The Buzz

All markets and investing news all the time

Forget the lottery. Invest in billionaire ETF?

April 2, 2014: 10:51 AM ET
ibillionaire app

The iBillionaire app launched in 2013. Now the company wants to launch an ETF based on legendary investors' picks.

If finance had a hall of fame, Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, John Paulson, George Soros and Bill Ackman would probably be in it.

These men aren't just rich, they've managed to beat the market consistently.

Plenty of investors dream of being in their league, but decoding the market on your own is tough and buying into many of these famed investors' funds is steep.

While you can purchase a class B share of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) for about $125, the A shares (BRKA) trade for a whopping $187,000. Paulson and Ackman run hedge funds that cater to wealthy investors only.

So what's someone without millions, let alone billions, to do?

One option may be the iBillionaire ETF that's set to launch in June. It's currently awaiting SEC approval.

"Most retail investors don't have a million or more to invest in all these hedge funds we are tracking. So really what the ETF is about is giving retail investors access to products they didn't have access to," Raul Moreno, CEO and co-founder of iBillionaire, told CNNMoney.

Moreno's company launched the iBillionaire app, which tracks the stock holdings of 21 billionaires, last year.

Users simply click on the name and photo of any titan and their stock portfolios come up along with data on how large each position is.

Investors can use the app to get ideas and to see how their portfolios compare to those of the financial stars. It's easy to use, and 85,000 people have downloaded it, according to the company.

The goal of the ETF is the combine the wisdom of the great investors.

Related: Buy a Warren Buffett Fathead for $29.99

The ETF will track the iBillionaire Index, a portfolio of the top 30 US large cap stocks these billionaires hold. The index averages the positions of 10 of the billionaires, including Buffett, who were selected because their portfolios don't turn over often and only contain large American companies.

Apple (AAPL), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Coca-Cola (KO) are the three largest holdings. They collectively make up more than 22% of the index.

One of the criticisms of this approach is that the index doesn't update frequently. Many hedge funds trade stocks on a daily basis, for instance, while the iBillionaire index updates only quarterly.

"We are looking only at investors not trading frequently. We're really targeting long-term investors," Moreno says.

So assuming the ETF gets the SEC's blessing, does it make sense as an investment for you?

Related: Soros betting against stocks? Not likely

Ben Johnson, director of passive fund research at Morningstar, warned that "it's a tall task when it comes to cutting through all of the marketing hype and unearthing whether or not there's actually any real economic intuition or investment merit" to some of these more gimmicky ETFs.

But the iBillionaire index has a decent track record. It has outperformed the S&P 500 over a one and three year time frame, but it is lagging the S&P 500 in 2014.

Still, there are similar investments currently on the market such as the Global X Guru Index ETF (GURU), which tracks the holdings of prominent hedge funds.

You could also argue that since the billionaires aren't really buying anything that unconventional, an investor might be better off with a standard index fund, like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).

Related: Why Bill Ackman's bet against Herbalife could fail

Johnson notes there's been heated competition in the ETF field in recent years. Investment firms were "throwing anything against the wall" to see what stuck. The upside is that all the competition drove down fees.

The iBillionaire ETF, for example, will have an annual expense ratio cost of just 0.65%. That works out to $6.50 in fees for every $1,000 you invest. That's slightly lower than what the Guru ETF charges. And it's much lower than a hedge fund's fees.

  • Warren Buffett is Heisenberg?

    Billionaire investor Warren Buffett took his love of "Breaking Bad" to another level Sunday night during the season finale of the award-winning series.

    The Oracle of Omaha tweeted a picture of himself as Heisenberg, the alter ego of former chemistry teacher Walter White turned crystal meth kingpin, along with the message "Not even the Oracle knows what will happen tonight. #waltsuccessor."

    The tweet came two minutes into the final episode and was MORE

    - Sep 30, 2013 11:27 AM ET
  • Bill Gross: What if the good times end?

    Bond guru Bill Gross is wondering how investors will fare if the current economic recovery gets derailed.

    "All of us, even the old guys like Buffett, Soros, Fuss, yeah -- me too, have cut our teeth during perhaps a most advantageous period of time, the most attractive epoch that an investor could experience," Gross, the founder and co-chief investment officer of Pimco, wrote in his monthly investor letter.

    "What if a future epoch favors MORE

    - Apr 3, 2013 11:23 AM ET
  • Buffett's Heinz buy means nothing for market

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.

    When Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) bought railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe in late 2009, he famously declared that it was an "all-in" wager on the U.S. economy.

    And when Berkshire invested in Bank of America MORE

    - Feb 14, 2013 12:42 PM ET
  • Buffett's Berkshire buys stake in tractor maker Deere

    Warren Buffett is getting back to basics. Berkshire Hathaway's three new third quarter investments are in companies that create the building blocks for manufacturing and agriculture.

    Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) (BRKB) purchased new stakes in Deere & Company (DE), Precision Castparts (PCP),  and Wabco (WBC), according to SEC filings released Wednesday afternoon. Deere is the well-known maker of tractors and other farm equipment. Precision Castparts makes the nuts and MORE

    - Nov 14, 2012 5:46 PM ET
  • Buffett explains purple shoe question to Jack Welch

    Warren Buffett and Jack Welch had a bizarre exchange on CNBC Monday morning in which the Oracle of Omaha praised Welch's prowess as a salesman of purple shoes.

    The mystery is now solved, sort of.

    In a short email to CNNMoney late Tuesday, Buffett explained that Welch was "one helluva shoe salesman" when he worked for Thom McAn. The Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) (BRKB) CEO said Welch, a former chief executive of General MORE

    - Nov 6, 2012 5:02 PM ET
  • Whitney Tilson betting on Netflix and Buffett

    Whitney Tilson is doubling down on Netflix (NFLX) and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA).

    Speaking to investors at the Value Investing Congress in New York Monday, the well-known hedge fund manager said Netflix is due for an Amazon-style (AMZN) ride over the next decade. Investors seemed to agree (at least for now), sending shares of Netflix up 3% Monday.

    Tilson said Netflix has shown minimal profits because it's largely reinvested MORE

    - Oct 1, 2012 2:30 PM ET
  • Warren Buffett exits Intel

    Warren Buffett might not like technology that much after all.

    The legendary investor exited his entire position in Intel (INTC) during the second quarter. His firm, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) (BRKB), bought into the computer chip making firm just three quarters ago. Such a rapid exit is rare for Buffett, who is known for his buy-and-hold value stocks ethos.

    Berkshire Hathaway's only addition to his fund's portfolio in the second quarter was the MORE

    - Aug 14, 2012 4:58 PM ET
Fear & Greed
Sponsored by

To view my watchlist

Not a member yet?

Sign up now for a free account
Stupid Stock Move of the Day
#StupidStock Move of the Day! Yes, $UA is big momo stock. And it's off lows of day. But still not sure why it's down this much on strong #s.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.