Todd Combs has been hired to manage investments at Berkshire Hathaway. The news story reports:
Combs also made money before the financial crisis by shorting shares of mortgage giant Fannie Mae and reinsurer RenaissanceRe Holdings.
Short positions, or negative bets, returned 35.56% in 2007 and 36.68% in 2008 for the Castle Point Capital Master Fund, Combs’s hedge fund, according to investor letters and other documents obtained by MarketWatch.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR fund (XLF), an exchange-traded fund that tracks financial-services stocks in the S&P 500, slumped more than 46% in the same period. This is the benchmark Castle Point uses to judge performance.
Doesn't it seem odd to use an ETF that's long financials as your benchmark when you're making your money shorting financials?
Disclosure: I am long BRK and cats.