I found that if I took a basket of the biggest and best billionaire activist investors and hedge funds (many of the names we follow in our service, The Billionaires Portfolio) and bought just the stocks they owned, whereby they had initiated an activist campaign against a company, that basket returned 31% annualized over the past 12 years. The S&P 500 returned just 6.1% in the same period.
This means a $20,000 investment 12-years ago, would be worth over $500,000 dollars today. The same investment in the S&P 500 would just be worth $40,000 today..
More importantly, the stock picks of these top activists had only one losing year during the period and that was of course 2008.
In 2008, the stocks in this basket of the top activists lost 18.2% versus a loss of 37% in the S&P 500. So in our study, these activist investors beat the stock market by more than 4 times on an annualized basis or nearly 23 percentage points. But they lost significantly less than the stock market in a losing year (in fact, a terrible year).
To put this return in perspective, no other mutual fund, ETF or private money manager on the entire planet has a returned anywhere close to 31% annualized over the period. The best performing mutual fund in the world returned 14.5%, which is not even half of the annualized performance of our basket. And that same mutual fund lost more than 45% in 2008!
Bottom line: By just following my Activist Select Strategy, you would have outperformed over 20,000 mutual funds, 5,000 money managers and 1,000 ETFs. And you would probably be considered the best investor on the planet.
Yet my next study has even better news. In my next study I took the same top Activist Billionaire Investors and Hedge Funds but this time I only tracked the performance of the activist stocks that fit the following criteria: 1) They had to be a small cap, meaning a market cap under $2 Billion and or 2) had to have a low share price under $15 combined with a market cap of at least $500 million and the results were astonishing.
The average annualized 12 year return for, what I call the Activist Small Cap Strategy, was an amazing 52% annualized over the last 10 years. Again this compares to only a 6.1% annualized return in the S&P 500.
Therefore a $20,000 investment in the activist small cap strategy would now be worth more than $3,000,000 million dollars today!
Let me repeat that, because I know it sounds too good to be true, but by only selecting the lowest priced and smallest cap stocks owned by the best activist investors and hedge funds $20,000 investment in 2002 would be worth more than $3,000,000 million dollars today. Of course these huge returns come with a more volatility, yet this activist small cap strategy still had only one down year (2008) over the last 12 years, another amazing statistic.
So there a couple of conclusions you should come away with from this study. First as I have told you before there is no more powerful strategy in the world from a risk reward perspective than piggybacking the stock picks of the world’s best activist investors and hedge funds. Secondly Activist investors do not need the stock market to produce these huge annual returns as proven above, even when the market went through a 10 and 12 year period of low to medium single digit returns, the stock picks of these activists still produced huge market beating returns of 31% to 52% a year!!
President of The Billionaires Portfolio
Providing Sophisticated Hedge Fund Strategies and Analysis For The Everyday Investor