Wally Weitz, the founder and chief investment officer of Weitz Investments, plans to give up the management of his flagship mutual fund by the end of 2015.
In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Weitz Investment Management indicated that Brad Hinton and Dave Perkins will oversee the portfolio management of the Value Fund by the end of this year.
Mr. Hinton co-managed the Value Fund for approximately eight years. He serves as director of research at Weitz Investment Management. Mr. Perkin has been the co-portfolio manager of the fund since 2011. He also serves as co-manager of the Research Fund.
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“We don’t envision any material changes to the approach, philosophy or decision-making,” said Mr. Hinton
Mr. Weitz will remain as the portfolio manager of Partners Value Fund, Partners III Opportunity Fund, and Hickory Fund.
Weitz says clients want a succession plan
Mr. Weitz said the clients of the mutual fund wanted succession plans. “There has always been a ‘hit-by-a-bus’ plan, but this reinforces the idea of a long-term succession plan,” he said.
It would be the first time for Mr. Weitz not to have a say on the stock picking for the flagship fund of Weitz Investment Management since 1986. The Weitz Value Fund was modeled upon the “find a cheap gem” investing style of Warren Buffett, the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett is known as “Oracle of Omaha.”
Mr. Weitz is considered the second-largest investor in Omaha. Weitz Investment Management has $6 billion in assets under management (AUM); with the largest being the famous Warren Buffett. The firm outperformed benchmarks generally by capitalizing on opportunities found during periods of market volatility, according to its website.
Commenting on the leadership change, Kevin McDevitt, a mutual fund analyst at Morningstar said, “Wally’s succession and the transition have been very well-planned. This is much better than you see with many boutique firms, which are often organized around three or four principals and a few junior analysts.”He maintained his Silver rating on Value Fund.
For the past 20 years ended March 31, Weitz Value Fund delivered an annual return of 11.3% compared with the 9.4% of the S&P Poor’s 500 in the same period
The news of the management change was first reported by Omaha.com.