How To Buy The Warren Buffett Mutual Fund

A few days ago, Motley Fool published an article entitled, The Warren Buffett Mutual Fund. Now, just to be clear, Warren Buffett runs Berkshire Hathaway, not a mutual fund. But the article pointed out that investing in Berkshire can be difficult, because a single A share of the company will set you back a cool $111,600. Even a B share, which equals 1/30 of an A share, runs about $3,625. So Motley Fool noted that a number of mutual funds have invested a substantial amount of their portfolio in Berkshire Hathaway. By investing in those funds, you are investing in Berkshire. The article identified several of these funds, but ended with a bit of a tease.

The article described a fund that invests about 18% of its assets in Berkshire, but didn’t give up the name of the fund. Instead, if you want to know the fund, the article asked you to sign up for The Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter. Now, I’ve never read this newsletter, and it may well be worth the $149 annual subscription fee, although I have my doubts. But if you want to know which funds own the most Berkshire, or any other company for that matter, the answer is just a few FREE clicks away. Here’s how–

  1. Go to Morningstar
  2. Type in BRK.A (or any other company ticker symbol) into the Quotes box near the top left of the page
  3. On the left sidebar, click on the Insider Trading link
  4. And then click on the Concentrated Fund Owners tab that will appear just below the name of the company

And there you have it. The Sequoia fund (SEQUX) has invested just over 25% of its assets in BRK.A shares. Here’s what it looks like in Morningstar:

brka.gif

And what fund has invested 18% of its assets in Berkshire? The Blue Chip Investor Fund, which you can see is a one star fund. By the way, feel free to send me $149 per year. While this tool is a great help, there is a problem here. Sequoia has an expense ratio of 1.00%, and Blue Chip sports a 1.27% expense ratio. Ouch! That brings me to the ShareBuilder part of the title to this article.

You can buy fractional BRK.A or BRK.B shares through ShareBuilder. In other words, you don’t have to pony up $111,600 for an A share or even $3,625 for a B share. If you want to invest a couple hundred dollars each month in Berkshire, you can do so at ShareBuilder for $4 a trade. And just to be clear, I don’t have a Sharebuilder account (yet), and I don’t own shares of Berkshire (yet). You can read other tips on how to use Morninstar in the online investing section of The Dough Roller.

Update: I now have a Sharebuilder account and own shares of Berkshire Hathaway.

Published or Updated: March 23, 2012
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Thanks for showing me how the Morningstar application works with a practical example – very interesting.

  2. Mark says:

    I do have a Sharebuilder account, and I emailed the Motley Fool author with exactly this point. I’m glad you have published this rejoinder– buying BRK direct is a much better move than buying a managed mutual fund for the purpose of exposure to BRK.

    More broadly: great blog!

    • DR says:

      Thanks, Mark. By the way, I’ve noticed that the Motley Fool has published that same article more than once as a way to push newsletter subscriptions.

  3. OC MAN says:

    Shouldn’t a fund that has so much Berkshire in it, have returns that correlate with Berkshire SOMEWHAT? In checking the Blue Chip Investor Fund, it looks like that fund has 20%+ in Berkshire yet Berkshire’s 5 year return is a little over 50% and BCIFX is down over 5%. What were the doing with the rest of their money? Does Morningstar have a ZERO star option? It looks like they managed to find one stock worth owning and that was Berkshire. Too bad for shareholders that all the money wasn’t invested in Berkshire.

    • DR says:

      OC Man, nice catch! I’m going to look into why BCIFX has done so poorly. It’s been impossible for any fund to keep up with Buffett, but only time will tell how long that lasts.

  4. OC MAN says:

    Well I looked at the 2008 portfolio or the Blue Chip Investor Fund. I have to say, if it wasn’t for their 25% holding in Berkshire, they would have probably been down 60-70% for the year. Their holdings included WFC, HOG, AFL, LM, BEN and AXP (and many more losers) all were down 50%…60%…70%… So losing 35% on Berkshire in 2008 made that stock their superstar stock. This fund has proven to me that just because you are a follower of Buffett doesn’t make you an investor like Buffett. This Check fellow sure has failed miserably at managing money like Warren Buffett. The only ones more miserable have to be the dwindling clients that have this Money Manager “manage” their money. I suspect that they will be out of business by the end of 2009. By the way, the fund is down 24% YTD (2/27/09). WOW!

  5. Steve says:

    I’ve been reading about investing and saving money for several years, and after paying down my debts by 50% over the period of the last three years, I decided to open an IRA through Sharebuilder (I don’t want to end up with no money after all these years). After reading The Intelligent Investor, I know I am a Value Investor at heart. I have the same goal of wanting to own shares of Berkshire Hathaway, if only because it’s the highest priced stock on the market–(I haven’t checked lately). However, as a Value Investor, I stopped purchasing the stock after the research websites that I use considers it overvalued (I base my stock selections on several research sites, because I want to know the results of different analysts with different sets of screeners-kind of like reading all of the review before I waste my time at a movie) . The idea is not to buy overvalued stock no matter what the company–I think I remember an article where Buffet said he couldn’t afford Berkshire stock, and this probably meant that if the price of the stock of his own company was over valued, he wouldn’t buy it.

    • DR says:

      Steve, I agree that Berkshire is not a value company, although its stock price as gone done with everything else. I buy it not so much as a value investor, but because it’s a good replacement for a large cap growth/blend fund. But if you are looking for value, I think you’re right that Berkshire is not the best bet. Good luck!

  6. Noreen Flood says:

    Could you mail out some litature to my friend on your mutual funds.
    Neil Adams
    107 Jefferson St.
    Sterling, Mi 48659
    phone 989-654-3543
    Thank You very much

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