The Most Underrated Investor Of the 20th Century

Walter Schloss with his son Edwin at the Columbia Business School.

Walter Schloss with his son Edwin at the Columbia Business School.

I’ve written before that, to succeed at investing, you do not to be a credentialed individual. You don’t need an MBA. In some cases, you don’t even need a college education. No investor proved that notion more thoroughly than Walter Schloss—a man who never attended college, but very well could be the most underrated investor of the 20th century.

Schloss’s record speaks for itself: he compounded wealth at a rate of 15-16% (and that is the figure after you remove the fees he charged) from 1952 to 2002, during a time at which the broader American stock market indices increased at a clip slightly above 10%. Despite this enormous success, the closest Schloss ever came to “mainstream” in the investor world occurred when Buffett mentioned Schloss in his “Superinvestors” essay in 1984, and then late in his 2006 letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway in which he referred to Schloss as one of the good guys of Wall Street.

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