Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said large investors should be frustrated with fees they’re paying hedge fund managers who fail to match the returns of index funds.
“There’s been far, far, far more money made by people in Wall Street through salesmanship abilities than through investment abilities,” Buffett said Saturday during Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
Hedge funds traditionally charge a management fee that’s 2 percent of assets, plus 20 percent on any profits. That’s “a compensation scheme that is unbelievable to me,” Buffett said. He added that some pension funds have disregarded his advice, and gone ahead and hired consultants.
The billionaire made a bet in 2008 against Protege Partners that its strategy that invests in hedge funds couldn’t beat a Vanguard mutual fund that tracks the S&P 500 Index. The winner’s charity of choice gets $1 million when the wager ends at the end of next year.
The bundle of hedge funds in Protege’s bet returned 21.9 percent for the eight years through 2015, according to a Berkshire presentation. That compares with the 65.7 percent climb in the S&P Index fund.