Billionaire Warren Buffett advanced his succession plan Monday by naming Ted Weschler, a hedge fund manager who has produced outsized returns in the last decade, to help manage the investments of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Weschler, 50, will start at the Omaha company early next year and work with Todd Combs, who joined Berkshire last year, to manage its equity portfolios. Buffett, 81, has said he may also bring in a third manager, but meanwhile he continues to oversee the majority of the company’s $52.36 billion in U.S. equities.
Weschler, like Combs before him, has succeeded while keeping a low profile far from the canyons of Wall Street.
The Charlottesville, Va.-based money manager delivered total gains of 1,236% over the last 11 years, according to investors. Over the same period, Berkshire’s own Class B shares have risen 84% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has fallen nearly 23%.
As of June 30, Weschler’s Peninsula Capital Advisors had long positions in about $2 billion worth of stock, according to regulatory filings. Combs was managing about $400 million when he was hired.
Combs and Weschler appear to have different strengths, with Combs having focused more on financial stocks while Weschler appears to have favored communications-related picks. Bringing them together may work well, according to some experts.
“It seems they might complement one another,” said David Kass, a professor of finance at the University of Maryland who has studied Buffett and his work. “Weschler will bring diversification and expertise outside of the financial sector to Berkshire Hathaway.”
Since Combs started with Berkshire, Buffett has made clear that there would be more people added to the investment team to eventually replace him. When and how many, however, have been open questions that have weighed on Berkshire’s stock, analysts following the stock have said. Some investors say Berkshire shares are at their most undervalued level in a generation.