Berkshire Hathaway 2004 Annual Meeting Transcript
Transcript of the 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting held on May 1, 2004 on Omaha, Nebraska:
(Click here to skip to the Q&A section)
(To see the full transcripts of all Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meetings on record, click here)
Appreciation for Andy Heyward and Kelly Muchemore
Good morning. Some of you may have noticed a stunt man was used in that.
Arnold just couldn’t handle some of those scenes.
Before we get started, I’d especially like to thank Andy Heyward, who’s here today and if we can… I don’t know whether we can find him out in the crowd, it’s a little hard to see from up here.
But Andy runs DiC Productions. He does that cartoon for us and let’s give him a big hand.
Andy has produced a really extraordinary series telling the story of the beginning of this country called “Liberty’s Kids.” It’s been on public broadcasting the last couple of years. It’s great for kids but it’s great for adults, too. I’ve watched a number of sessions myself.
And this summer, in July, it will go on sale at Walmart, a very special celebration. And for those of you who want to pick out something good for your children or your grandchildren, I can’t think of a better series to have them watching. And thanks again Andy.
And thanks also to Kelly Muchemore who puts this whole production on.
This is Kelly’s show.
She, along with that dog Dudley, who you saw in the movie… Dudley is a regular at Berkshire Hathaway. We don’t count him in the 15.8, but she, along with Dudley, handle everything. I don’t even give a thought to what’s going to happen here, as might become evident during the meeting.
She is responsible for putting up that whole exhibition arrangement and really the whole thing. So, Kelly, I don’t know where you are exactly, but in any event, thank you very much.
Start of formal business meeting
Now, we’ll go through the business part of the meeting. And it may take a little longer than usual, but please be patient.
And I’d like to start out by calling the meeting to order. I’m Warren Buffett, chairman of the board of Berkshire Hathaway, and I welcome you to this meeting.
This hyperkinetic fellow next to me is Charlie Munger… the vice chairman. And we will have a good time, and I hope you do, too.
We work together because he can hear and I can see. I mean, it’s… there are times where we can’t remember each other’s name, but we have a lot of fun together.
Now, any shareholder who wishes to speak regarding the shareholder proposal expected to be presented by Human Life International, or any other matters germane to the shareholder’s meeting, should now go to microphone zone 1, which is in section 121 over on my right.
Or section 2, which is at section 221, I believe that’s higher up on my right. And… let me see if I have that right. Yeah, or go to section 7, which is… or section 105… which is microphone 7 on my left. Or to section 205, which is microphone 8.
If you’ll go to… if you’re going to want to talk about anything concerning the business of the meeting, not the questions afterwards, but just that relates to the matters germane to the meeting, please go there now, because I’m not going to be able to spot people in a crowd this size.
And when it comes time to do the business, we’re going to ask anybody that cares to speak up on the business to be at those microphones. And that will be in just a couple of minutes.
Now after adjournment of the business meeting, I’ll respond to questions that you may have that relate to the businesses of Berkshire but that don’t call for any action at the meeting.
We had some complaints after last year that some people were asking six or seven-part questions. At least, that’s the reason I’m giving that we’re eliminating those.
The bigger reason is Charlie and I can’t remember the first part by the time you get to the fifth part.
So, we are asking you to ask only one question. And don’t try to get too clever about working three or four into a single question.
And that will give more people a chance to get their questions asked. Only one question at a time and we will go around from microphone to microphone and get as many in as we can.
Now, we’re going to do this until noon and then we’ll take a break for lunch and we’ll come back about one and we’ll continue until 3:30. And anything goes on the questions. We’ll answer almost anything, except questions about what we may be buying or selling.
You’re free, of course, to wander around, go over and buy things. You know, we have a lot of things for sale over there.
It’s… as I’ve pointed out in the past, it’s better form to leave while Charlie is speaking than when I’m speaking, but you can… use your own judgment on that.
Now, I do want to remind you that any audio or video recording of this meeting is prohibited. That if anybody’s seen recording the proceedings, we will have to ask you to leave. So, if you see anybody doing that, we would appreciate it if you would just inform one of the staff personnel around.
Because there’s certain copyrighted material that we use and people, like Judge Judy, give us permission to use a segment like that. But it’s not intended to be used in any commercial way. So, we do ask that no recording take place.
Warren introduces Berkshire’s Board of Directors
Now, I’ll first introduce the Berkshire Hathaway directors that are present, in addition to myself and Charlie. Now, I’ll ask the directors to stand as their names are read and ask that you withhold applause, if any… until all are introduced.
