Many advisors enjoy throwing a client appreciation day or an open house for clients and their friends or various other events.

Sometimes they’ll bring in an expert on a particular subject to talk to a subset of clients who might be perplexed by that issue. These meetings can be an effective means to strengthen client relationships and create new ones.

But mutual fund proprietor Ron Baron has taken client appreciation days to a completely different level. In early November, I attended the meeting at New York City’s Lincoln Center with about 5,000 shareholders in Baron Funds. Any shareholder with more than $25,000 in assets is welcome to attend.

A primary draw to the extravaganza is the surprise speakers. This year’s cadre of speakers included Mel Brooks, Billy Crystal and Kate McKinnon and other Saturday Night Live comedians. Past entertainers have included Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Elton John, Chris Rock and Barbra Streisand. Entertainers like these don’t come cheap.

But the event isn’t simply about entertainment. It also provides an opportunity for Baron shareholders to listen to CEOs from various companies that the fund complex has invested in. Tesla’s Elon Musk addressed the audience a few years ago.

There also are a series of panels affording managers of different Baron funds a chance to share their strategies. Most of them are as enthusiastic as Baron himself when it comes to finding tomorrow’s great growth companies.

The past decade has played right into their hands, and Baron himself is an evangelist for capitalism. Near the end of the event, he advocated for 30 minutes in favor of immigration with deep passion.

As the economy has moved from the industrial era to the age of knowledge, growth stocks have trounced their value counterparts. Alex Umansky, who runs two Baron funds, observed that value might enjoy a comeback at some point when investors are focused on the short-term here and now. But when they are looking out five or 10 years, growth will dominate the opportunity set.

Baron portfolios are loaded with disruptors and companies that have mastered data collection and organization. When asked about the growing controversy companies like Facebook and Google parent Alphabet are facing, Baron managers are convinced they face only short-term headline risk.

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