Seeking Alpha

WSJ: Berkshire "apprentices" outdo the master

  • Portfolios managed by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler did better last year than Warren Buffett's and the S&P 500, the WSJ reports.
  • That's the second consecutive year that both men, who were hired as part of Berkshire's succession plan, have beaten Buffett and the index.
  • Combs and Weschler have begun 2014 with over $7B each to manage, up from $3B at the start of 2012.
  • However, in 2013, Berkshire Hathaway fell short, for the first time, of Buffett's target of increasing the company's net worth more quickly than gains on the S&P over five years. Still, Berkshire's stock price jumped 30% in 2013.
Comments (19)
  • this is good news for BRK shareholders! and speaks nothing to the oracle's calibre - i am loving it!
    19 Jan, 03:08 AM Reply Like
  • to be honest I'm quite disappointed about the results of the share BRK.B
    19 Jan, 03:16 AM Reply Like
  • That's too bad. It's not a stock for clueless people.
    22 Jan, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • I'm a man living in Switzerland involved in the fx market
    19 Jan, 03:17 AM Reply Like
  • Good news for (BRK.B) shareholders, assuming most can't afford 1 share of (BRK.A). Forget about diversifying. Just buy (BRK.B), (IEP), and (FIG). They all are actually funds of companies.
    19 Jan, 04:22 AM Reply Like
  • I trust BERKSHIRE but only in the long run because MCDONALD , COCACOLA, WALL MART are not working well , so n so for Wells Fargo , but I'm worried about the last investment of 4,1 b. in EXXON where the price of the oil is going down .
    19 Jan, 09:26 AM Reply Like
  • (BRK.B) does not own any shares of (MCD) anymore, if I'm correct.
    20 Jan, 06:25 AM Reply Like
  • I took a look at IEP and FIG--too illiquid for me.
    20 Jan, 03:31 PM Reply Like
  • Did you check (BX) and (KFN), too?
    20 Jan, 03:44 PM Reply Like
  • Two years is not nearly long enough for meaningful results according to Buffett's standards.


    I think the law of large numbers has caught up with BRK. It is not a surprise that SPY has beaten BRK.B handily over the last 5 years. Interestingly, to me at least, is that VWELX has also beaten BRK.B.
    19 Jan, 04:27 AM Reply Like
  • Five positive years of SPY... Wait for an SPY dip and BRK will blow right past
    19 Jan, 07:25 AM Reply Like
  • SPY is like a self-fulfilling prophecy(or a vicious cycle). It creates its own momentum, either up or down. I believe that Rob1492 is right on! Look at BRK vs S&P 500 history. Also good to see the
    "new kids" doing well. Nothing is ever certain, though. Bill Miller cost me a fortune a few years
    ago- only bright spot is that it was in a taxable account!
    19 Jan, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • Looks like Combs and Weschler have done better than Einhorn, Loeb, etc.
    19 Jan, 12:23 PM Reply Like
  • Warren always does better in bear markets. he tells us that. he says "we tend to do better when the wind is in our faces...rather than our backs". stupid to compare brk.a during bull markets.
    19 Jan, 01:14 PM Reply Like
  • Speculation is at a 5-year high based on recent market sentiment, IPO mania, outperformance of small cap stocks, and bubble behavior in social media, 3D printing, unprofitable biotechs, etc.


    When the current frenzy of speculation burns out, Berkshire will likely outperform the market. Berkshire will become a go-to stock when greed turns to fear. Wall Street will remember the deals that Buffett received during the last bear market, and the Berkshire cash horde will console the nervous money managers who need to stay invested in stocks.
    20 Jan, 02:38 AM Reply Like
  • too short of a timeline and they were given a smaller piece of the pie to play with, naturally they should be able to beat the master
    20 Jan, 09:45 AM Reply Like
  • Berksire's stock price rose 30% but not their gains making their performance well below par. Even so, the real proof will be if they lose less or don't lose at all when the market goes down. The master is decided not on who hits the hardest, but who doesn't go down.
    20 Jan, 01:11 PM Reply Like
  • Everyone is a genius during a bull market.
    20 Jan, 02:22 PM Reply Like
  • Price to book has been on a downward slope for years. BRK is also now closing in on the buyback number (1.2). What can't continue won't--BRK looks pretty solid going forward.
    21 Jan, 01:20 AM Reply Like
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