If you were to ask any knowledgeable investor for the name of the most successful financial holding company in history, chances are they'll respond with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A)(NYSE:BRK-B).

And they'd be right; since Warren Buffett took the helm nearly five decades ago, Berkshire Hathaway has averaged a compound annual gain in book value in excess of 19%, absolutely crushing the S&P 500's returns by more than 10% per year and turning thousands into millions.

But as Fool contributor Steve Symington explains in the following video, even though Berkshire Hathaway still has all the necessary ingredients to continue beating the market going forward -- albeit at a lower clip than it did in years past, given the constraints of its enormous size -- he doesn't own Berkshire stock.

Why? Because he prefers holding shares of Markel (NYSE:MKL), a much smaller financial holding company with decades of growth ahead of it. Check out the video to hear Steve's full take on why he's chosen Markel over Berkshire.

Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Markel. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Markel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.