We have… I don’t know whether we have anybody here from CalPERS, but they can register their own views as we go along.
And it is difficult to see from here, so if you’ll just stand as I mention your name and remain standing until the end, when we will see whether you get any applause.
Susan T. Buffett. Howard G. Buffett. Malcolm G. Chace. David S. Gottesman… Sandy had a conflict today. There’s a bat mitzvah, I believe, for a granddaughter, so he’s coming in tomorrow for our director’s meeting on Monday.
Charlotte Guyman. Donald R. Keough. Thomas S. Murphy. Ronald L. Olson, and Walter Scott Jr. And now you can go crazy.
Four questions Warren suggested be asked to the independent accountants by all audit committees.
Also with us today are partners in the firm of Deloitte & Touche, our auditors. They are available to respond to appropriate questions you might have concerning their firm’s audit of the accounts of Berkshire.
In that regard, I wish to report that at Berkshire’s audit committee meeting held on March 2nd, 2004, Deloitte & Touche responded to the four questions I suggested be asked to the independent accountants by all audit committees. And we’re going to put these up in just a second.
With respect to Berkshire, the questions and the auditors’ responses will be shown on the following slides.
And I might mention that I really do think these questions should be asked of all auditors, at least annually, perhaps even quarterly.
And I really think that, if such a procedure had been followed over the years… don’t eat them all Charlie.
If such procedures had been followed over the years, there would have been a lot less trouble in corporate America.
I mean, for many years, particularly in the ’90s, I think there was a weakening, frankly, in auditor vigilance. And the trick, as I’ve said, is really to have the auditors more worried about the audit committee than they are worried about the management.
And it’s quite natural when they’re, essentially, hired by the management and when they see the management regularly and they only see the audit committee infrequently, that it’s tempting to listen a little bit more to management than the audit committee.
But these questions, if asked, in my view… and if the answers are put on the record… I think it would have a very helpful effect on behavior. Because once on the record, it means the auditors… it means they’re on the line.
And I’ve been on a lot of boards of directors and I’ve seen, in retrospect, things go by that I wish had been called to my attention by the auditors.
So we have these four questions. And if we’ll put up the first one… and I’d like to explain one item. Do we have those up? Yeah.
You can read the question and these are the responses, as we go along, that the auditors have given to these questions.
Now you’ll notice on the first one that there is one item that… and incidentally, we owe a shareholder, who I think is going to speak later… it was his suggestion that we actually present these at the meeting. And I think it’s a good suggestion. And I think if more companies did it, it would be a good idea. So I thank him for the suggestion.
The major item, which is not material, as auditors define it, but the major item in which we disagree and use a method which I will explain further… actually, it’s been changed… but concerns the purchase of life insurance policies, or the reinsurance of people who are purchasing life insurance policies, their so-called viatical settlements.
And we have had a business, of sorts, in that. And it’s likely to even be a larger business in the future.
And what takes place there is that somebody, usually elderly, has a life insurance policy and they’d rather have the money themselves than have their heirs get it later on. So, they want to cash out early.
And as you know, a life insurance policy typically has a cash surrender value. And sometimes those cash surrender values are quite low in relation to the actuarial value of the policy. So sometimes those people wish to sell a policy.
We had a case the other day where a 79-year-old woman had an insurance policy amounting to some $75 million. I’ve never met her, but she must be quite a woman, but…
The cash surrender value of that policy was $2 million. Clearly, for even a 79-year-old in the best of health, that was an inadequate sum for her to receive. But yet she wished to have the cash herself rather than eventually die and leave it to her heirs.
So, we paid… or we actually reinsured a transaction where somebody else did it, and we took only 50 percent of it, but I’m going to use a hundred percent figures.
We reinsured… we bought that policy for $10 million. And under accounting rules… GAAP accounting… we… it is recommended that we write that policy down immediately to the cash surrender value of 2 million. Well obviously, we think it’s worth 10 million or we wouldn’t have paid 10 million for it today.
But the rules, as they become more clear, say write it down immediately. I happen to think that rule is wrong. But last year, at the end of the year, there had been a total of $73 million applicable to such policies that reflected our purchase price as opposed to the cash surrender value.
In the first quarter of 2004, our activity has stepped up in this field some… the people we reinsure have stepped up their activities, so we get our 50 percent. And that amounts to… it’s going to amount in the first quarter to about 30 million.
