This time every year thousands of people from all over the world are gathering in Omaha to hear the words of Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger. This year the crowd was about 44,000 people and they were not disappointed. The meeting started at 8:30 with the annual movie and at about 9:00, Warren and Charlie started the Q&A session. They answered question for about six hours on every topics. As always no questions were off limit.
Here follow my notes from the meeting. The notes will not cover all the topics and they are my attempt to summarise their most important points. […]
This is the question that many shareholders are asking every year. Berkshire Hathaway has grown from a small textile company to the 4th largest US company under the leadership of Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger. Now, a lot of people fear that when the two great leaders are not running the company any more, this great story will come to end, because in many people’s eyes Berkshire Hathaway is Warren Buffett. This is a valid concern. Or is it not?
As Charlie once said, when asked about the future of Berkshire, “If your main concern in life is who will succeed Warren then you have any easy life”. […]
On Saturday 3rd of May I joined almost 38,000 other “students” to attend the master class for investors that is the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. People started queuing at 2:30 am on Saturday in order to get a front seat to listen to Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger. A student was paid $100 to start queuing at 3:00 am for a shareholder who arrived at 7:00 am to take his place in the line. As per usual, Warren Buffett and his long time business partner Charlie Munger sat on stage in Omaha, Nebraska, for over five hours answering questions from reporters, financial analysts, and Berkshire shareholders. Many shareholders had travelled great distances to be part of the weekend.[…]
On Saturday 1st of March, Warren Buffet released his 2013 annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. As always his letter is a great read, because it does not only tell you about his company but also gives general advice on investments and finance. He has been helping people for years to better understand the investment process and what they should look for and what to avoid. His insights on how to value companies are priceless. In addition, he sometimes gives general finance advice to help people who are not investment professionals themselves and they just want to look after their wealth and grow it.[…]
There seems to be a lot of confusion and discussion on how to value a business and determine what is a fair price to pay. If you are wondering whether to buy a share or the whole business you must be able to answer a simple question. How much is the value of the business and is the current price fair? After all a stock is part ownership of a business.
So let’s start from the beginning. Valuing a business is an eight step process and it takes time and effort.[…]
I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for tho’ I have been, if I may say it without vanity, an eminent author of almanacs annually now a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way, for what reason I know not, have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and no other author has taken the least notice of me, so that did not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged me.[…]
Benjamin Franklin was a man of many roles – printer, author, philosopher, scientist, inventor, diplomat and politician to name a few. One of the most bold and arduous projects he undertook was to arrive at moral perfection. He wanted to live without committing any fault at any time and to conquer all that either natural inclination, custom or company might lead him into. As he knew, or thought he knew, what was right and wrong, he did not see why he might not always do the one and avoid the other.[…]
Last weekend I went to Omaha for the annual Shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway. It was an opportunity to see and hear Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger speak live and answer questions for more than 5 hours. It is a great experience and really well worth it.
On Friday evening, there were welcome drinks with food and a live band at Borsheims. It attracted a big crowd and it was a great place to socialise and meet fellow shareholders. Some of them have been going to the annual meeting for 30 years, but there were also a few that this was the first meeting that they attended.[…]
By WARREN E. BUFFETT
Published: February 9, 2012
Investing is often described as the process of laying out money now in the expectation of receiving more money in the future. At Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) we take a more demanding approach, defining investing as the transfer to others of purchasing power now with the reasoned expectation of receiving more purchasing power — after taxes have been paid on nominal gains — in the future. More succinctly, investing is forgoing consumption now in order to have the ability to consume more at a later date.
From our definition there flows an important corollary: The riskiness of an investment is not measured by beta (a Wall Street term encompassing volatility and often used in measuring risk) but rather by the probability — the reasoned probability — of that investment causing its owner a loss of purchasing power over his contemplated holding period. Assets can fluctuate greatly in price and not be risky as long as they are reasonably certain to deliver increased purchasing power over their holding period. And as we will see, a nonfluctuating asset can be laden with risk.[…]
The “know” and “don’t know” schools
The “I know” school people believe they can discern what the future holds, and in their world investing is a simple matter:
- First you decide what the economy is going to do in the period under consideration.
- Then you figure out what the impact will be on interest rates.
- From this you infer how the securities markets will perform.
- You choose the industries that will do best in that environment.
- You make judgments about how the industries’ companies will fare in terms of profits.
- Based on all of this information, you pick stocks that are bound to appreciate.[…]
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