Every year Barrons publishes their roundatable series where a group of market “experts” provide their opinions of the upcoming year. PunditTracker sent along this excellent analysis offering you a glimpse into the success (and failures) of the pundits and perhaps showing you which ones are worth listening to and which ones should be avoided. Not surprisingly, Felix Zulauf and Marc Faber are standouts over the last few years with their keen focus on the global macro:
“With the 2012 Barron’s Roundtable likely to be published in the next few weeks, we decided to comb the archives and compile the track records of the Roundtable pundits.
As was the case for the entire investment industry — roughly 70% of mutual funds underperformed their benchmarks — 2011 was a forgettable year for most of the Roundtable participants. Of the nine members we track (we exclude Bill Gross), only three outperformed the S&P 500.
2011 Returns Fred Hickey 9.2% Felix Zulauf 6.4% Mario Gabelli 5.6% S&P 500 -1.1% Abby Joseph Cohen -2.7% Meryl Witmer -3.9% Roundtable Average -5.0% Oscar Schafer -6.1% Marc Faber -12.3% Scott Black -13.6% Archie MacAllaster -27.8%
The group should still hold its collective head high, however, as its long-term track record remains splendid, as shown below. All but one of the 2011 participants has been there since 2002, including the late Archie MacAllaster. Fred Hickey joined in 2005.
Annualized Returns: 2002-11 Felix Zulauf 25.1% Marc Faber 23.4% Oscar Schafer 13.7% Roundtable Average 12.4% Meryl Witmer 11.3% Scott Black 4.8% Mario Gabelli 4.4% Abby Joseph Cohen 1.8% S&P 500 -0.2% Archie MacAllaster -1.9%
2005-11 (includes Hickey)
Felix Zulauf 23.5% Marc Faber 20.5% Meryl Witmer 11.5% Fred Hickey 11.2% Roundtable Average 9.2% Mario Gabelli 7.4% Oscar Schafer 6.5% Abby Joseph Cohen 4.3% S&P 500 0.1% Scott Black -2.6% Archie MacAllaster -11.8%
For a year-by-year breakdown of returns, click here.
We should mention that these figures are somewhat crude, as they only reflect price appreciation and assume an equal allocation across the picks with a fixed one-year holding period. They do not include picks from the mid-year Roundtables.
Regardless, the returns are mighty impressive. To put the percentages in context, if you had spread $1000 across Felix Zulauf’s picks in 2002 and then rolled into his new recommendations each subsequent year, you would now have $9423. That is almost 10x the amount you would have if you did the same with the S&P 500 ($982)!
Returning to the mission of PunditTracker, while it would be tempting for us to cherry-pick the blowhard pundits to expose them, our goal is to illuminate both the good and bad pundits. While 2011 was a blip, the Barron’s Roundtable to date has clearly been the former.”
Source: Pundit Tracker
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.