So, we have adopted… even though we think it’s in incorrect… we have adopted the GAAP accounting. And you will see in the first quarter report of Berkshire the charge for the 73 million of last year plus the 30 million in the first quarter this year.
And that gets charged, believe it or not, to realized capital gains. And so, by buying these policies for X on one day and immediately writing them down substantially, that becomes a realized capital loss on our book. Now later on, we expect to get a perfectly satisfactory return from these policies. But that is the main item that is referred to in the auditor’s answer on question one.
Now, if we’ll go to number 2. You have time to read that.
I like the idea of this question being asked. I’ve read many reports where the footnotes are such that even if I reread them several times, I still don’t know what’s happened. And we try to write everything in plain English at Berkshire, and we try to explain things within the body of the letter that might give people the wrong impression if they simply looked at the figures, or that they might not be able to discern.
Because Berkshire’s gotten so large that we… there are all kinds of things that are lumped together in the consolidated statements, that I think it’s more helpful if we look at separately.
We’re going to work at… annually… at trying to disaggregate numbers and information in a way that makes it most useful without turning out something as long as the World Book.
Third item is very simple.
And the fourth item relates to something that became very prevalent in corporate America in the 1990s, which was moving around numbers from one quarter to another or moving them for one year to another.
And I have seen a lot of that. It’s deceptive. I like the statement that the two fellows at Google made the other day where they essentially said that if numbers are lumpy or peculiar when they get to them, they’re going to be lumpy or peculiar when they get to the public.
And if there’s some reason that requires explanation as to why they’re lumpy, that the management should explain them. But the one thing they shouldn’t do is start playing games from quarter to quarter or year to year in terms of moving numbers around.
And that became very fashionable. I hope it’s on the way to being moderated and we will continue to… each year, we will give you these questions at the meeting and we will report on the auditor’s answers.
Election of Berkshire’s Board of Directors
Mr. Forrest Krutter is secretary of Berkshire. He will make a written record of the proceedings. Miss Becki Amick has been appointed inspector of elections at the meeting. She will certify to the count of votes cast in the election for directors. The named proxy holders for this meeting are Walter Scott Jr. and Marc D. Hamburg.
Does the secretary have a report of the number of Berkshire shares outstanding, entitled to vote, and represented at the meeting?
Yes, I do. As indicated in the proxy statement that accompanied the notice of this meeting that was sent to all shareholders of record on March 3rd, 2004, being the record date for this meeting, there were 1,278,436 shares of Class A Berkshire Hathaway common stock outstanding with each share entitled to one vote on motions considered at the meeting, and 7,766,293 shares of
Class B Berkshire Hathaway common stock outstanding, with each share entitled to 1/200th of one vote on motions considered at the meeting.
Of that number, 1,121,231 Class A shares and 6,473,904 Class B shares are represented at this meeting by proxies returned through Thursday evening, April 29th.
Thank you. That number represents a quorum and we will therefore directly proceed with the meeting.
First order of business will be a reading of the minutes of the last meeting of shareholders. I recognize Mr. Walter Scott, who will place a motion before the meeting.
I move that the reading of the minutes of the last meeting of shareholders be dispensed with and the minutes be approved.
Do I hear a second?
Voice from Audience:
Motion has been moved and seconded. Are there any comments or questions?
We will vote on this motion by voice vote. All those in favor say “aye.”
Voice from Audience:
Opposed? Motion’s carried.
First item of business at this meeting is to elect directors. If a shareholder is present who wishes to withdraw a proxy previously sent in and vote in person on the election of directors, he and she may do so. Also, if any shareholder that is present has not turned in a proxy and desires a ballot in order to vote in person, you may do so.
If you wish to do this, please identify yourself to meeting officials in the aisles who will furnish a ballot to you.
Would those persons desiring ballots please identify themselves so that we may distribute them? And I now recognize Mr. Walter Scott to place a motion before the meeting with a respect to election of directions.
I move that Warren E. Buffett, Charles T. Munger, Susan T. Buffett, Howard G. Buffett, Malcolm G. Chace, David S. Gottesman, Charlotte Guyman, Donald R. Keough, Thomas S. Murphy, Ronald L. Olson, and Walter Scott Jr. be elected directors.
Is there a second?
It’s been moved and seconded that Warren E. Buffett, Charles T. Munger, Susan T. Buffett, Howard G. Buffett, Malcolm G. Chace, David S. Gottesman, Charlotte Guyman, Donald R. Keough, Thomas S. Murphy, Ronald L. Olson, and Walter Scott Jr. be elected as directors.
