Bloomberg News

Archie MacAllaster, Barron’s Investor Panelist, Dies at 82

September 30, 2011

(Adds MacAllaster stock forecast in ninth, 10th paragraphs.)

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Archie MacAllaster, chairman of New York City investment firm MacAllaster Pitfield Mackay, who shared his market observations as a longtime member of Barron’s investor roundtable, has died. He was 82.

He died Sept. 24 at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The cause was complications from colon cancer, according to his son, David, the firm’s president. A resident of Fairfield, Connecticut, since 1962, MacAllaster was actively managing the firm as recently as three weeks ago, his son said today in an interview.

For many years, his firm was a market maker in banking and insurance stocks. Peter Lynch, in his book “Beating the Street,” called MacAllaster “a savvy investor in the over-the- counter market.”

MacAllaster began his career in the Montreal office of Canadian investment company Pitfield, Mackay & Ross Ltd. After two years, he was dispatched to run in its New York office. In 1984, he purchased the firm’s U.S. unit, which he reorganized under the name MacAllaster Pitfield Mackay.

David MacAllaster said his father began sharing his insights through Barron’s roundtables in the 1970s “because, number one, he thought he had good ideas to share. But he also got a lot of calls from people who wanted him to manage their money” after reading his views. “He just enjoyed doing stock picking.”

Lunch With Buffett

One of his best picks came in the late 1950s or early 1960s for the Pilgrim Fund, which he was managing, and was prompted by a lunch with Warren Buffett, his son recalled.

“He was so impressed with Warren Buffett’s intelligence, the first thing he did when he came back to the office was purchase 12,000 shares of Berkshire Hathaway for his fund,” a stake that today would be worth more than $1.2 billion.

Within about one year, MacAllaster concluded that running a mutual fund and a brokerage created conflicts, and he turned over control of the Pilgrim Fund, his son said -- “and the first thing the new manager did was sell the 12,000 shares of Berkshire Hathaway.”

MacAllaster viewed himself as particularly knowledgeable about the insurance industry, and at the start of 2011 he advised investors to be buying.

‘Place to Be’

“As a group, the life-insurance business is a great place to be,” he told Barron’s in January. “You could buy almost all of them. The old, senior, the well-vested companies, they should be bought. They’re cheap.”

Three months ago, as part of the Barron’s midyear 2011 market assessment, MacAllaster said he saw “lots and lots of bargains, long-term,” in financial stocks. “The problem is, define long-term,” he added.

“The Obama administration is anti-business,” he said. “The president is good on his feet. He speaks well. He has a sense of humor. But he is anti-business because he never grew up with business. Also, the two parties don’t get along, which makes things difficult for business. In this environment it is hard to know what stocks will do.”

Archie Freeman MacAllaster II was born on Oct. 16, 1928, in Watertown, New York. He attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, before graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. He served four years in the Navy.

MacAllaster was a trustee emeritus at St. Lawrence. The university president’s residence was renamed MacAllaster House in 1999, in recognition of his financial support for its renovation.

In addition to son David, survivors include his wife, Barbara Torrey MacAllaster; a daughter, Sara; and a granddaughter, Alexandra. Another son, Archie III, known as Sandy, died in 1979.

--Editors: Charles W. Stevens, Steven Gittelson,

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurence Arnold in Washington at larnold4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Charles W. Stevens at cstevens@bloomberg.net


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