history | Capital Group

Our history and core beliefs

For more than 80 years, Capital has had a consistent investment philosophy — one established by JB Lovelace when he founded the company during the Great Depression:

  • To buy the securities of good companies at reasonable prices
  • To thoroughly research a company before you invest in it to determine its actual worth
  • To always be guided by a commitment to honesty and integrity

By adhering to these principles, Capital Group has grown into one of the world's largest investment management firms.

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    Founded during the Great Depression

    Two years after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the US was grappling with the worst depression in its history. More than 40% of US banks had closed and one out of every four Americans were out of work. It was against this bleak backdrop that Jonathan Bell Lovelace, an investment professional who had honed his research techniques in the roaring '20s with a Detroit investment firm, decided to set up his own business in California. His vision was to build an investment company that recognised the importance of value, solid research and maintaining a long-term perspective – principles that had helped him avoid the worst of the stock market slump of 1929.

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    The beginnings of global investing

    Capital becomes one of the first investment managers to invest globally. Its first investment outside the US was in oil company Royal Dutch, which later became Royal Dutch Shell. The principles that underpinned the global approach back then are even more relevant today: investing across the broadest possible range of securities is a path to superior, more consistent returns.

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    The birth of a distinctive investment process

    Capital creates and implements an approach to managing investments that blends teamwork with individual accountability: The Capital SystemSM. By dividing assets among several portfolio managers, The Capital SystemSM allows each manager the freedom to invest according to his or her strongest convictions. The disciplined-yet-flexible approach is aimed at tempering volatility, which provides continuity in portfolio management and enhances long-term results.

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    Putting the CI into MSCI

    Drawing on its expertise in global investing, Capital creates the first ever global stock indices. Later sold to Morgan Stanley, these became the MSCI - probably the most recognisable and widely-used family of investment indices in the world.

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    Expanding into fixed income

    Broadening the range of its investment services, Capital begins managing fixed income assets in dedicated bond portfolios. Today, the company manages more than US $200 billion in fixed-income assets, making it one of the largest bond managers in the world.

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    An emerging markets pioneer

    Capital Group (formerly Capital International) is asked by the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank, to help set up a fund that allows institutions to invest in emerging markets. This leads to the creation of the Capital International Emerging Markets Growth Fund, the first of its kind in the world.

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    Leading the way in private equity

    With the global economy recovering from recession in 1992, Capital launched its first private equity fund. At that time, the market was very much in its infancy with only about US $10 billion in committed private equity investments worldwide. Since then, Capital has gone on to launch four more private equity funds, investing in more than 70 companies that operate in emerging markets across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

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    Building research resources in China and India

    Capital opens research offices in Mumbai, India, and Beijing, China, which adds to its extensive network of analysts across the world. These developments also enhance Capital's ability to find and support investment opportunities in some of the world’s fastest-expanding markets.