Update: the Yahoo Finance data for LMVTX that I had used appears to be wrong (no clue why and quite frankly concerning). The chart has been replaced by one from Morningstar.
Following the Legg Mason announcement that Bill Miller will step down as CIO after a 30 year run with the firm, Abnormal Returns details the difficulty of providing consistent above average equity returns:
Bill Miller co-manager of Legg Mason Capital Management Value Equity announced he was stepping down as CIO of LMCM effective April 2012. Like Woods Miller had a fifteen year period where he was seemingly unstoppable. His fund topped the performance of the S&P 500 every year over this time period.
Bill Miller has managed the Legg Mason Capital Management Value Equity fund (LMVTX) since 1982 and results of that data (relative to the S&P 500) is shown below. The data now shows the average performance pre-1991, the remarkable performance from 1991-2006, and the underperformance since due to the misplaced bets on financials.
Back to Abnormal Returns on the potential danger of allocating to outperforming managers:
In investing a fall from grace is a common occurrence. In 2011 we have seen both John Paulson who conducted the “The Greatest Trade Ever” and Bruce Berkowitz, Morningstar’s manager of the decade both stumble badly.