Santa knocks on all our doors not once, but four times a year. During his off-season, he reliably shows up bearing profitable gifts on February 14th, May 15th, August 14th and November 14th. These are the deadlines for 13-F filings with the SEC.
The “13-F” is a quarterly disclosure required of all individuals and entities who have $100 million or more invested in US equity markets. The 13-F is due within 45 days of quarter-end and lists the updated stock positions of the managers. These filings are publicly available at no charge to anyone. Websites like Dataroma make it a breeze to track the picks of various value investors. There is such a thing as a free lunch.
Non-believers will complain that buying these picks after a multi-month delay simply can’t work because markets are too efficient. Well… not so fast. A 2008 study by Professors Gerald Martin and John Puthenpurackal entitled, Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery, cloned Berkshire Hathaway’s equity portfolio between 1976 and 2006 by investing in the positions with a substantial delay. Their cloned portfolio always bought (or sold) on the last trading day of the month that it was publicly disclosed that Buffett had bought a new stock or lightened up on an existing one.