Our Firm

Firm History

Parnassus Investments was founded by Jerome L. Dodson in 1984 as an investment management company offering responsible investment funds to the public. This was the culmination of his desire to provide investment products in a responsible manner.

After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1971, Dodson worked for the San Francisco Local Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that gave business and technical assistance to minority-owned businesses. In 1976, he helped organize Continental Savings and Loan and became its first president. Continental made loans to finance housing, and developed an innovative product for depositors to finance solar energy projects with competitive yields and capital preservation. In 1983, Dodson founded and became the first president of Working Assets Money Fund, a responsible investment money market fund.

Jerome L. Dodson founded the firm's namesake fund, Parnassus Fund, with $300,000 in initial seed capital from friends and family. The firm has grown to over $10.8 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2014 and now manages seven funds: five fundamental, U.S., core equity strategies across multiple market capitalizations, one Asia Pacific equity strategy and one U.S., fixed-income strategy.

Historical evolution of Parnassus Investments:

1984

  • Parnassus Investments is founded by Jerome L. Dodson with $300,000 in initial seed capital
  • Parnassus Fund (PARNX) is launched

1992

  • Parnassus Investments launches three new funds:
    • Parnassus Equity Income Fund (PRBLX) (launched as the Parnassus Balanced Fund)
    • Parnassus Fixed-Income Fund (PRFIX), the investment industrys first ESG fixed-income fund
    • Parnassus California Tax-Exempt Fund (PRCLX) (closed/liquidated as of December 14, 2007)

1995

1998

  • Parnassus Equity Income Fund changes strategy from balanced to equity income
  • Todd C. Ahlsten named Director of Research for Parnassus Investments

2001

  • Todd C. Ahlsten named Co-Portfolio Manager of the Parnassus Equity Income Fund
  • Firm assets under management reach $500 million

2002

  • Todd C. Ahlsten named sole Portfolio Manager of the Parnassus Equity Income Fund

2003

  • Firm assets under management reach $1 billion

2004

  • Parnassus Investments elects to remain independent and starts adding to investment team

2005

  • Parnassus Investments launches three new funds:
    • Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund (PARMX)
    • Parnassus Small-Cap Fund (PARSX)
    • Parnassus Workplace Fund (PARWX)

2006

  • Institutional share class of the Parnassus Equity Income Fund (PRILX) is launched on April 30th

2008

  • Todd C. Ahlsten named Chief Investment Officer for Parnassus Investments
  • Benjamin E. Allen named Director of Research for Parnassus Investments
  • Matthew D. Gershuny and Lori A. Keith named Co-Portfolio Managers of the Parnassus Mid-Cap Fund
  • Parnassus Investments becomes a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment

2009

  • Firm assets under management reach $3 billion
  • Parnassus Investments celebrates 25th anniversary

2010

  • Firm assets under management reach $4 billion
  • Parnassus Workplace Fund receives the Thompson Reuters U.S. Lipper Fund Award for the #1 multi-cap core fund over a three year period
  • Parnassus Investments recognized as the #1 Equity Fund Group in the Small Group category by the Thompson Reuters U.S. Lipper Fund Awards 2010. For more details about the Lipper awards, click here.

2011

  • Ryan S. Wilsey named Co-Portfolio Manager of the Parnassus Small-Cap Fund

2012

  • Firm assets under management reach $6 billion
  • Benjamin E. Allen named Co-Portfolio Manager of the Parnassus Equity Income Fund

2013

  • Parnassus Investments launches the Parnassus Asia Fund (PAFSX)
  • Ian Sexsmith and Romahlo I. Wilson named Co-Portfolio Managers of the Parnassus Fund
  • Samantha D. Palm named Portfolio Manager of the Parnassus Fixed-Income Fund
  • Firm assets under management reach $10 billion