Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Passing of a Superinvestor of Graham and Doddsville: Mr. William Ruane

The founder of the Sequoia Fund, Mr William Ruane, passed away at the age of 79 on Oct 4. Even though Mr Ruane had a degree in electrical engineering, his life path changed after he attended Benjamin Graham's class at Columbia in 1950. He had attended Graham's class alongside Warren Buffett. When Buffett wound up the Buffett Parnership in 1969, he requested Mr Ruane to set up a fund to handle Buffett's partners. It is a testimony to Mr Ruane's ability as he was the only person Buffett recommended to his partners.

An investor who invested S$10,000 with Mr Ruane at his fund's inception in 1970 would be S$1.1 million richer today (dividends reinvested). As extracted from Buffett's speech, The Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville, the annual gross investment return of the Sequoia Fund of 18.2% out-strips the 10.0% return of the S&P 500 index [for the period of 1970 - 1984].

At the 2005 Sequoia Fund shareholders' meeting, Mr Ruane reportedly offered two rules of investment, borrowed from his old friend Buffett: "Rule No. 1: Don't lose money. Rule No. 2: Don't forget Rule No. 1."

The value investing community mourns the passing of a great iconic figure.

See the official announcement at:



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