The Oracle of Omaha speaks — Financial Commentary


Michael D’Angelo, Staff

USA Today

Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, Warren Buffett (right), and Vice Chairman, Charles Munger (left). Buffet is famously referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha.” His value investing strategies have created impressive returns for his company, which he views as a “collection of businesses.”

Warren Buffett is a big name in the financial sector. He is known for his down to earth approach when it comes to investing and his frugal personality despite being worth billions. 

Buffett is the definition of the old-school Midwesterner who places his hope and confidence in his fellow Americans. He disdains Wall Street, instead choosing to operate his infamous holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, from Omaha, Nebraska. He is so frugal he chooses to purchase a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich with exact change every day before he goes into the office but chooses the cheaper option if the markets performed poorly the day prior. In addition, he still lives in the same house that he purchased in the early 1950s. 

Buffett accumulated his wealth by practicing a value investment strategy he learned from Benjamin Graham. This strategy relies on analyzing a company’s book value to determine if it is worth less than the market price. If this occurs, the stock is considered to be an undervalued and a cheap option. Buffett emphasizes buying cheap companies with value and knowing how the company operates. Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway own shares of major companies like Coca-Cola, Apple, General Motors and Verizon. 

In the past week, both Buffett and his company have been popping up over news headlines in many financial publications. This is due to the release of Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders and Berkshire’s 2020 annual report. I had the opportunity to read through Buffett’s letter  and despite some criticism regarding the letter to be socially tone-deaf, I believe he is spot on and paves a strong future for Berkshire Hathaway. 

In the letter, Buffett begins by detailing Berkshire’s earnings of $42.5 billion, then he jumps to emphasizing Berkshire’s retained earnings which he believes are building “value and lots of value.” Both Buffett and Charlie Munger, Buffett’s Vice Chairman at Berkshire Hathaway, view Berkshire as a collection of businesses in which the firm has invested in the “long-term prosperity” of those businesses’ success. He writes in the letter that Berkshire’s main goal is to own parts of, or all of, a diverse group of businesses with good economic characteristics and good management. 

As the letter moves on, Buffett sheds light on a mistake he made in purchasing aerospace company; Precision Castparts. He paid the wrong price for the company and misjudged the average amount of future earnings. Also, Buffett takes a shot at bonds and says that fixed income investors face a bleak future. To increase Berkshire’s profitability, Buffett repurchased back 80,998 A class shares and spent $24.7 billion in the process.  

Despite not addressing the pandemic, social justice protests, and other events of the past year, Buffett confidently concludes, “never bet against America.” Also, he ridicules market gurus and says they can find equities to fit their tastes instead of buying Berkshire. He goes on to describe investing as a positive-sum game where even a monkey can randomly toss darts at a board of S&P 500 companies and profit. This is certainly a response to bull market and retail trader enthusiasm since March. Buffet the letter iterating plans to meet with his best friend, Munger, in Los Angeles and to host the annual meeting on May 1. 

I enjoyed reading the letter and I agree with the legendary investor, we should have faith in America. We need to look forward to our country’s prosperity, despite so many obstacles in our way. After all, why bet against America? A country which holds a report card of economic success and entrepreneurial prosperity achieved by generations.

Don’t be afraid of stocks: an examination of financial bubbles and their history


Michael D’Angelo, Staff


Pictured above is the price index of Tulips from the infamous Tulip bubble burst of the 1600s in the Dutch Netherlands. The tulip bubble burst is the first ever recorded financial bubble in history.

Chances are if you checked the financial markets on Tuesday morning, indices were in the red. Many investors were concerned with a large federal stimulus package, the recent rise in commodities, and a rise in the 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond. Headlines regarding Michael Burry’s prediction about hyperinflation, Treasury Bonds, and WTI Crude Oil exploding to over $60 a barrel flooded the news on Monday and investors were alarmed. Tuesday’s open saw the tech heavy NASDAQ dropping nearly 3 percent. 

Amid growing concerns among investors, talks of a potential financial bubble, which occurs when asset prices become based on inconsistent and irrational views about the future, surfaced and Ray Dalio’s bubble indicator found 50 of the 1,000 biggest companies are in extreme bubbles. Although this is only half of the companies considered in a bubble from the Dot Com burst, investors should certainly take notice but not let news headlines deter from their equity investing.

Nonetheless, financial bubbles and investor psychology is still a fascinating topic. I recently became interested in the concept of financial bubbles after picking up a copy of the novel, Irrational Exuberance by Economist J.D. Shiller. In his book, Shiller accurately predicted the housing crisis and suggests monetary policy tools to ease the consequences of financial bubbles. The term “Irrational Exuberance” was coined by former Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, in the late 1980s. Below is the  breakdown and examination of the history of bubbles.

