Successful Value Manager Dies in Kenya Crash

July 21, 2003 ( - George Brumley III, who was killed in a plane crash in Kenya on Saturday, was a successful young fund manager who built up his Oak Value Capital Management from nothing in the mid-1980s to a $1.3-billion firm.

Throughout his career, Brumley, 42, stuck fast to the principles of value investing, buying stocks cheap and holding them for years as they rise in value, Reuters reported. He steered clear of the late 1990s technology boom, and established a reputation as a fair dealer and passionate investor.

“He struck me as a real straight shooter, not trying to hype anything,” Dan McNeela, an analyst at financial research firm Morningstar Inc., who met Brumley several months ago, told Reuters. Brumley and the investment team at Oak Value “were some of the most passionate investors that we’ve talked to,” McNeela said. “They just loved what they did.”

Brumley and 11 members of his extended family, including his parents, wife and two children, were killed on Saturday in a plane crash in Kenya. They were traveling on vacation when their charter flight crashed on Mount Kenya. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Immediately after graduating from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1986, Brumley set up Oak Value with partner David Carr Jr. It was a fulfillment of plans hatched while at Duke, where Brumley and a small number of friends took an interest in value investing, the then-unfashionable style developed by investing authority Benjamin Graham and later perfected by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

The Oak Value Fund, the company’s mutual fund offering, was launched in 1993. The fund took a beating in 1999, falling 3.1% when even day traders with no experience were making a fortune. Brumley’s firm refused to abandon its value approach, avoiding the red-hot technology and Internet stocks.