How to profit from the trades of investing legends

Warren Buffett’s recently published annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway is a timely reminder of the huge wealth investors can achieve by “hitching a ride” with a top-performing entrepreneur.

While Buffett is famous for being one of the richest people on the planet, what is less known is the number of people who have become millionaires simply by buying-and-holding Berkshire Hathaway shares.

A similar scenario can be applied to a handful of Australian stocks where early investors who have stuck with entrepreneurial founders such as Graham Turner from Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) have grown rich themselves. Flight Centre, under Turner’s stewardship has produced a 10-year total shareholder return (TSR) of 18.4% per annum (pa).

Of course, in hindsight it’s easy to identify these types of value creating superstars, but it’s no cinch to do so in the early days of a growth story.

One way to narrow the field is to focus on founders who live and breath their business and have significant amounts of their own wealth tied to the business. Here are two to consider…

Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG) – With a TSR of 42.1% pa over the past decade the track record of this still young company is incredibly impressive. Magellan operates in the growing industry of funds management where it is foreseeable that one day Magellan’s funds under management are many times larger than today. The group is led by co- founder Hamish Douglass who owns around 7% of this $3.6 billion company.

XERO FPO NZ (ASX: XRO) – Rod Drury is the co-founder steering this $2 billion cloud-based accounting software business as it captures a growing number of users. Drury holds 16% of the shares so his fortunes are closely aligned to the future of Xero. While it is still early days for this company, the three-year TSR stands at 15.8% per annum.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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