Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett is lavishing praise upon the two hedge fund managers he hired in recent years.
Buffett told Berkshire investors in his annual letter Saturday that Todd Combs and Ted Wechsler have "created significant value for you," both in terms of their investment performance and "in several matters unrelated to their portfolio activity." Indeed, on the former, they bested Buffett himself, topping that Standard & Poor's 500 Index "handily" while Buffett trailed it.
"I must again confess that their investments outperformed mine," Buffett wrote, noting that Berkshire vice-chairman Charlie Munger said he should add "by a lot."
"If such humiliating comparisons continue, I'll have no choice but to cease talking about them."
But talk about them he did, both in the letter and in an interview with the two—and fellow Berkshire executive Tracy Britt Cool—on CNBC this morning.
In light of their performance "in a year in which most equity managers found it impossible to outperform the S&P 500," Combs and Wechsler each now run "a portfolio exceeding $7 billion. They've earned it." Berkshire manages about $100 billion.
Both Combs and Wechsler managed their own hedge funds before joining Berkshire in 2010 and 2011, respectively. But both men "have Berkshire blood in their veins."