It is hard to find fund managers who think differently, but Dave Foord is one of them. Whenever a consultant, usually trained as an actuary, asks him whether he fits into the "value at reasonable growth" camp or the "quality contrarian" camp, he brushes it off by calling himself an empirical pragmatist.He began his career in the stifling bureaucracy of the Old Mutual investment department of the 1970s. There, he spent most of his working day playing bridge because the work was so undemanding. He founded his business, Foord Asset Management, in 1981.Foord might be the only true long-term investor left in SA.Allan Gray has been around since 1974, but now that Allan Gray himself has died, his firm looks increasingly like just another large manager. Gray’s returns in the Large Manager Watch have been not too hot and not too cold.But Foord has taken risks that don’t always pay off in the short-term. He has been ninth out of 10 unit trust managers, besting only the hapless Oasis, over one...

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