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Milwaukee Money Managers

Nicholas, Fund Managers from Applied Security Analysis Program in Spotlight

by Staff Monday, March 5, 2012

A recent Bloomberg story spotlights Milwaukee as a magnet for top mutual funds. In December, Morningstar announced Milwaukee-based Artisan Partners and Fiduciary Management Inc. as domestic stock manager of the year finalists.

The mid-sized metropolis’s secret? 

According to Ab Nicholas (MBA 1955), the doyen of Milwaukee money managers: "We [Milwaukee fund managers] are not as influenced by fads and trends as people on the coasts. We are very independent.” Ab Nicholas has run the $1.7 billion Nicholas Fund since 1969. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from UW-Madison in 1952 and an MBA in 1955. In 1999, he became the Nicholas Center for Corporate Finance namesake.

Nicholas sums up his city’s success as the legacy of Frank Graner, his own mentor. The Applied Security Analysis Program, launched in the 1970s, eventually grew out of Graner’s classes. Today about 60 people working in Milwaukee firms graduated from the program, director Brian Hellmer said.