The article is based on a speech that Warren Buffett gave at Columbia Business School on May 17, 1984 at a seminar marking the 50th anniversary of the publication of Benjamin Graham and David Dodd’s Security Analysis.
This is the beginning of the article which contains tables that are difficult to format on this post so better read the pdf file The superinvestors Graham and Doddsville:
Is the Graham and Dodd “look for values with a significant margin of safety relative to prices” approach to security analysis out of date? Many of the professors who write textbooks today say yes. They argue that the stock market is efficient; that is, that stock prices reflect everything that is known about a company’s prospects and about the state of the economy.
There are no undervalued stocks, these theorists argue, because there are smart security analysts who utilize all available information to ensure unfailingly appropriate prices. Investors who seem to beat the market year after year are just lucky. “If prices fully reflect available information, this sort of investment adeptness is ruled out,” writes one of today’s textbook authors.
Well, maybe. But I want to present to you a group of investors who have, year in and year out, beaten the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. The hypothesis that they do this by pure chance is at least worth examining. Crucial to this examination is the fact that these winners were all well known to me and pre-identified as superior investors, the most recent identification occurring over fifteen years ago. Absent this condition – that is, if I had just recently searched among thousands of records to select a few names for you this morning — I would advise you to stop reading right here. I should add that all of these records have been audited. And I should further add that I have known many of those who have invested with these managers, and the checks received by those participants over the years have matched the stated records.
Complete article: The superinvestors Graham and Doddsville