Bill Gates is the wealthiest man on the planet with a net worth in excess of $70 billion.
Just like you and me, Bill wants to earn a return on his pile of cash. Of the 15 publicly-traded companies held in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, 11 pay dividends.
In this article, I track and analyze changes in Bill Gates’ portfolio of dividend stocks. During the third quarter of 2016, Gates added to his position in Berkshire Hathaway but didn’t make any other moves. Before diving in to the portfolio’s holdings, let’s review his investment strategy.
Bill Gates’ portfolio is managed by Michael Larson, who has overseen Bill Gates’ personal wealth since 1994.
Bill Gates’ Investment Strategy
Larson maintains a very low-key profile and runs a conservative strategy and invests across a wide range of assets including real estate, private equity, bonds, and publicly-traded stocks.
His operations are run out of an unmarked building in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, and his employees who leave are typically required to sign confidentiality agreements.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Larson’s relatively conservative strategy delivered losses during the financial crisis in 2008 that were less than the 27% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Since 1995, Larson’s returns have outperformed the S&P 500 by approximately 1% per year with presumably much lower volatility.
Larson is a value investor at heart and focuses on buy-and-hold investing. Most quarters, he does not make any trades. He looks for simple, high quality companies that he believes are reasonably priced. Most of these companies are considered blue-chip dividend stocks.
Few of these high quality businesses exist and trade at fair prices, which is why Bill Gates’ portfolio of stocks is concentrated in a small handful of companies.
Analyzing Bill Gates’ Portfolio of Dividend Stocks
I analyzed each of Bill Gates’ stock picks that pay a dividend, starting with his highest-yielding dividend stocks.
For each investment held by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, I review how the company makes money and why Bill Gates might have been attracted to the company.
My analysis of Bill Gates’ portfolio is updated each quarter when new information about his holdings is released.
A couple of Bill Gates’ stocks are also held in our Top 20 Dividend Stocks and Conservative Retirees dividend portfolios.
Investors might also be interested in reviewing Warren Buffett’s top high-yield dividend stocks.
November 2016 Portfolio Update
True to his buy-and-hold philosophy, Michael Larson turned in another rather uneventful quarter. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust upped its stake in Berkshire Hathaway by nearly 10 million shares, representing an increase of 15%.
However, Larson did not make any other trades during the third quarter. His last notable move happened during the second quarter when he more than doubled his stake in Liberty Global’s LiLAC shares (ticker symbols LILA and LILAK), which are related to Liberty Global’s Latin American and Caribbean operations.
Many of Larson’s holdings have exposure to consumption growth in emerging markets as he is clearly playing the long game.