Buffett Picks Hedge Fund Manager For Berkshire Succession

Oct 26 2010 | 3:26am ET

Warren Buffett has lined up another hedge fund manager as a potential successor to the Oracle of Omaha at Berkshire Hathaway.

Todd Combs, founder of Castle Point Capital, has been picked to manage a "significant portion" of Berkshire's $50 billion equities portfolio, the firm said yesterday. Combs' appointment follows that of fellow hedge fund manager Lu Li of Himalaya Partners in July.

Buffett, who has run Berkshire for more than 40 years, has said he will hand the reins to at least three people when he retires or dies.

The Oracle reportedly met Combs through Charlie Munger, Berkshire's vice chairman.

"For three years, Vice Chairman Charlie Munger and I have been looking for someone of Todd's caliber to handle a significant portion of Berkshire's investment portfolio," Buffett said. "We are delighted that Todd will be joining us."

At Greenwich, Conn.-based Castle Point, Combs oversees roughly $405 million in financial-services investments. He formerly worked at hedge fund Copper Arch Capital as head of financial-services investments, in addition to stints as an analyst with Florida's banking regulator and auto insurance firm Progressive Corp.

Combs established Castle Point in 2005, backed by private equity firm Stone Point Capital. The firm's flagship returned 13.6% in 2006 and 19% in 2007, but has suffered losses of 5.7% and 6.2% over the past two years. It is currently down about 4% this year.

Combs will not be moving to Nebraska to take up his new post. He'll manage Berkshire's money from his current home base of Connecticut.

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