Columbia Acorn Fund

3 / 5 Stars
3 3 3 4 3
Zacks Investment Research
3 (Hold)
Standard & Poor's
2 / 5 Stars
C- (Hold)

#126 in Mid-Cap Growth

U.S. News evaluated 223 Mid-Cap Growth Funds. Our list highlights the top-rated funds for long-term investors based on the ratings of leading fund industry researchers.

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The fund has returned 25.00 percent over the past year, 12.77 percent over the past three years, 25.31 percent over the past five years, and 9.69 percent over the past decade.

Trailing Returns Updated 02.28.2014
Year to date 1.7%
1 Year 25.0%
3 Years (Annualized) 12.8%
5 Years (Annualized) 25.3%
10 Years (Annualized) 9.7%

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Columbia Acorn is often cited for its size and its consistent long-term record.

As of March 05, 2014, the fund has assets totaling $21.27 billion. Its portfolio consists primarily of holdings in U.S. companies with a small percentage of assets in foreign stocks.

The fund is one of the largest actively managed mid-cap funds available, according to Morningstar. A focus on smaller companies means its portfolio is full of lesser-known names like Crown Castle International, which owns cellphone towers in the United States and Australia. Management says it is currently looking for companies “that will see superior earnings growth in an economic recovery.” This strategy has helped the fund achieve a 5 percent return this year, as of the end of the first quarter. The fund has returned 25.00 percent over the past year and 12.77 percent over the past three years.

Acorn’s structure gives its comanagers room to invest up to a third of the fund’s assets in foreign equities. Morningstar says the managers are known for their patience and low turnover, so investors shouldn’t expect too many quick moves in this portfolio of about 400 holdings. The managers are guided by a strict low-valuation strategy. The fund has returned 25.31 percent over the past five years and 9.69 percent over the past decade.

Investment Strategy

Normally, the fund invests a majority of its assets in companies with market capitalizations of less than $5 billion. Currently, the fund is only moderately invested in foreign equities, but the prospectus allows the managers to invest up to a third of its assets abroad.

Role in Portfolio

Morningstar calls the fund a “supporting player” role in portfolio and says, “The fund’s mid- and small-cap portfolio makes a good foil for investors’ large-cap holdings.”


Longtime manager Ralph Wanger left the fund in 2003. He was replaced by comanagers Chuck McQuaid and Rob Mohn. McQuaid has been with the fund since the late 1970s.


Columbia Acorn Fund has an expense ratio of 1.06 percent.

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Small companies can grow faster than larger ones but are sometimes more vulnerable to downturns.

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