Barron’s Roundtable 2013 Review: Witmer, Schafer, Gabelli Win Big

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Barron’s Roundtable 2013 Review: Witmer, Schafer, Gabelli Win Big

Barron’s Roundtable is a group of well-known investment professionals who get together for a roundtable investment discussion every year and share the performance of their investment portfolios publicly. According to Pundittracker, Barron’s Roundtable members have performed well historically as a group, but over the last three years the average return of roundtable members has been less than that of the S&P 500 INDEX (INDEXCBOE:SPX).

2013 Barron’s Roundtable individual results

Berkshire Hathaway Director Meryl Witmer dominated the 2013 Barron’s Roundtable, posting a stellar 60.9% return on her three-stock portfolio. Oscar Schafer and Mario Gabelli came in second and third in last year’s competition, with average portfolio returns of 37.7% and 34.7%, respectively. Felix Zulauf and Fred Hickey were at the bottom of the Barron’s Roundtable group this year. Hedge fund manager Zulauf somehow managed to post a 0.0% return for 2013, but that was a lot better performance than high tech strategist Hickey, who posted a painful -26.9% return on his 2013 roundtable portfolio. The poor performance of gold in 2H 2013 was the downfall of both Zulauf and especially Hickey.

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Barron’s Roundtable group underperformed S&P 500 again in 2013

Barron’s Roundtable members as a group produced an average return of 21.2% in 2013. This is a full seven percentage points less than the 28.2% return on the S&P 500 in 2013. The 2011 and 2012 average roundtable member results were also below par at -4.9% and 10.5% respectively, failing to keep up with the S&P 500 INDEX (INDEXCBOE:SPX) both years.

Barron's roundtable S&P 500 index-2

Long-term Barron’s Roundtable member performance

It’s interesting to note that one of 2013’s two worst roundtable performers —  Zulauf —  is actually one the top performers when looked at from a historical perspective. Marc Faber comes out on top of the Barron’s roundtable group when averaging his investment performance over every year he has participated, with a very impressive 22.8% average return, outperforming the S&P over those same years by 19.7%. Zulauf comes in second overall, with an 20.2% average return and outperforming the S&P by 18.7%. Archie MacAllaster brings up the back of the pack on a long-term basis, with a 10-year average return of -1.9%, and a -1.7% return compared to the S&P 500 INDEX (INDEXCBOE:SPX) over the same years.

Barron's roundtable S&P 500 index-3

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