Walter Schloss: Spotting Shining Stars in Stocks

Walter Schloss: Spotting Shining Stars in Stocks

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Walter Schloss was a renowned American stock investor and an influential figure in the world of investing. He learned his craft directly from Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, at Columbia University. Schloss’s investing style heavily emphasized the principles of value investing. Instead of finding companies with quick growth potential, he chose those with total values less than their breakup values.

For over 45 years, he managed his fund, Walter J. Schloss Associates. The fund achieved a track record of phenomenal returns, outpacing broader market indices and making him a favorite figure among many value investors. Schloss retired from the investing world in 2002. He passed away in 2012, leaving behind a legacy of value investing wisdom.

1. Walter Schloss’s Investment Philosophy

Walter Schloss was a firm believer in Benjamin Graham’s school of thought, known as value investing. Schloss’s approach to investing was methodical and disciplined. He preferred investing in companies that were undervalued, maintaining a diversified portfolio to spread risk. His philosophy was to buy stocks “on sale”, or when they were priced less than their intrinsic value.

Schloss placed less emphasis on the qualitative aspects of a company, such as the nature of its business, its profitability, or growth potential. Instead, his primary focus was on the company’s balance sheet. He believed in thoroughly studying the company’s financial health and staying patient with his investments.

Also, signifying his value investing philosophy, Schloss did not meet with management or listen to their stories. He believed the numbers spoke for themselves. His emphasis on avoiding predictions, constant analysis, and patience sets his philosophy apart.

2. Walter Schloss’s Achievements

Walter Schloss ran his fund, Walter J. Schloss Associates, for more than 45 years, demonstrating an impressive track record that widely outperformed the market. His long-term investment return was said to have exceeded 20% annually over that period, an exceptional achievement given the volatility of the market during those years.

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Warren Buffett, one of the most revered investors of our time, praised Schloss for his stellar investment performance. In 1984, in an article titled “The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville”, Buffett explained how Schloss’s investment strategy led to consistent outperformance against the market. This public endorsement further solidified Schloss’s standing within the investment community.

Despite not having the widespread name recognition of some other investors, Schloss’s acumen in picking undervalued stocks and consistent investment success earned him a place in the pantheon of great value investors.

3. Personal Life and Legacy of Walter Schloss

Walter Schloss was known as a humble and modest man despite his successes. He led a fairly private life outside of the investment world. Born in 1916, Schloss began working on Wall Street during the Great Depression, witnessing the stock market’s highs and lows throughout his life.

Even though he retired in 2002, Schloss left an enduring impact on the field of investing. His principles of value investing continue to guide many investors today, proving the timeless nature of his philosophy. His focus on fundamental analysis, discipline, and patient investing still hold relevance in today’s investment scenarios.

Schloss passed away in 2012, but his teachings and investment strategy live on. He is remembered as a quintessential value investor and his meticulous approach to selecting undervalued stocks remains a gold standard in the field of investment.


Walter Schloss stands as a testament to the potential of value investing, having achieved remarkable success with a simple yet disciplined approach. His legacy continues to inspire and guide investors worldwide, reminding them of the importance of patience, diligence, and analytically sound decisions in the pursuit of financial growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Walter Schloss was a disciple of Benjamin Graham and a staunch follower of the value investing philosophy.
  • He maintained a diversified portfolio of undervalued companies, focusing on their intrinsic value rather than qualitative aspects or growth potential.
  • The investment legacy of Walter Schloss continues to guide many present-day investors, highlighting the importance of fundamentals, patience, and discipline in investing.
  • Despite his humility and preference for a low profile, Schloss is celebrated as one of the greatest value investors, with a track record that outpaced the market by considerable margins.
  • His life and investment career serve as a strong testament to the timeless relevance of value investing.

Related Questions

1. What was Walter Schloss’s primary investment strategy?

Walter Schloss employed the value-investing strategy, focusing on picking companies that were undervalued and trading for less than their intrinsic value. He placed primary importance on the company’s balance sheet over any qualitative factors.

2. Who was Walter Schloss’s mentor?

Walter Schloss’s mentor was Benjamin Graham, the founding father of value investing. Schloss learned directly from Graham at Columbia University and built upon these principles throughout his investing career.

3. Did Walter Schloss meet with the management of the companies he invested in?

No, Walter Schloss distinctly avoided meeting with company management. He believed that numbers and financials gave a clearer, unbiased insight into the company’s value, as opposed to stories presented by the management.

4. How did Walter Schloss achieve long-term investment success?

Walter Schloss achieved long-term success through a disciplined approach of investing in undervalued companies, maintaining a diverse portfolio, and demonstrating consistent patience with his investments, rarely being swayed by market fluctuations.

5. How is Walter Schloss’s legacy remembered today?

Walter Schloss’s legacy lives on through his timeless value investing philosophy. His principles of diligent analysis, patient investing, and maintaining focus on a company’s intrinsic value still hold relevance and inspire many modern investors.