Warren Buffett’s Alpha 1977-2009: Chart of the Day

Warren Buffett. We could jot down the nearly endless list of descriptives that would just begin to protray his followers’ feelings towards him. But it’s time consuming, so let’s just put this as a constant: He’s The Man.

We know.

Warren Buffett

But let’s just explore this a bit further. Ordinary investors follow every step Warren Buffett makes. But so do the seasoned professional money managers. They even invest their clients’ funds in Berkshire Hathaway stock. Everybody knows that if they had invested $1000 with Warren Buffett back in the day, they would have been a zillionaire today. We can’t go back in time and invest in Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway stock, but we can invest today. But does it make sense to invest in BRK today? Can Warren Buffett generate alpha today, like other smaller hedge fund managers like David Einhorn, Bill Ackman, or Dan Loeb?

Your source for free real-time insider trading data, Insider Monkey, analyzed the returns of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway between 1977 and 2009. We ran hundreds of regressions to calculate Warren Buffett’s alpha(skill) for every single month, using both 5-year and 10-year historical performance data. The results based on 10-year data are smoother but paints the same picture as the results based on 5-year data. Contrary to the general perception, Buffett has not had any alpha for the past 10 years. Let us repeat that: Buffett, no alpha, for the past decade. You would have been better off if you had invested your money with David Einhorn. (Technical note: We used Carhart’s four factor model and French’s factor returns to calculate Buffett’s alpha).

Warren Buffett had a phenomenal annual alpha of 19% between 1956 and 1968. Our current analysis shows that his alpha was more than 30% between 1977 and 1981. During the 80′s and 90′s, his annual alpha declined but was still better than 12%. For the ten years leading to mid-2003, his annual alpha stayed around 12% per year. Since then, it started a steep decline; by the end of 2004 it was (still a respectable) 6% per year.  Between 2005 and 2008 Buffett’s alpha averaged only 3% per year. Finally, in the ten years ending in 2009, it went virtually to zero. (For regression results and Buffett’s style drift, visit Insider Monkey)

One might argue that Warren Buffett’s alpha cannot be perfectly extracted from the stock performance of Berkshire Hathaway. The recent poor performance and lackluster alpha may be a result of a decline in the “Warren Buffett premium” present in Berkshire stock. Nevertheless, investing in Berkshire Hathaway stock is the only way for many investors to tap into Buffett’s investment know-how, but they just can’t achieve abnormal returns by simply buying Berkshire stock anymore.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

On the Move: The 10 Fastest Growing Businesses in 2015

Fast Money: The 10 Highest Paying Fast Food Restaurants

Mixing It Up: The 14 Best Music Mashups of 2014

Rito Pls Buff: The 10 Least Played Champions in LoL Season 4

10 Covers of Popular Songs that are Better than the Originals

Must See TV: The 9 Most Anticipated Shows of 2015

The 15 Biggest Box Office Bombs of All Time

10 Things The World Can’t Stand About Americans

Picture Perfect: The 6 Smartphones with the Best Cameras

The 10 Best Countries To Work In the World

A Profitable Day At The Track: 5 Tips For Betting On Horses

Tearing You Apart: 6 Bad Habits That Ruin Relationships

Learning on the Job: The 6 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

Shopaholics Rejoice: The 12 Biggest Malls in the World

Fright Night: 10 Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Mach Mania: The 10 Fastest Jets in the World

Military Heavyweights: The 10 Countries with the Most Tanks

All In: The 7 Richest Poker Players in the World

Abracadabra: The 10 Best Magicians in the World

The 10 Richest Asian Countries in the World in 2014

Eyes in the Sky: 10 Things You Need to Know About Drones

Rising Stars: The 6 Best Silicon Valley Startups

Military Muscle: The 5 Most Advanced Armies in South America

All that Glitters: The 7 Most Luxurious Jewelry Brands in the World

5 Things You Didn’t Know About ISIS but Should

Empowering Your Money: The 5 Best Energy Stocks to Invest In

The 11 Best Android Apps You Can’t Get on iOS

The 10 Most Important International Conflicts in 2014

Mood Enhancers: The 20 Most Uplifting Songs of all Time

Lover Beware: The 8 Countries that Cheat the Most

Breath of Fresh Air: The 25 Countries with the Best Air Quality on the Planet

Singles Beware: The 8 Worst Mistakes Made on First Dates

Healthy and Happy: The 10 Countries with Lowest Healthcare Costs

The 6 Best Company Team Building Activities to Build Workplace Camaraderie

Ships Ahoy: The 10 Busiest Shipping Ports in the World

10 Productivity Tips to Save You Time and Help You Do More With Less

Grab a Bite: The Most Popular Fast Food Restaurants in America

Friday Night Thirst: The 10 Most Popular Cocktails in the World

The 6 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries We May Never Figure Out

7 Useless Products You Never Should’ve Bought

The 5 Reasons Why You’re Single and Miserable

The 7 Most Addictive Foods in the World We Can’t Stop Eating (Even Though We Should)

5 Amazing Places You Can Swim with Dolphins

The Top 7 Most Livable Countries In The World

The 10 Most Expensive Baseball Cards Ever Pulled From A Pack

The 5 Easiest Second Languages to Learn for English Speakers

Silver Spoon: The 6 Richest Families in the World

The 20 Countries with the Largest Prison Populations in the World

The Top 10 Richest Actors in the World

The 10 Best Airline Stocks to Invest In Before They Fly Too High

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!