVA International (IVIOX)

Back at First Eagle, questions abounded. Could the diversified First Eagle funds, including  First Eagle Global (SGENX),  First Eagle Overseas (SGOVX), and  First Eagle U.S. Value (FEVAX), maintain the disciplined and uncommon value approach with a new set of managers and analysts? Would the eclectic portfolios endure? And importantly, would the funds behave as investors expected and be successful overall as they had been for the most part for more than two decades?

Bridget B. Hughes does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.