Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose stock picks over several decades have turned Berkshire Hathaway Inc into one of the most successful conglomerates, delivered another black eye to the investment management industry on Saturday, saying investors should “stick with low-cost index funds.”
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“When trillions of dollars are managed by Wall Streeters charging high fees, it will usually be the managers who reap outsized profits, not the clients,” Buffett, widely considered one of the world’s best investors, said in his annual letter to shareholders. “Both large and small investors should stick with low-cost index funds.”
Buffett has often said he believes most stock investors are better off with low-cost index funds than paying higher fees to managers who often underperform. During the financial crisis, Buffett bet a founder of the asset management company Protege Partners LLC $1 million that a Vanguard S&P 500 stock index fund would outperform several groups of hedge funds of over the 10 years through 2017.
The index fund is up 85.4 percent, Buffett said, while the hedge fund groups are up between 2.9 percent and 62.8 percent. On Saturday, Buffett said the figures leave “no doubt” that he will win the bet. He plans to donate the money to Girls Inc of Omaha, a charity.