Score one for Warren Buffett and zero for hedge funds — and millions for Girls Inc. of Omaha.
In 2007, the famed billionaire investor made a $1 million bet that an S&P 500 stock index fund would outperform a basket of hedge funds over the course of a decade.
The index fund returned 7.1 percent compounded annually over the 10-year period, easily beating the 2.2 percent average return of a basket of funds picked by asset manager Protege Partners, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Buffett promised to give the prize money to his local affiliate of Girls Inc., a non-profit organization that provides programs designed to inspire "all girls to be strong, smart and bold."
It turns out Girls Inc. of Omaha will be receiving much more than the original $1 million wager thanks to a change in the bet that included the purchase of Berkshire Hathaway B shares, the Journal reports.
In the original bet, the two sides put about $320,000 into bonds that were expected to appreciate to $1 million dollars over the decade. As the bonds appreciated faster than expected, thanks to falling interest rates, they agreed to fatten the pot in 2012 by buying Berkshire B shares as part of that bet. Those shares are now worth about $2.2 million.
Executive director Roberta Wihelm said Girls Inc. of Omaha is grateful for the proceeds of the winning bet.
"An investment in the girls' potential always pays off over time and, like Warren, we're in it for the long haul," Wilheim said in an email. "We'll put the money to work helping girls grow up to become confident, self-sufficient women."
The organization told the Journal that it plans to invest the donation and use the proceeds for transitional housing for 16 young women who are aging out of foster care.
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