Are there any other nominations? Is there any discussion? Is there anybody that is at the microphones that would…
Yes. Paul Tomasik, Thornton in Illinois.
I like the idea of inside directors. I think they’re necessary. However, I think we should have the best available. In particular, I’d like you to consider the CEOs of the Berkshire subsidiaries.
If you compare their qualifications to Susan Buffett’s and Howard Buffett’s, I think you’ll find that the CEOs have superior qualifications, particularly, business savvy and the ability to stand up to a forceful CEO.
I’d like to point out that we’ll hear how many of these CEOs are independently wealthy and could easily say, “Take this job and shove it.” So this is why I am withholding my votes for the directors. Thank you.
Thank you. Charlie, do you have any thoughts on that?
I think we should go on to the next item. .
The nominations are ready to be acted upon. If there are any shareholders voting in person, they should now mark their ballots on the election of directors and allow the ballots to be delivered to the inspector of election.
Would the proxy holders please also submit to the inspectors of elections a ballot on the election of directors voting the proxies in accordance with the instructions they have received.
Miss Amick, when you are ready, you may give your report.
My report is ready. The ballot of the proxy holders, in response to proxies that were received through last Thursday evening, cast not less than 1,123,189 votes for each nominee. That number far exceeds a majority of the number of the total votes related to all Class A and Class B shares outstanding.
The certification required by the Delaware law of the precise count of the votes, including the additional votes to be cast by the proxy holders in response to the proxies delivered at this meeting, as well as any cast in person at this meeting, will be given to the secretary to be placed with the minutes of this meeting.
Thank you, Miss Amick. Warren E. Buffett, Susan T. Buffett, Howard G. Buffett, Malcolm G. Chase, David S. Gottesman, Charlotte Guyman, Donald R. Keough, Thomas S. Murphy, Charles T. Munger, Ronald L. Olson, and Walter Scott, Jr. have been elected as directors.
A shareholder proposes that Berkshire and its subsidiaries be required to publish a detailed statement of each political contribution
The next item is business is a proposal put forth by Berkshire shareholder Human Life International, the owner of one Class B share.
Human Life International’s motion is set forth in the proxy statement and provides that the company be required to publish annually a detailed statement of each contribution made by the company and its subsidiaries in various political causes.
The directors have recommended the shareholders vote against the proposal. We will now open the floor to recognize the appointed representative of Human Life International to present their proposal. Is someone here to present that?
Yes, Mr. Buffett. My name is Tom Strobhar and I do represent Human Life International. And I’m here to present the shareholder resolution regarding political contributions.
But before I do, I’d like to give you a little background. Some of you may remember, two years ago, there was a resolution asking the company to end its charitable giving program.
The resolution said corporate charitable contributions should help, not hinder, the company and suggested certain contributions, especially those related to abortion and population control, were doing just that.
This proposal was soundly defeated by the shareholders, receiving less than 3 percent of the vote. Oddly enough, a little over one year later, Mr. Buffett, in his wisdom, did terminate this program citing the adverse impact his philanthropic interests were having on the livelihoods of some employees at the Pampered Chefs division.
At the time of the resolution, we first learned that Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger were directing their money to their personal foundations rather than more recognized public charities.
While previous chairman’s letters extolled the high participation levels among eligible shareholders, no mention was made that Mr. Buffett, who accounted for 31 percent of the equity of the company, was giving away almost 55 percent of the charitable gifts.
Why all of you B shareholders, who probably comprise a majority of the people in this audience, were excluded from giving, and whose vote on this proposal was dramatically diluted down to 1/200th of the value of an A share… which obviously is not quite democratic.
I refer you to the 1983 Chairman’s Letter. In addressing why he wouldn’t split the stock, Mr. Buffett describes something he calls “shareholder eugenics.”
Mr. Buffett laments how it’s impossible to screen entering members of the shareholder “club” for quotes, “intellectual capacity, emotional stability, moral sensibility, or acceptable dress.”
Splitting the stock and lowering the price of admission to the club… Class B shareholders take note… “would attract an entering class of buyers inferior to the existing class” and “downgrade the quality of our present shareholder group,” end quote.
All told, Mr. Buffett gave to his private foundation almost $100 million, much of it other shareholders’ money. This money, in turn, was devoted almost exclusively to population control seeking to lessen the number of people at a time when Western nations, especially those in Europe and Japan, face economic calamity from a baby bust.
How do charitable contributions relate to political contributions? It wasn’t until there was a resolution on charitable contributions that we received some disclosure. So too, with the resolution I’m about to present, did we find out the company gave a very modest $200,000 to various political candidates or causes.
