Warren Buffett Wins $1 Million for Making $854,000

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In 2007, Warren Buffett bet hedge fund manager Ted Seidis that a low-cost S&P 500 index fund would outperform Seides' Protégé Partners hedge fund. The wager: $1 million. Here's what happened.

The bet was to last 10 years, and doesn't officially end until Dec. 31, but Seides has already conceded that Buffett's investment is the winner. During the 10-year period, Buffett's $1 million investment earned $854,000 while Seides funds only earned $220,000 during the same period.

Buffett's bet was based on a lowly assessment of Wall Street finance gurus, as he explained in his 2016 report to shareholders:

In Berkshire’s 2005 annual report, I argued that active investment management by professionals – in aggregate – would over a period of years underperform the returns achieved by rank amateurs who simply sat still. I explained that the massive fees levied by a variety of “helpers” would leave their clients – again in aggregate – worse off than if the amateurs simply invested in an unmanaged low-cost index fund.

Seides acknowledged in his concession note agreed that the cost of the hedge fund management was a factor, because taking out the money doesn't allow it to compound. But in reality, the low-cost Vanguard fund that Buffett chose really performed better year on year.

At least the money goes to charity — one of Buffett's, of course — Girls Inc. of Omaha.

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