The case for growth


Alex Ely

  • Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer — US Growth Equity
  • Read bio

I’ve always loved the stock market. I started investing as a teenager, and I have never stopped enjoying the ins and outs, the triumphs and the tragedies that the market constantly delivers. I’ve dedicated my life’s work to it, and I revel in its history, desperately trying to understand the past so I can grasp the future. I’m also impatient, which I guess helped me lean toward growth investing in the first place. I always want something to happen, but over the years, as my understanding crystalizes, I look longer term – not too long, but I don’t worry about the day-to-day issues. I don’t get caught up in the worry of the week, month, or year. Why? Because the vast majority of the time, it doesn’t matter.

I know, it sounds flippant and could be viewed as not diligent. But I have watched for decades as some in the media try to make investors feel anxious about one thing or another, and, almost always, it doesn’t play out. They may sound smart talking about multitrillion-dollar economic moves. They may seem prudent warning you of calamities to come. But the reality, in my view, is that they are costing you money. And not just a little. I believe they are keeping you from wealth.

That is what we’re looking for. That is our goal as an investment team – to create wealth in a diligent way for our clients.

First, you need to recognize that wealth is most often created by growth. Look at the facts. Look at the concentrations of wealth in our society. Many have come from companies that have had enormous growth in our time. Apple, Microsoft, Disney, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Visa, Home Depot.* These are just a few of today’s largest corporations, and most of these started in the past 50 years.

So where does growth come from? It comes from disruptions. Disruptions are induced by innovation or technology, whereupon an industry undergoes a foundational change to a better, cheaper, faster way of doing things. When this change occurs, there is a long, secular shift to new ways because of the efficiencies they provide and the productivity gains they garner. This is the creative-destruction process that occurs in every kind of economy, but is fully embraced in the United States. Our accounting standards, laws, and regulations are as good as any other country’s, but the kicker is our innovative spirit. You see, in the US, we are all a bunch of cowboys. We like hope, dreams, and risk. It's part of our culture.

What is creative destruction? It’s when the new way of doing things is created, forcing the old way to be destroyed. Think of the internal combustion engine versus horse travel, or the light bulb versus candlesticks. We migrate to better, cheaper, faster ways in a secular way because of the efficiencies they provide.

This is when I get excited. Not just about the past, but about the future. These disruptions are always happening. Always. Look at today. Changes like ecommerce, mobile financial services, and virtual healthcare. These are big industries undergoing foundational change. We believe that leaders of major disruptions will continue to create value – and wealth – in the equity markets for years to come.


*As of June 30, 2021, shares of Amazon Com Inc., Apple Inc., and Microsoft Corp. constituted 2.68%, 1.77%, and 2.22% position weights respectively within the Delaware Select Growth portfolio managed by the investment team. The companies are mentioned for informational purposes only and the portfolio positions are subject to change at any time. Discussion of the companies should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Equity securities are subject to price fluctuation and possible loss of principal. As a class, equities carry higher risks than bonds or money market instruments.

The views expressed represent the investment team’s assessment of the market environment as of August 2021, and should not be considered a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell any security, and should not be relied on as research or investment advice. Views are subject to change without notice.


Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Diversification may not protect against market risk.

Economic trend information is sourced from Bloomberg unless otherwise noted.