Fund Objective & Investment Philosophy
The investment objective of the Buffalo Growth Fund is long-term growth of capital. The Fund invests in common stocks and other equity securities, including preferred stock, convertible securities, warrants and rights, with a goal of maintaining at least 75% of the Fund’s portfolio in companies with market capitalizations greater than the median of the Morningstar U.S. Growth Index or $5 billion, whichever is lower. The median market capitalization of the Morningstar U.S. Growth Index changes due to market conditions and also changes with the composition of the index. As of June 30, 2021, the median market capitalization of companies in the Morningstar U.S. Growth Index was approximately $6.8 billion.
With respect to the remaining 25% of the equity weighting of the Fund’s portfolio, the Fund may invest in companies of any size, including, but not limited to, those with market capitalizations less than the lower of the median of the Morningstar U.S. Growth Index or $5 billion, whichever is lower.
The Fund managers seek to identify companies that are expected to experience growth based on the identification of long-term, measurable secular trends, and which, as a result, the managers believe may have potential revenue growth in excess of the gross domestic product growth rate. Companies are screened using in-depth, in-house research to identify those which the managers believe have favorable attributes, including attractive valuation, strong management, conservative debt, free cash flow, scalable business models, and competitive advantages.
The Growth Fund invest in secular trend leaders: attractively-priced, financially-strong, well-managed companies across all market cap segments, which we believe are favorably positioned to harvest the lion’s share of big secular growth trends.
Dave Carlsen, CFA, Co-Portfolio Manager
Overall Morningstar Rating™ of BUFGX based on risk-adjusted returns among 1,117 Large Growth funds as of 11/30/21
Morningstar Sustainability Rating™ of BUFGX out of 1,549 US Equity Large Cap Growth funds as of 9/30/21, based on 100% of AUM
Carbon Metric Rating of BUFGX as of 6/30/21 in the Large Growth category, based on 98% of AUM; long positions only
Historical Sustainability Score Rank of BUFGX
|As of 11/30/21||3 MO||YTD||1 YR||3 YR||5 YR||10 YR||15 YR||20 YR||Since Inception|
|BUFFALO GROWTH FUND - Investor||-1.55||17.39||22.82||22.68||19.84||15.72||11.66||9.90||11.36|
|BUFFALO GROWTH FUND - Institutional||-1.49||17.56||23.02||22.87||20.02||15.89||11.83||10.06||11.52|
|Morningstar U.S. Growth Index||1.78||25.68||30.72||30.82||26.39||19.74||13.55||10.31||-|
|Lipper Large Cap Growth Fund Index||0.28||21.08||26.32||27.27||24.09||18.21||12.27||9.61||10.15|
|Morningstar Large Growth Category||0.05||18.91||24.13||25.31||22.21||17.37||11.88||10.04||10.06|
|As of 9/30/21||3 MO||YTD||1 YR||3 YR||5 YR||10 YR||15 YR||20 YR||Since Inception|
|BUFFALO GROWTH FUND - Investor||0.75||12.91||26.56||17.68||18.43||16.79||11.75||10.55||11.27|
|BUFFALO GROWTH FUND - Institutional||0.81||13.05||26.78||17.87||18.61||16.97||11.92||10.72||11.44|
|Morningstar U.S. Growth Index||1.50||16.32||31.05||23.81||24.23||20.12||13.45||11.11||-|
|Lipper Large Cap Growth Fund Index||0.48||14.11||26.86||21.45||22.14||18.70||12.21||9.99||9.97|
|Morningstar Large Growth Category||-0.07||12.40||26.60||19.75||20.68||17.93||11.93||10.45||9.90|
|BUFFALO GROWTH FUND - Investor||-0.06||11.86||35.40||8.88||2.64||4.86||22.81||0.51||31.91||28.29|
|BUFFALO GROWTH FUND - Institutional||0.09||12.03||35.60||9.05||2.80||5.02||22.99||0.66||32.11||28.49|
|Morningstar U.S. Growth Index||0.74||17.27||33.34||12.66||5.54||3.16||29.52||0.78||34.90||44.65|
3 Year Risk Metrics
|BUFGX vs Morningstar U.S. Growth Index (As of 9/30/21)|
Hypothetical Growth of $10,000
|(As of 9/30/21)|| |
|# of Holdings||53|
|Median Market Cap||$109.71 B|
|Weighted Average Market Cap||$760.35 B|
|3-Yr Annualized Turnover Ratio||27.96%|
|% of Holdings with Free Cash Flow||85.19%|
Top 10 Holdings
|Name of Holding||Ticker||Sector||% of Net|
|TOP 10 HOLDINGS TOTAL||45.07%|
CAPITAL MARKET OVERVIEW
(As of 9/30/21) — Equity market returns were somewhat mixed in the 3rd quarter, but the S&P 500 Index etched out a modestly positive return of 0.58%. The global recovery hit a speed bump during the period as the world dealt with rising COVID-19 Delta variant infections, an energy price spike, and supply chain issues that continued to constrain economic growth. After trading lower earlier in the quarter, interest rates increased later in the period in response to higher-than-expected inflation data and an admission from the Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) that they would need to begin removing monetary stimulus from the economy sometime soon.
