William Danoff (born 1959–60) is a vice-president and portfolio manager of Fidelity Contrafund, since 1990. At US$129 billion, Contrafund is the largest actively managed stock or bond mutual fund run by one person.
Education and early career
Danoff has a degree in history from Harvard and an MBA from Wharton, and joined Fidelity in 1986 as an analyst. He trained under Peter Lynch, who managed Fidelity's Magellan Fund from obscurity in the 1970s to the world's largest mutual fund in the 1980s.
William Danoff is the single manager of the Fidelity Investments' flagship mutual fund Contrafund. Contrafund is one of Fidelity's largest mutual funds holding over $129 billion in assets, making it the largest single-manager mutual fund in the world. Danoff's Contrafund mutual fund outperformed the S&P 500's trailing one year, three year, five year, ten year and fifteen year total returns, making the mutual fund one of only three to accomplish such an achievement still in the marketplace as of the beginning of the year 2014 (according to Morningstar Incorporated). As of July 2018, the fund has continued its outperformance over the S&P 500.
The size of the Fidelity Contrafund is the second largest actively managed mutual fund in the market as it sits now behind the American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX). The American Funds Growth Fund of America holds about $138.9 Billion; only approximately a quarter larger than William Danoff's captained Fidelity Contrafund. The other thing to be considered in the comparison between the American Funds Growth Fund of America and the Fidelity Contrafund is that the American Funds' flagship mutual fund has eleven to twelve managers where the Fidelity Contrafund is only managed by William Danoff; this fact contributes to the industry praise and belief that Danoff is a mutual fund managing prodigy. William Danoff said in an interview in the summer of 2013 to help explain his success - "Larger funds have a higher degree of difficulty. For me, it's the ability to make big bets — it's harder. My denominator is so big that it's not that easy to find really great stories at scale."