While the charitable contributions may have been too much, the political contributions may be too little. Not necessarily from the company, but from other shareholders. If there are politicians or causes in which there is legitimate business interest in supporting, why not give the shareholders the opportunity to help them also?
By publishing the list, the word goes out to our thousands of shareholders who may wish to do the same with their own money. It costs little to publish, provides for transparency, checks any personal abuse, and sets an example to the rest of corporate America.
It also provides an opportunity for all the members of our shareholder club, even B shareholders, to get involved and help this company and help their investment.
And with that, I’d like to read the actual resolution, which I’m required to do.
“Within one month, after approval by the shareholders of this proposal, management shall publish in The Buffalo News a detailed statement of each contribution made by the company or of any of its subsidiaries, either directly or indirectly, within preceding fiscal year, in the respect of any political campaign, political party, referendum or citizen’s imitative, or attempts to influence legislation, specifying the date and amount of each contribution and the person or organization to whom the contribution was made.
“Subsequent to this initial disclosure, management shall cause like data to be included in each succeeding report to the shareholders. If no such disbursements were made, to have the facts so noted in the annual report.”
This proposal, if adopted, will require the management to advise its shareholders how many corporate dollars are being spent for political purposes, and to specify what politicians or political causes the management seeks to promote with these funds.
Political contributions are made with the dollars that belong to the shareholders of the group and they are entitled to know where their dollars are being spent. A vote for this proposal is a vote for full disclosure. Thank you.
Is there anyone else that would care to speak on the motion?
Charlie, do you have any comment?
Well, I preferred our old charitable giving program to the way most corporations do it in America… where the controlling officers decide. However, it’s a dead horse. It’s gone and there’s no point beating on the corpse.
The dead horse will now speak.
I just want to add one point, because it a little different than occurs at many other corporations. To my knowledge or memory, I don’t believe Charlie and I have ever asked any employee or any vendor to Berkshire… any employee of Berkshire or a vendor to Berkshire… for either political contributions or charitable contributions.
There’s been no… there’s been no use of our positions to, in effect, extract money for our own personal causes, either in the charitable area or the political area. Is that correct, Charlie?
Yeah, but we don’t deserve too much credit for not asking other people for charitable contributions.
Think what the reciprocity implications would be.
But it’s a fairly common activity.
So here we are. We’ll… if any shareholder’s voting in person, they should now mark their ballots in the… on the motion and allow the ballots to be delivered to the inspector of elections.
Would the proxy holders please also submit to the inspector of elections a ballot on the proposal, voting of proxies in accordance with the instructions they have received? Miss Amick, when you are ready, you may give your report.
My report is ready. The ballet of the proxy holders, in response to proxies that were received through last Thursday evening, cast 27,287.605 votes for the motion and 936,045.815 votes against the motion.
As the number of votes against the motion exceeds a majority of the number of votes related to all Class A and Class B shares outstanding, the motion has failed. The certification required by Delaware law of the precise count of the votes will be given to the secretary to be placed with the minutes of this meeting.
Thank you, Miss Amick. The proposal fails.
A shareholder proposes that written rules for Berkshire’s annual meeting be put on the web
Does anyone have any further business to come before this meeting before we adjourn? If so…
…they should approach microphone 1 to be recognized. I believe we have someone.
Yes. Paul Tomasik, Thornton in Illinois.
I have a proposal to put written rules for this meeting, the formal part, on the web, in order that this meeting can be conducted fairly and with good faith.
Would you like a little more comment?
The faster you can make it, the better. But go to it.
Well, that’s it…
… on that one.
Is that a motion?
Well, do you want to… would you place all… if you have more motions, would you place them, or is that it?
No, certainly. The other three motions are to put the bylaws and the articles of incorporation up on the website, to write it into the bylaws how shareholders should present motions, and the fourth, to write it into the bylaws how shareholders can make director nominations.
To sum up, what these motions ask for is just tell us the rules. We’ll follow them. That’s it. Thank you.
OK, thank you.
I actually think you came up with a very good suggestion on the audit committee report, which we’ve incorporated. I don’t really think this would add much, but if there are any shareholders voting in person, they should now mark their ballots in the motion… on the motion… and allow the ballots to be delivered to the inspector of elections.
Would the proxy holders please also submit to the inspector of elections a ballot on the proposal, voting the proxies in accordance with the instructions they’ve received.
Miss Amick, when you are ready, you may give your report.
