Harbor Global Leaders Fund Institutional Class (HGGAX)

Investment Philosophy

The Fund invests primarily in the equity securities of companies located anywhere in the world, including in developed and emerging markets. Under normal market conditions, the Fund expects to invest in at least three countries, including the United States, and invest at least 40% of its assets in foreign companies.

The Fund may invest in companies at any stage of their growth lifecycles but will focus on companies that the Subadviser believes are capable of generating sustainable, above-average, and relatively stable rates of earnings per share growth and strong free cash flows. The Subadviser seeks investment opportunities in companies that the Subadviser believes are leaders in their country, industry, or globally in terms of products, services, or execution. While the Fund may invest in equity securities of companies of any size, the Fund will primarily invest in large and mid-capitalization companies. As such, the Fund will generally not invest in companies with a market capitalization of less than $2 billion at the time of acquisition, and its total median market capitalization will typically be significantly greater than that of the MSCI All Country World Index, the Fund's benchmark.

In selecting securities for the Fund, the Subadviser utilizes a fundamental, bottom-up, business-focused research approach. The Subadviser seeks to identify growing businesses that meet the following six investment criteria:

  • Sustainable above-average earnings growth;
  • Leadership position in a promising business space;
  • Significant competitive advantages;
  • Clear mission and value-added focus;
  • Financial strength; and
  • Rational valuation relative to the market and business prospects.

Companies that the Subadviser determines may meet all six investment criteria are then analyzed with in-depth qualitative and quantitative research, including competitive analysis and proprietary financial modeling.

The investment process generally results in a portfolio of 30-50 companies and, from time to time, may result in more substantial investments in particular sectors. Sector allocations are the outcome of the Subadviser's bottom-up investment process. From time to time, the Fund may have significant investments in one or more countries. The Fund may invest up to the greater of 30% of its assets or three times the emerging markets component of the Index, in securities of companies located in emerging markets. As of December 31, 2018, the emerging markets component of the Index comprised 11.8% of the total index.

The Fund intends to hold securities for the longer term, generally three to five years. The Subadviser may sell or trim back a particular holding as a result of the Subadviser's identification of an issue that negatively impacts the Subadviser's assessment of one or more of the six investment criteria discussed above that the Subadviser believes cannot be resolved within an acceptable time frame. The Subadviser may also sell a holding if it believes the security has become materially overvalued relative to its underlying business, for risk management purposes, and/or if a more attractive investment opportunity is identified.

The equity securities in which the Fund invests include common stocks as well as preferred securities. The Fund may also purchase American Depositary Receipts ("ADRs"), European Depositary Receipts ("EDRs") and Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs and, together with ADRs and EDRs, "Depositary Receipts"), which are certificates typically issued by a bank or trust company that represent ownership interests in securities issued by a foreign or domestic company.

The Fund may use foreign exchange spot contracts and foreign exchange forwards to seek to hedge currency exposure. A foreign exchange spot contract is an agreement to buy or sell a specific currency for immediate delivery (i.e., "on the spot") as opposed to a set date in the future. The Fund may also invest in market access products, such as low exercise price warrants ("LEPWs") and participatory notes ("P-notes"), to seek to gain economic exposure to markets where holding an underlying local security is not feasible or economical. A "market access product" is a derivative security that provides market exposure to an underlying foreign issuer.


Investing in international and emerging markets poses special risks, including potentially greater price volatility due to social, political and economic factors, as well as currency exchange rate fluctuations. These risks are more severe for securities of issuers in emerging market regions.

Since the Fund typically invests in a limited number of companies, an adverse event affecting a particular company may hurt the Fund's performance more than if it had invested in a larger number of companies.

Stock markets are volatile and equity values can decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market and economic conditions.