The Russell 3000 Index declined -0.10% in the quarter. Growth stocks outperformed Value stocks as the Russell 3000 Growth Index returned 0.69% versus a drop of -0.93% for the Russell 3000 Value Index. Relative performance was correlated with market cap size as large caps outperformed small caps in the quarter. The large cap Russell 1000 Index returned 0.21% compared to the Russell Midcap Index return of -0.93%. Smaller market cap indices were even more negative, with the Russell 2000 Index returning -4.36% and the Russell Microcap Index returning -4.98%. Financials were the top performing sector for the quarter, while Industrials and Materials were lagging sectors.
(As of 9/30/21) — The Buffalo Growth Fund (BUFGX) returned 0.75% during the quarter versus the Morningstar U.S. Growth Index’s return of 1.50%. The Fund’s modest underperformance was driven by stock selection in the Health Care, Information Technology, and Consumer sectors, most of the relative shortfall was attributed to not owning three index constituents that did well in the quarter, namely Moderna, Netflix, and Tesla. Strong stock selection in Real Estate and Industrials acted as positive contributors relative to the index.
Microsoft Corporation was a top contributor in the 3rd quarter, driven by the announcement of a 9-25% price increase across its Commercial Office365 product suite. The company is a prime beneficiary of workplace digital transformation and the move from on-premise IT infrastructure to the cloud. As the economy emerges from the pandemic, Microsoft is well positioned to gain share of rising IT budgets.
Alphabet Inc. was also a top contributor in the quarter. The company experienced improving growth in its leading digital advertising businesses, following a relatively cautious ad budget environment through most of last year. Alphabet is poised to benefit in 2021 as digital advertising budgets expand alongside improving economic conditions.
Palo Alto Networks, a leading network security solutions provider, was another strong contributor in the quarter. Investors cheered better-than-expected billings guidance for fiscal year 2022, driven by a robust spending environment and strong adoption of next generation security products. Security spending remains strong following numerous high profile cyber-attacks in recent years, while the work-from-home trend has expanded the threat landscape and coincident revenue opportunity for Palo Alto.
Amazon.com was a negative contributor this quarter. In the near term, some investors worry that investments may step up and hurt profitability or that the pandemic has pulled forward ecommerce adoption, contributing to above-trend growth rates in 2020 that may moderate going forward. We concern ourselves more with the long-run where Amazon should continue to disrupt markets and sustain an attractive growth rate, as its Amazon Web Services and leadership position in ecommerce capture additional share gains from on-premise computing and off-line commerce. Advertising is a burgeoning new segment with attractive profitability that could drive improved profitability, as it increases as a percentage of revenues.
TripAdvisor Inc. was caught up in general travel industry weakness during the period. The rise of the Delta variant drove some countries to reinstate lockdown measures, causing investors to push out their projections for a broad travel recovery. Additionally, their promising new TripAdvisor Plus subscription business experienced some early stage growing pains after it tweaked its offering to ensure rate-parity across the various platforms. We believe the changes will drive new partners onto the platform. TripAdvisor stands to benefit as travel demand, dining, and entertainment rebound.
(As of 9/30/21) — The market environment remains constructive for equity investing. Corporate earnings are recovering and interest rates remain relatively low by historical standards, providing a healthy backdrop for investors’ allocation to equities. Vaccination rates are increasing worldwide, contributing to increased mobility, improved business and consumer confidence, and rapidly improving economic activity.
Supply constraints, labor shortages, shipping bottlenecks, and a slow return to work are contributing to inflation and holding back the economy in the near term, but, as these things ease, robust corporate earnings growth is poised to follow suit in, our opinion. We believe that the global reopening has been delayed, and, as these supply side bottlenecks ease, economic expansion will continue.
As we get deeper into recovery, concerns about high debt levels, corporate profit margins, decelerating growth, virus mutations, and a more hawkish Federal Reserve could affect equity valuations. Inflation and the Fed response to it will be of vigorous interest throughout the remainder of the year. In its latest public messaging, we think the Fed has already passed the threshold from Dovish to Hawkish regarding its messaging on inflation, given the persistence of supply chain constraints and rising prices.
As the drum-beat for Fed tapering grows louder, we think the market could transition incrementally away from speculative and early cycle stocks and rotate increasingly to growth and quality, as tapering begins to reduce liquidity, while peaking growth rates cause investors to be more discerning about cyclically-oriented equities.
We believe the portfolio is well-positioned for an environment of increased economic optimism and higher long-term interest rates. But this is a result of our bottom-up process, not the implementation of any top-down view. We are under-exposed to hyper-growth companies with sky high valuation multiples because we don’t think they currently present us with an attractive risk/reward profile. While we are mindful of macroeconomic fluctuations, they do not drive our investment process. We will continue to invest in businesses with solid growth opportunities, durable competitive advantages, scalable business models, and good management teams, when they are trading at attractive valuations, in our opinion. Thank you for your continued support.
We get to know the companies we invest in and learn how they run their business.
