Institutional Investing


Warren Buffet writes an annual letter to his stockholders. In his 2017 missive, Buffett said:

The wealthy are accustomed to feeling that it is their lot in life to get the best food, schooling, entertainment, housing, plastic surgery, sports ticket, you name it.Their money, they feel, should buy them something superior compared to what the masses receive."

He went on: "The financial 'elites' - wealthy individuals, pension funds, college endowments and the like - have great trouble meekly signing up for a financial product or service that is available as well to people investing only a few thousand dollars."

Wealthy individuals, Mr. Buffett said, get pulled in by consultants selling them huge promise. "Can you imagine an investment consultant telling clients, year after year, to keep adding to an index fund replicating the S&P 500? That would be career suicide. Large fees flow to these hyper-helpers, however, if they recommend small managerial shifts every year or so.1

Our institutional investing program begins with the premise above. We will not mislead you: institutional investing is large and hence seen as a potent source of revenue by financial firms. But we do not believe, in general, the fees taken are justified by performance.

The best way to understand the fees and opportunity costs your institution has paid for your institutional investing is to contact a One Day In July financial advisor and run a simulation of your current institutional investing program against our low-cost indexing approach. If a gap exists, and you are not satisfied with the explanation, a switch may be in order.

Finally, we recommend that you read this article about institutional investing of Carthage College (indexers) vs Harvard University (not indexers).


1 Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 2016 Shareholder Letter
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