Saturday, May 06, 2006

Does it pay to be 'the next Buffett'? May 6, 2006

I read this article from, which I find it humorous! :) Enjoy....

"The Next Warren Buffett: A Compliment or a Curse?" The business press dusts off the headline whenever a value investor manages to turn a tidy profit with a Buffett-like strategy, but it's a difficult comparison to live up to. Few - if any - have risen to the occasion. That's probably why a question mark usually is appended to the phrase.

Here are a few of the investors who have contended with the loaded sobriquet in recent years.

Edward Lampert

Status: Chairman of Sears Holdings Corp.

In the same breath as Buffett: Business Week asked whether he might be the next Buffett after the hedge-fund manager bought a controlling stake in Kmart (which he later merged with Sears). The move gave rise to speculation he might turn the retailers into a holding company like Berkshire, which was once a textile mill.

Claim to fame: Lampert's ESL Investments hedge fund has generated average annual returns of 29 percent since its founding in 1988. But not all the numbers rival Buffett's: Only 100 shareholders, mostly professional investors, turned out to hear him discuss his vision for the company at its annual meeting this year.

Verdict: Not funny enough.

L. Dennis Kozlowski

Status: Former CEO of Tyco In- ternational Ltd., sentenced to eight to 25 years for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company.

In the same breath as Buffett: Kozlowski once bragged that he would be the next Warren Buffett.

Claim to fame: Grew Tyco's businesses at an impressive rate through mergers and acquisitions but looted the company's coffers for lavish parties and a number of personal amenities, including a $6,000 shower curtain and a $17,100 traveling toiletry kit.

Verdict: Not thrifty enough.

William H. Miller III

Status: Chairman of Legg Mason Capital Management and portfolio manager for Legg Mason Value Trust.

In the same breath as Buffett: Having outperformed the S&P 500 stock index for 15 years in a row, his long-term investment prowess is often compared with that of Buffett.

Claim to fame: Miller manages the $11.6 billion Legg Mason Value Trust, which follows a value investing strategy similar to that espoused by Buffett. The fund, based in Boston, has generated average annual returns of 16.49 percent since its 1982 inception.

Verdict: Not Nebraskan enough.

Christopher K. Bagdasarian

Status: Ex-convict. Bagdasarian was sentenced to two years in prison in 1998 after pleading guilty to securities fraud, bank fraud and perjury. Barred by the Securities and Exchange Commission from association with brokers, dealers or investment advisers.

In the same breath as Buffett: Fortune magazine dubbed him the next Buffett when he an- nounced a $200 million initial public offering of Normandy America Inc., a fraudulent insurance company that planned to invest float, as Buffett does for Berkshire. As the fraud came to light, the company withdrew the offering after trading for one day on the Nasdaq exchange.

Claim to fame: Lied that he achieved a 10-year average annual return of 29.1 percent on assets that ranged as high as $731.3 million.

Verdict: Not honest enough.

Gerry Angulo

Status: President and publisher of the San Juan Star.

In the same breath as Buffett: In 1989, a profile in Forbes magazine asked whether he might be the next Buffett or "just another of the stock market's overnight wonders."

Claim to fame: His now-defunct, Miami-based partnership, First Capital Partners, posted gains of 142 percent in 1988. In 1994, he bought the Puerto Rican newspaper and has devoted his career to running it.

Verdict: Not investing enough.

Nicholas D. Gerber

Status: Portfolio manager for Ameristock Mutual Fund.

In the same breath as Buffett: Told Crain Communications in 2001 that he was trying to out-Buffett Warren through his value-slanted approach to indexing. He said, "I'm getting a later start than Warren Buffett did from an age perspective. . . . We have a lot of catching up to do. "

Claim to fame: The Ameristock fund generated double-digit returns four of the five years between 1996 and 2000. Since then, the fund has trailed the S&P 500 by a little less than 2 percentage points.

Verdict: Not catching up fast enough.

Richard B. Wright

Status: 25-year-old analyst for Davis Advisors in New York.

In the same breath as Buffett: Suggested to Buffett that he look at Clayton Homes Inc. in 2003, setting in motion the $1.7 billion purchase by Berkshire Hathaway.

Claim to fame: Received a letter of recommendation from Warren Buffett, an endorsement that was dubbed "a letter from God" by Brian Sullivan, chief executive officer of New York-based executive search firm Christian & Timbers.

Verdict: Not gray enough.

Article from: Omaha

Happy investing,

Dah Hui Lau (David)

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