Top-Down & Bottom-Up
We identify Top-Down broad, secular growth trends and search for companies from the Bottom-Up.
We construct our portfolios based on our own proprietary investment strategy.
Sticking to our disciplined investment strategy ensures we maintain a consistent, balanced approach.
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Morningstar Sustainability Rating™
The Morningstar Sustainability Rating™ is intended to measure how well the issuing companies of the securities within a fund’s portfolio holdings are managing their financially material environmental, social and governance, or ESG, risks relative to the fund’s Morningstar Global Category peers. The Morningstar Sustainability Rating calculation is a five -step process. First, each fund with at least 67% of assets covered by a company-level ESG Risk Score from Sustainalytics receives a Morningstar Portfolio Sustainability Score. The Morningstar Portfolio Sustainability Score is an asset weighted average of company-level ESG Risk Scores. The Portfolio Sustainability Score ranges between 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating that a fund has, on average, more of its assets invested in companies with high ESG Risk. Second, the Historical Sustainability Score is an exponential weighted moving average of the Portfolio Sustainability Scores over the past 12 months. The process rescales the current Portfolio Sustainability Score to reflect the consistency of the scores. The Historical Sustainability Score ranges between 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating that a fund has, on average, more of its assets invested in companies with high ESG Risk, on a consistent historical basis. Third, the Morningstar Sustainability Rating is then assigned to all scored funds within Morningstar Global Categories in which at least thirty (30) funds receive a Historical Sustainability Score and is determined by each fund’s Morningstar Sustainability Rating Score rank within the following distribution: High (highest 10%), Above Average (next 22.5%), Average (next 35%), Below Average (next 22.5%), and Low (lowest 10%). Fourth, Morningstar applies a 1% rating buffer from the previous month to increase rating stability. This means a fund must move 1% beyond the rating breakpoint to change ratings. Fifth, they adjust downward positive Sustainability Ratings to funds with high ESG Risk scores. The logic is as follows: If Portfolio Sustainability score is above 40, then the fund receives a Low Sustainability Rating. If Portfolio Sustainability score is above 35 and preliminary rating is Average or better, then the fund is downgraded to Below Average. If the Portfolio Sustainability score is above 30 and preliminary rating is Above Average, then the fund is downgraded to Average. If the Portfolio Sustainability score is below 30, then no adjustment is made. The Morningstar Sustainability Rating is depicted by globe icons where High equals 5 globes and Low equals 1 globe. Since a Sustainability Rating is assigned to all funds that meet the above criteria, the rating it is not limited to funds with explicit sustainable or responsible investment mandates. Morningstar updates its Sustainability Ratings monthly. The Portfolio Sustainability Score is calculated when Morningstar receives a new portfolio. Then, the Historical Sustainability Score and the Sustainability Rating is calculated one month and six business days after the reported as-of date of the most recent portfolio. As part of the evaluation process, Morningstar uses Sustainalytics’ ESG scores from the same month as the portfolio as-of date. Please click on http://corporate1.morningstar.com/SustainableInvesting/ for more detailed information about the Morningstar Sustainability Rating methodology and calculation frequency. Sustainalytics is an independent ESG and corporate governance research, ratings, and analysis firm. Morningstar, Inc. holds a non-controlling ownership interest in Sustainalytics.
Morningstar Low Carbon Designation™
The Morningstar® Low Carbon Designation™ is intended to allow investors to easily identify low-carbon funds across the global universe. The designation is an indicator that the companies held in a portfolio are in general alignment with the transition to a low-carbon economy. The designation is given to portfolios that have low carbon-risk scores and low levels of exposure to fossil fuels. To determine carbon-risk scores and fossil fuel involvement, Morningstar uses Sustainalytics' company-level data. The Morningstar® Portfolio Carbon Risk Score™ measures the risk that companies in a portfolio face from the transition to a low-carbon economy. The Morningstar® Portfolio Fossil Fuel Involvement™ percentage assesses the degree to which a portfolio is exposed to thermal coal extraction and power generation as well as oil and gas production, power generation, and products & services. To receive a Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score, at least 67% of portfolio assets must have a carbon-risk rating from Sustainalytics. The percentage of assets covered is rescaled to 100% before calculating the score. To receive the designation, a portfolio must meet two criteria: 1) a 12-month trailing average Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score below 10 and 2) a 12-month trailing average exposure to fossil fuels less than 7% of assets, which is approximately a 33% underweighting to the global equity universe. Funds receive the Low Carbon designation based on the most recent quarterly calculations of their 12- month trailing average Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Scores and Morningstar Portfolio Fossil Fuel Involvement. Funds holding the Low Carbon designation that no longer meet the criteria will not receive the designation for the subsequent quarter. All Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Metrics, including the Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score, Morningstar Portfolio Fossil Fuel Involvement, and the Morningstar Low Carbon Designation, are calculated quarterly. Please visit http://corporate1.morningstar.com/SustainableInvesting/ for more detail information about the Morningstar Low Carbon Designation and its calculation. Sustainalytics is an independent ESG and corporate governance research, ratings, and analysis firm. Morningstar, Inc. holds a non-controlling ownership interest in Sustainalytics.