Why Buffett Is Not The World’s Best Value Investor

Warren Buffett is often called the greatest value investor in the world. But in his latest column for Forbes.com, Validea CEO John Reese takes issue with the notion.

“My issue with the … statement doesn’t involve the part about Buffett being the greatest; it has to do with the use of the term ‘value investor,” writes Reese. He says that, while value is important to Buffett, Buffett is more concerned with quality — he’d much rather buy a great company at a decent price than a decent company at a great price. “In fact, in a recent Fortune interview, Buffett explained how decades ago his partner at Berkshire Hathaway , Charlie Munger, led Buffett to change his approach from a beaten down, bargain hunting one to one that looks for great businesses — businesses Buffett and Munger are willing to pay up for,” Reese says, adding that many of Berkshire Hathaway’s recent buys also reflect that philosophy.

The philosophy is also reflected in Reese’s Buffett-inspired Guru Strategy. “Based on the book Buffettology, written by Buffett’s former daughter-in-law Mary Buffett (who worked closely with him), this strategy includes some value components but really focuses more on the quality of a firm’s business,” Reese says. He looks how the strategy works, and at a handful of stocks that get high marks from his Buffett-based model. Among them: The TJX Companies.