Financial bubbles have occurred all throughout history; In the 1630s, the Dutch went crazy for Tulip bulbs. The price soared from 1636 to 1637 and many went so far as selling their homes to purchase the simple garden plant. Eventually, the mass hysteria surrounding tulips faded and the price of tulips declined 90 percent.. 

Do you remember Isaac Newton, the pioneer of the concept of gravity? Well, Newton was burned hard and lost a fortune when the South Sea Company bubble burst in the 1720s. The South Sea Company was promised a monopoly by the British government to trade in South American colonies. British investors dived headfirst into the South Sea and the stock reached a high over 1,000 pounds and then came down after news of fraud and the monopoly fell out. 

Bubbles are no phenomena to the past as we have seen in the modern era. The Japanese real estate and equity markets exploded in the late 1980s and then came down.  The Dotcom bubble occurred in the United States in the late 1990s to early 2000s when investors dived into tech and internet stocks. The most recent bubble occurred with the U.S. housing market in the late 2000s to 2010s. Housing prices increased dramatically leading many investors to falsely believe the inability of the housing market to crash. The market declined dramatically, due to an excess of subprime mortgage loans, followed by the global recession due to mortgage securitization. 

History certainly has a knack of repeating itself and we could be seeing another bubble occur in any sector of the economy. With bubbles and investor mania creating a collapse of asset prices, the key to surviving the next bubble is to rely less on weekend worrying, where we, as retail investors or institutional investors, absorb weekly  news on the weekend leading to a belief in an economic doom at the start of a new week. To take from Peter Lynch, we should not get scared out of stocks.

La Salle alumni changing the field of fintech


Michael D’Angelo, Staff

The website,, a platform developed by two La Salle University alumni, is a new and upcoming company in the financial technology industry.

Here at the Collegian, we love stories which highlight the success of La Salle alumni and how they make a difference in the world around them. Two La Salle alumni, Alan Angeloni, ‘18, and current graduate student Nicholas Dingler, ‘20, are shaking up the financial technology (fintech) industry with their new website.

Angeloni was a finance major at La Salle with a focus in investment analysis and served as vice president of the Investment Club for two years. As an undergrad, Dingler was an integrated science, business and technology major and is currently pursuing an MBA in finance. The website includes various articles and tools centered around personal finance and investing. I had the privilege to catch up with Alan and Nick, where I asked them some questions centering around FinPro, the fintech industry and the financial markets.  Catch the full interview below below. 

Collegian: How did you both come up with the idea for FinPro? 

We started FinPro in 2018 — Alan’s senior year and Nick’s sophomore year of college — as we were in the same fraternity. At the time, we just wanted to spread financial literacy and share what we had been learning at school, in our free time about the markets on social media. We soon came to the realization that these social platforms were here to stay and were replacing traditional media outlets at a rapid pace. We wanted to be where the attention was and where there would be in a future.

We saw that financial firms at the time were avoiding growing audiences on social media due to compliance issues. So, we moved aggressively into social media. We currently have an Instagram page with over 800,000 followers, a TikTok page with over 16,000 followers, and since the launch of our investment marketplace in December, we have matched over 1000 people with investment firms and have over 50,000 monthly readers on our website. 

Collegian: What is the future of the FinTech industry and the financial services industry in your opinion?

Simplicity and accessibility are everything for the technology industry. Traditional institutions are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth of neobanks (online or digital banks), robo-advisors and payment processors, given how fast tech-enabled companies can pivot and add new features on the fly. 

Collegian: What is FinPro’s mission and culture? 

Our mission is to find the right investment for our users. Our culture fosters innovation and creative thinking. We love having an open dialog with all of our team members. If you don’t like something, speak up. We’re here to offer the best product and services for our users. Our stakeholders should be comfortable enough saying to either of us, “This looks terrible, we should be doing this, why aren’t we doing this, have you thought about this,” etc.

How do you think FinPro can change the financial sector?

By fostering transparency, accessibility, and knowledge. One big issue with the financial services industry is that there isn’t a whole lot of transparency on what exactly these firms are doing with your money, how they are profiting with your money and what risks are involved. We strive to make all of these points clear while also showcasing the opportunities that people have access to. We seek to further educate them on these financial products, so that there is no room for misconception.

Collegian: What is the future of FinPro and what do the both of you have in mind? 

We plan to increase our suite of financial tools to help individuals make financial decisions and boost our content production efforts to further spread financial literacy.

Collegian: What do you think about the market right now? Are equities overvalued or undervalued?

It really comes down to each specific sector, but it can be quite difficult to justify some valuations in certain industries. We currently see an abundance of opportunities in the alternative space given the vast attention the equities market has received over the past year. Luckily, the Robinhood effect is occurring within the alternatives industry and it’s never been easier to get exposure to alternative assets. We are currently living in a time where regulations are being lifted to give retail investors access to the same opportunities institutional investors have received for decades.