Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch Voted Top Money Managers of the Century

Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch Voted Top Money Managers of the Century
Business Wire, Nov 22, 1999 E-mail Print Link NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–November 22, 1999–

The Carson Group, a leading global capital markets intelligence consulting firm, announced today the results of its survey of The Top Money Managers of the 20th Century with Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Peter Lynch of Fidelity garnering the two top spots with 86.4% and 80.8%, respectively, of the respondents’ votes.

John Templeton of Templeton International; Graham & Dodd, “fathers” of value investing; and George Soros of Soros Fund Management rounded out the top five money managers. -0-

1st Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway
2nd Peter Lynch Fidelity Management & Research
3rd John Templeton Templeton Investment Counsel
4th Graham & Dodd Security Analysis
5th George Soros Soros Fund Management
6th John Neff Vanguard Group
7th John Bogle Vanguard Group
8th Michael Price Franklin Mutual Advisors
9th Julian Robertson Tiger Management
10th Mark Mobius Templeton Asset Management
“Over this past century, institutional money managers have played a pivotal role in underwriting the explosive growth of the global economy, which has been primarily responsible for funding the tremendous scientific and technological achievements that we enjoy today,” exclaimed David Geliebter, Chairman of The Carson Group. “Given the impact the capital markets have had on all aspects of our lives, we felt it fitting to recognize those individuals who have stood out in the field of institutional money management, which, today, manages more than three-quarters of the world’s multi-trillion dollar equity capital.”

Buffett versus Bogle: A Return to Whom?

While Buffett and Lynch were by far the two top choices among the over 300 investment professionals who responded to the survey, the results yielded some interesting surprises. According to William N. Goetzmann, the Edwin J. Bieneke Professor of Finance and Management Studies at the Yale School of Management and a recognized authority on investment management, “The survey challenges us to define what makes a great money manager. The short answer is a great track record, but the real answer is whether they have changed society for the better, either through sharing their success broadly or by improving the way people make investment choices.”

When comparing a Warren Buffett with a John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group and “father” of index-based mutual fund investing, Goetzmann commented: “Buffett may have handily beaten the S&P 500 over his career, but credit John Bogle for allowing people of modest means to share in the extraordinary gains by investing in the S&P. The same cannot be said for Buffett who has kept the price of Berkshire Hathaway so high that only relatively wealthy investors could share in the success. At least Bogle democratized equity fund investing and that is worth a lot more than beating the index by a few basis points.”

Graham & Dodd, and Their Disciples

The influence of Graham & Dodd and their value investing principles were clearly evident in the survey results with six value investors making up the top ten money managers chosen. These include Warren Buffett, the most famous Graham & Dodd proponent; Graham & Dodd themselves; John Neff of Vanguard/Wellington; Michael Price of Mutual Series of Funds; John Templeton; and Mark Mobius of Templeton Asset Management.

Commenting on the impact of Graham & Dodd on the survey results, S.L. Mintz, New York Bureau Chief of CFO Magazine and the author of John Neff on Investing (1999 John Wiley & Sons) and co-author of Beyond Wall Street: The Art of Investing (1998 John Wiley & Sons), said: “The survey results tell you a lot about the merits of value investing and the legacy of Graham & Dodd. Buffett is a famous former student, but Neff got his earliest training from Professor Sidney Robbins, an even earlier Graham & Dodd disciple. You also can see from those selected that value constitutes a wide range of styles.”

Who Had the Greatest Influence on Today’s Investment Practices?

Each money manager had great track records in his own right, but there were some individuals who stood out in terms of the influence they have had America’s trillion dollar investment industry and practices.

According to Yale’s Goetzmann, “A key dimension in defining a great money manager is the influence that manager has had on investment practice. I do not know how much money Benjamin Graham made for himself or his clients, but his name is synonymous with value investing that has been a rage for a long, long time. Peter Lynch has likewise had an impact on investing practice. Like a figure out of the Wizard of Oz, he popularized the notion that the answer to most investing questions lay before us – in the products we buy and the stores we frequent. His message was that you need to look no further than your own home for understanding what companies will succeed.”


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