State street. Massachusetts investment trust. Parker Putnam and Nightingale / Incorporated Investors. Wellington in Philadelphia
But something in the Lefèvre story touched a resonant chord in Ed Johnson’s soul. Through the Lefèvre lens, Johnson said, he saw Wall Street as a world in which it was every man for himself, no favors aske or given. You were what you were, not because you were a friend of somebody but for yourself. These thoughts, if uttered at the time, might have profoundly fright ened the older generation of Bostonians-for whom being “a friend of somebody” was the essential currency of a life built around the right schools, the right clubs, and the right philanthropic boards. Outwardly, at least, Ed Johnson conformed to social expectations.
…Management believes in concentrating on fundamental and relative values rather than preoccupation with what the market is going to do
[ Ed Johnson ] was an intensely analytical man…his friendly blue eyes look out at you from behind his glasses with flattering absorption…his hobbies were dutifully cited: extensive and eclectic reading – he loves to browse in a number of widely diverse fields such as the theory of popular music, dietetics and psychology – and travel, especially to the Midwest and the pacific coast
[ in 1949 ] Ed Johnson was still not a prominent player in the mutual fund industry, but we was poised to become one. He had assembled his team of trusted advisers…and he and his three headed animal were saddled and ready to ride into the mutual fund stampede
His comments on the psychology of crowds revealed a man in touch with himself. “All of us have inside us a part of the crowd;” he offered almost ethereal advice about “staying focused” as today’s self awareness gurus would say; “the present is really the only thing that anybody can actually use…there is not much you can do with the future. You can’t love it, you can’t taste it, you can only dream about it.” … in one memorable address, he described with great sincerity the attraction of being a professional investor. “We have the ability to change businesses, which the ordinary man in a particular business does not. This is one of the things that makes our business so unnatural, but also, very satisfying too. So fascinating is our business that we have difficulty holding very good men, because a man who can fairly consistently, on balance, make substantial money in securities is rare and he is coveted by the whole world. One of the things that may hold him, I think, is the fascination of the business of investing and the universality of it… “the stock market represents anything that anybody has ever hoped, feared, hated or loved. It is all of life. You leave that and you go to xyz bottling company, and the rest of your life is bottles”