Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting – 2016

I just finished the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) annual meeting – what a fantastic marathon meeting from 9:30AM to 12:00PM, break for 1 hr, 1:00-3:30PM and final casting of shareholders votes at 4:15PM. Warren and Charlie were the usual self, entertaining themselves and of-course regaled the crowd of 17K or so in CenturyLink hall.

Many of the questions were the usual suspect about multi-faced businesses that they own, why he invest in Coca-Cola (KO) that is making people so called ‘obese’, whether IBM is still a good investment, how new Nebraska Furniture Mart in Dallas-Fortworth is doing, about Sequoia Fund in view of its Valeant (VRX) investment, BNSF, Insurance and General Re, and impact of global warming on their insurance business. Long time watchers of Berkshire Hathaway meeting almost know the expected answers from the Oracle of Omaha and Charlie, who is 92 yrs, and Warren being younger one at just 85 🙂 Warren joked that he would like to see his insurance business beat State Farms before he is 100. Charlie kept himself busy munching Sees-candies: Peanut Brittle and keeping his throat wet with soda.

There were many memorable moments in Q&A sessions at this Berkshire Hathaway meeting. However, there are few that stuck out and etched in my memory, not because of the answers, but, in-spite of the answer. Whenever Warren elaborated his answer, many times, he will ask Charlie to further explain or add his views, however, Charlie often did not take the bait and would crisply reply:

  • There is nothing to add to that!
  • My ignorance is more than yours. (my personal favorite 🙂  how about you?)
  • Warren, we do not need to answer that question.

There is lot to go through the meeting, however, below are some memorable quotes that applies to DGI investing that we all are so passionate about in our DGI community.

  1. EQ: We do not need to be smart to be good at investing, but need to have emotional stability.
  2. Temperament: We try to behave well in the business, rather than not. If used wisely, it can yield good results.
  3. Deal: You do not try to score all the points, but, as long as it looks good overall, it is a good deal. 
  4. My favorite employer is myself: I decided early in life.
  5. CNBC Risks: stand for Cyber, Nuclear, Biological, Chemical.

Warren took an aim at hedge funds and reminded about his $1 Million bet: any portfolio of hedge funds will under perform a passive S&P 500 index fund over 10 yrs. So far, he is winning the bet with 65.7% S&P 500 returns versus 21.9% HF returns. Warren did not hesitate to bash power point, even though Bill Gates was sitting right in the front rows! However, he got bashed in newspaper throwing contest by a small kid!!

Would love to hear from you and your experience.

Full Disclosure: Long on BRK.B, KO, IBM, except VRX.

What were the notable quotes and lessons you learnt in BRK meeting. Any other interesting anecdotes to share?