A Financial Leadership Conference
Raising the Standards for Active Financial Leadership

Fred Martin

Founder, Lead Portfolio Manager, Disciplined Growth Investors

Fred Martin founded Disciplined Growth Investors in 1997. As Founder and Lead Portfolio Manager, he oversees the operation of the firm and serves as an analyst, portfolio manager and head of the investment team. 

Fred’s investment management career spans four decades. By the time he founded DGI, he had already attracted a loyal client base of investors as a portfolio manager with Mitchell Hutchins Asset Management. Within its first year, DGI had attracted about $700 million of assets under management, a sum that has since swelled to about 5 billion. Fred credits that success to a meticulous investment management process and a commitment to client service. 

As a portfolio manager, Fred has built his investment process based on the strategies of the late Benjamin Graham, a prolific investment author and portfolio manager who was known as “The Father of Securities Analysis.” Fred has had the rare opportunity to not only prove out Graham’s strategy throughout his four decades as a money manager, but has also expanded on that strategy in a highly-acclaimed book, Benjamin Graham and the Power of Growth Stocks, which was published in 2011 by the same house—McGraw-Hill—that published Graham’s best-selling classics.

At DGI, Fred has overseen the growth of the firm from seven founding members to a diverse group of 17 investment, administrative, and data technology professionals. With all the pieces finally in place, Fred’s job is steadily morphing from ‘manager’ to ‘leader’ and ‘mentor’. “My role is evolving,” he says. “I’m a fierce guardian of the culture, but I do less and less of the day-to-day jobs. That gives me a chance to get my head out of the foxhole to see what’s coming.”

Fred has approached his leadership role with the same passion and scrutiny he puts into analyzing a promising stock. “Becoming a good leader is something you have to commit to. You have to work at it, understand it and develop it. I’ve read all the books, gone to leadership conferences and worked with consultants to develop my ability as a leader. One thing I’ve learned, a leader can often be a limiting factor. I try to make sure that doesn’t happen here, that I don’t get in the way of the employees, that the rules and procedures here are rational and that the employees buy into them, because if they don’t, they’re probably bad rules.”

Fred is also an active sportsman and fly fisherman, and a devout Christian and benefactor. He has three sons, an architect, a U.S. State Department executive, and an environmental consultant. He loves to ski in Vail. He plays golf and insists on walking. He also likes to play doubles tennis and works out on the elliptical nearly every day. He goes dancing with his wife every chance they get. “We love to dance. It’s not unusual for us to dance every song of a long set.”

Through all of his success, Fred has remained humble and unassuming. “He’s an Ivy League guy with a truck driver’s personality,” says DGI Director of Marketing Robert Buss. “He has a very broad vocabulary, yet there’s no other Dartmouth guy who uses the term ‘stuff’ as often as he does.”