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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A 59-Year-Old Star Value PM Dies

News summary by MFWire's editors

A star value investing entrepreneur has passed away at the age of 59.

the late Charles de Vaulx
According to multiple published reports, Charles de Vaulx died on Monday afternoon in an apparent suicide. De Vaulx served as chairman and chief investment officer of New York City-based International Value Advisers, LLC (IVA [profile]).

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our Chairman and CIO, Charles de Vaulx," the IVA team recently posted on their homepage. "The entire IVA community convey their deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time."

Barron's, Citywire, Morningstar, the New York Post, and Reuters all covered the news of de Vaulx's death.

De Vaulx died about a week after IVA liquidated its two mutual funds, as expected. The firm (which once peaked at $20 billion in AUM) offered no explanation for the exit, though it's no secret that recent years have been tough on value investing strategies, IVA's focus.

In 1985, de Vaulx (an alumnus of Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Rouen in France) started out as an analyst at Societe Generale, and two years later he joined the SoGen Funds, working under Jean-Marie Eveillard. He stayed on Societe Generale sold the funds to Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder (now known as First Eagle Investment Management) in 1999, and the funds rebranded under A&SB's First Eagle Funds brand.

Eveillard and de Vaulx won the 2001 Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year Award in the international stock category, for their work on the First Eagle SoGen Global Fund. And in later 2004, Eveillard passed the reins to de Vaulx as First Eagle's top PM.

Then, in 2007, de Vaulx shocked the investing world by resigning from First Eagle, forcing Eveillard to come back out of retirement at First Eagle. After his non-compete ended in 2008, de Vaulx popped up at IVA, a new boutique founded by a quartet of First Eagle alumni, as it entered the mutual fund business. Less than three years later, IVA closed its two mutual funds to new investors; they didn't reopen them to new investors for more than seven years.

De Vaulx was known as an outspoken, unflinching, deep-value investor.

"Others were willing to compromise and try some new approaches to adapt," Gregg Wolper, senior analyst at Morningstar, tells Barron's. "De Vaulx didn't think that was appropriate, and stuck to the deep value approach. His investors appreciated it because there weren't many other places to find that."

The First Eagle team posted a statement conveying their condolences to de Vaulx's friends and family.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of our former colleague Charles de Vaulx," the First Eagle team writes. "A long-time champion of value investing, Charles left an indelible mark on the investment management industry and on those who had the opportunity to work with him. He was a key contributor to First Eagle's Global Value team under the leadership of Jean-Marie Eveillard." "I will always miss the young intern who helped me when I needed help at SoGen in 1987, and that continued at First Eagle," Eveillard tells Barron's. "He set the example for everyone else." 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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