Many people connect
with his right-hand man, Charlie Munger. Fewer know, however,
that up until a few years ago, a third mastermind made investing
decisions at Berkshire Hathaway (
. Now that Simpson has founded his own firm, SQ Advisors LLC,
GuruFocus today began to track the investor as its latest Guru.
Buffett met Simpson in 1996 when he was CEO of Geico's capital
operations and Buffett was completing his purchase of Geico.
Impressed with his track record, Buffett kept Simpson on as chief
At his retirement from Berkshire subsidiary Geico in 2010,
Simpson managed more than $4 billion worth of stocks. Throughout
his time with Berkshire, Simpson and Buffett's stock picks
overlapped sometimes due to similarities in their thinking, but
both men clearly had independent processes and disagreed with
each other sometimes as well.
Several things the two men had in common were that they were both
dedicated value investors, both maintained a concentrated
portfolio, and both had big positions in three stocks: Wells
), Johnson 7 Johnson (
) and ConocoPhillips (
). Read a more detailed comparison of their investing approaches
in Geoff Gannon's article, "
How Does Lou Simpson's Stock Portfolio Compare to
Warren Buffett's Stock Portfolio
Before joining GEICO in 1979 as senior vice president and chief
investment officer, Simpson was president and CEO of Western
Asset Management, a partner at Stein Roe and Farnham, and an
economics instructor at Princeton University.
Portrait of a Disciplined Investor
Buffett frequently sang the praises of Lou Simpson. Once, in his
2004 investor letter, Buffett called him "a cinch to be inducted
into the investment Hall of Fame" based on his return performance
history. From 1980 to 2004, Simpson produced an average annual
gain of 20.3%, compared to 13.5% for the S&P 500. In that
time, he had only three negative years, and only four years of
less than double-digit returns.
Later, in 2006, Buffett intimated that Simpson, "a top-notch
investor with an outstanding long-term record," would be the
natural replacement for him as CEO of Berkshire, were Simpson not
a mere six years younger than him.
In a rare interview, Simpson in 2010 told the Chicago Tribune
upon his retirement: "My approach is eclectic. I try to read all
company documents carefully. We try to talk to competitors. We
try to find people more knowledgeable about the business than we
are. We do not rely on Wall Street-generated research. We do our
own research. We try to meet with top management."
SQ Advisors LLC
Quickly dissatisfied with retirement, Simpson opened his own
investment-advisory firm, SQ Advisors LLC, in Naples, Fla., on
Dec. 20, 2010, with his wife. He began the firm with $150 million
to $200 million in assets under management, primarily the money
of his family and friends and charities, he told Bloomberg. At
Sept. 30, his total portfolio value totals $1.17 billion.
Simpson currently has 15 stocks, with largest holdings of his
former employer Berkshire Hathaway (
), as well as Fiserv (
), TE Connectivity Ltd. (
), Lowe's Companies (
) and Buffett favorite Wells Fargo (
). In his Berkshire Hathaway days, Wells Fargo was both he and
Buffett's second largest holding.
In the third quarter, Simpson added to most of his holdings and
reduced less than 1% of only Lowe's Companies Inc. and Dell Inc.
). He sold out of only one position as well, Oaktree Capital
Group LLC (
). Almost a third of the portfolio is weighted in the financial
services sector, followed by consumer cyclical and technology
See the rest of Lou Simpson's stock holdings in his portfolio
here. Also check out the Undervalued Stocks, Top Growth Companies
and High Yield stocks of Lou Simpson.About GuruFocus:
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