Michael D’Angelo, Staff
Pictured above is Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO Warren Buffet and Executive Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. Both men practice a value investing strategy and have created impressive returns for their shareholders.
Over the weekend, Berkshire Hathaway held their annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles, California. For the first time ever in the company’s long history, they held a shareholder meeting outside of Omaha, Nebraska. The meeting was headed by Berkshire’s executive staff, CEO and Chairman Warren Buffet and Executive Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.
Both Buffett and Munger are hailed as some of the greatest investors of all time. They believe in a value investing strategy influenced by the principles of Benjamin Graham. Graham is most famous for developing the Margin of Safety principle and for writing the finance classic “The Intelligent Investor.” In addition, they are greatly influenced by the strategies of Phil Fisher, the author of “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” who famously believed the best time to sell a stock is never. Buffett and Munger emphasize a long-term investing strategy with an emphasis of finding “cheap” companies that appear to be trading below book value in the market. They own portions of great American corporations like Coca-Cola, Apple, Bank of America, Verizon and American Express.
At the meeting, Buffett and Munger fielded and answered various questions. With their growing age, they confirmed their eventual successor: Greg Abel, a current Vice Chairman, will take over as CEO and direct operations. Buffet emphasized his belief around stock picking for the average investor. He stated, “I do not think the average person can pick stocks.” His suggestion, instead, was to diversify into American equities and purchase a fund which follows the performance of the S&P 500. Buffet has made this point plenty of times in the past.
Both Buffett and Munger took jabs at the recent rise in SPACs and believe more people are turning to the market in a gambling-like sense. Buffet even went as far as calling SPACs an “exaggerated form of gambling.” A SPAC is a company that raises money through an initial public offering (IPO) with no commercial operations to acquire another existing company. They grew in popularity in 2020 as both a speculative investment and a way for companies to raise capital.
To add to the sense of increased gambling in the markets, Buffett and Munger stated their opinions about online trading app Robinhood. They both said the app encourages gambling due to the easy access of speculative call and put options. Munger even called the app shameful. In the past, they criticized Robinhood’s selling of order flow data and commission free trades. An executive from Robinhood responded by saying “the people are tired of the Buffets and Mungers of the world acting like they are the only oracles of investing.” The most controversial statement of the weekend was when Munger took a strong jab at cryptocurrency. He went so far as to say Bitcoin’s success is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization. In the past he has called Bitcoin “worthless artificial gold.”
The meeting concluded and many people took an opportunity to analyze both Buffet and Munger’s statements. Both men have led Berkshire for decades with expectational investment returns and their statements may prove important for investors looking for guidance.