Kristi Rowsell - December 31, 2014
Divergent equity market returns marked 2014. U.S. markets continued their six-year climb while foreign market returns were mixed, with most declining in U.S. dollar terms. The global bond market was strong in 2014, as benchmark interest rates ended the year lower than many had expected. As we enter the new year, we continue to believe that the companies we own represent good value and that a meaningful allocation to equities is an important component of long-term wealth creation.
Oakmark Account Access Site
We are pleased to announce that we have released an upgrade to the shareholder Account Access site on oakmark.com. The site has been redesigned to better serve shareholders who hold their accounts directly with the Funds’ transfer agent and interact through oakmark.com or with a service representative at 1-800-OAKMARK. We think the new design and improved navigation are now much more intuitive, allowing you to quickly evaluate your investments and efficiently execute desired transactions. Shareholders owning more than one Fund will enjoy the new Portfolio Summary, which displays accounts either by registration or by Fund, whichever users choose. The opening page will also allow shareholders to initiate most actions from a standard banner with one-click navigation, and this navigational format is consistent throughout the site. We have also enhanced the security provisions. Upon logging in for the first time, you will be asked to establish three security questions and answers, which will then be used to verify your identity. Congratulations to our Mutual Fund Services team for a job well done.
Personal Investments in the Funds
At the end of each year, we update our shareholders on the level of investment in the Oakmark Funds by Harris Associates personnel and Oakmark trustees. We think this demonstrates our commitment to shareholders and exemplifies the conviction behind our investing philosophy. When we evaluate companies for potential investment, we look for management teams with high levels of personal stock ownership. We believe that managers who have tied their wealth directly to their company’s stock show that their interests are aligned with their investors. You should take comfort that we apply the same principle internally at Harris Associates. When we buy a company for investment, it’s being added to Funds in which we have personal assets—put simply, our personal assets move in tandem with our shareholders’ assets. Plus, we experience first-hand the same tax consequences and service levels as our shareholders. Managers who personally invest in their own funds help reinforce the foundation for good long-term stewardship.
We are proud to report that, as of December 31, 2014, the value of Oakmark Funds owned by the employees of Harris Associates, our families and the Funds’ officers and trustees was more than $435 million. Sharing this information attests to our personal conviction that our Funds remain attractive investments for the future.
Thank you for your continued investment in the Oakmark Funds. As always, you can reach us via email at ContactOakmark@oakmark.com.
President of The Oakmark Funds
President of Harris Associates L.P.
The above information should not be considered tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for detailed information applicable to your unique situation.
The discussion of the Funds’ investments and investment strategy (including current investment themes, the portfolio managers' research and investment process, and portfolio characteristics) represents the Funds’ investments and the views of the portfolio managers and Harris Associates L.P., the Funds' investment adviser, at the time of this letter, and are subject to change without notice.