My report is ready. The ballot of the proxy holders cast 1,153,600.52 votes against the motion. As the number of votes against the motion exceeds a majority of the number of votes related to all Class A and Class B shares outstanding, the motion has failed.
The certification required by Delaware law of the precise count of the votes will be given to the secretary to be placed with the minutes of this meeting.
Thank, Miss Amick. The proposal fails.
End of formal business meeting
I now recognize Mr. Walter Scott to place a motion before the meeting.
I move the meeting be adjourned.
Is there a second?
Voice from Audience:
A motion to adjourn has been made and seconded. We will vote by voice. Is there any discussion? If not, all in favor say “aye.”
Voice from Audience:
All opposed say “no.” The meeting’s adjourned. OK, now we’re…
Q&A – Morning Session
(Click on a link below to skip to a particular topic)
- Whoever suggested that Warren leave the board of Coca-Cola “should do 500 sit-ups”.
- How to preserve capital and purchasing power in an inflationary environment.
- One of Berkshire’s strengths is not spending time talking to groups of analysts.
- Charlie “would rather throw a viper down” his shirtfront than hire a compensation consultant at Berkshire.
- Keep an open mind and invest in any good opportunity that comes.
- It’s very dangerous to project high growth rates when valuing companies.
- Charlie thinks the specialist system in the New York Stock Exchange “has worked pretty well over the years”.
- Warren: “Derivatives will either lead to or greatly accentuate some financial trauma”.
- No need to look outside Berkshire for Warren’s successor.
- How to be a good investor.
- Warren apologizes to and praises US Treasury assistant secretary Pamela Olson.
- The good thing about business is you don’t have to know any high math.
- The two kinds of mistake Warren has made in investing.
- It’s very hard to find good investment managers.
- The best way to minimize risk is to think.
- There’s plenty of fraud in various aspects of insurance.
- The effect of PUHCA’s repeal on MidAmerican Energy. To read more about PUHCA, click here.
- HomeServices, a Berkshire affiliate, will continue to grow. To know more about HomeServices and what it does, click here.
- Why the shareholder-designated contribution program was discontinued.
- Susie and Howard Buffett are on Berkshire’s board to guard its culture.
- Why after-tax profits as percentage of GDP of American companies won’t be changed by technology.
- How to estimate the future growth of a business and how much margin of safety to use.
- Regulatory impact varies enormously by the business.
- Warren and Charlie would never recommend buying or selling Berkshire to anyone.
- People tend to underestimate low-probability events when they haven’t happened recently and overestimate them when they have.
Q&A – Afternoon Session
(Click on a link below to skip to a particular topic)
- How an entry-level employee in a large company can find out if his or her employer is operating with honesty and integrity.
- The problem with setting up a Berkshire fund management company.
- The future of the buyout and the buying company industry.
- MidAmerican’s environmental policies rank among the best in the utilities industry.
- The United States “has certainly benefited enormously over the decades” from immigration.
- Why Berkshire won’t split its stock.
- Does ethical concerns affect Warren’s investment decisions?
- Warren would pay to be Berkshire’s CEO.
- Having wrong incentives would be very harmful to Berkshire’s insurance business.
- Why Warren invested in a “complicated and opaque country like China and PetroChina”.
- Warren and Charlie share their thoughts on the subject of asbestos tort reform. For more details on the asbestos tort reform, click here.
- When a company should pay out dividends, and when it should repurchase its stock.
- Companies that turn out a decent competitive product at the best price will win.
- Google’s co-founders was “inspired” by the Berkshire owner’s manual.
- Warren thinks the current business model of HomeServices is sustainable.
- Warren and Charlie talks about Phil Fisher who recently passed away.
- There is no formula that can used to come up with an appropriate compensation system that applies to all industries or businesses.
- Why Warren doesn’t invest in IPOs.
- Warren and Charlie don’t have a lot of arguments about where to eat.
- Don’t pass on a great investment opportunity because of negative external factors.
- The difference between an insurance policy and a derivatives contract.
- In aggregate, people that are now investing in hedge funds, are going to be disappointed.
- How to be successful at investing for a very long time.
- How to estimate a company’s intrinsic value.
- Warren explains the reason behind the timing of the release of Berkshire’s earnings reports.
- Warren and Charlie’s financial and life advice for young people.
- The major commodity markets aren’t rigged.
- Wells Fargo is not a big player in the derivatives market.
- The only reason a smart person that’s reasonably disciplined in how they look at investments can get in trouble is through leverage.
End of Q&A
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