will get to usher in 2010 having just been dubbed 2009's 'Investment Guru of the Year' by GuruFocus
users, the website revealed
on Thursday. The president of the Florida-based Fairholme Funds
captured over 30 percent of the total votes cast by online users, beating out hedge fund managers John Paulson and David Tepper, who each got more than 20 percent of votes.
So what makes Berkowitz worthy of 'Guru' status? For starters, the Fairholme Fund
-- which Berkowitz founded on December 29 1999 -- has gained 236 percent over the past ten years, a stark contrast to the S&P's loss of over 10 percent for the decade. Berkowitz has a pretty impressive track record too as the Fairholme Fund were down only two of the ten years he has managed the fund, losing 1.5 percent in 2002 and down roughly 30 percent in 2008.
After weathering last year's storm, the Fairholme Fund is up 41 percent for the year ended November 30 2009. According to GuruFocus, Berkowitz's success stems from his ability to concentrate assets among his best ideas, buy on one-time events, borrow ideas from other leading managers, invest with capable owner oriented managers, focus on free cash flow and hold cash when needed.
It seems Berkowitz's "Ignore the Crowd" mentality is a simple way of saying ignore the market's short-term volatility and reap long-term rewards when the market shifts its tune and opportunities abound. With this year's award, Berkowitz joins the likes of Prem Watsa, Ken Heebner, David Dreman, and of course Warren Buffett, who have been recipients of the title over the past four years.
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