Decoding insights from Warren Buffett

Posted May 20, 2017

"But how many hedge fund managers in the last 40 years have said 'I only want to get paid if I do something for you? Problems don't go away".

Berkshire is Wells Fargo's biggest shareholder.

Buffett said flawed compensation is also a problem for hedge-fund managers, arguing that people would be better off sticking their money in a low-priced index fund.

Warren Buffett continues looking for major acquisitions for Berkshire Hathaway.

"It could be repurchases, it could be dividends", he said.

"The investing world is just a morass of wrong incentives, insane reporting and, I'd say, a fair amount of delusion", Munger said.

Buffett said at Saturday's annual meeting that it's crucial his successor have what he calls a "money mind".

Buffett, a supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton in last year's USA presidential election, said he believes Berkshire has made no political contributions at the parent company level in his 52 years at the helm, but some subsidiaries in heavily regulated industries "are probably going to have to make some" contributions. The 86-year-old told his investors that the company's plan to replace him hasn't changed.

On the methane emissions proposal from shareholder Marcia Sage, Berkshire said its gas pipeline and other units have already taken steps to reduce emissions, and that a separate report was unnecessary. "I can learn very easily how consumers react to different things there", he said, referring to Berkshire's ownership of Nebraska Furniture Mart.

"So it is a huge tax cut for guys like me", he said.

Now, ET Now has decoded insights from Warren Buffett's views.

But, he said, "if we felt that we had cash that was unlikely to be used in a reasonable period of time", the company would need to explore the options of how to return it. But, he added, "I think they may be a long way off". He also highlighted the leaders at the various insurance units.

Approximately 65 percent of the aggregate fair value of the company was concentrated in the equity securities of five companies: American Express, representing $12 billion, Apple representing $19.2 billion, Coca-Cola $17 billion, IBM $11.2 billion and Wells Fargo $27.8 billion.

"They totally underestimated the impact", Buffett said.

The scandal resulted in $185 million in fines and the resignation of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. Both are among the largest companies in the world today.

Buffett says Berkshire will occasionally have problems because it has 367,000 employees.

The meeting also included discussions about Berkshire's succession plans, its controversial partnership with Brazilian firm 3G Capital, and whether it will start paying dividends or make a monster acquisition.

Around 40,000 investors around the world over the weekend came to Omaha to attend Berkshire's annual meeting. That makes Buffett's strategy look more like Bogle's. Buffett's Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is 93.

Several questions homed in on politics, and Buffett, a Democrat with close ties to former President Barack Obama, offered measured criticism of President Donald Trump's policies. When Buffett toured the exhibit hall, he was surrounded by a pack of reporters, shareholders and security officers.

Over the course of 6 1/2 hours, Buffett, 86, and Munger, 93, touched upon a range of topics, as they sipped Coca-Cola and munched on See's sweets (from two of Berkshire's holdings).

During the meeting, he spoke on various issues, such as repealing of the Obamacare legislation and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology in America.

Dozens of companies Berkshire owns set up booths in an adjoining 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall to sell their products and take questions about their businesses.

"I think it's a neat way to keep the enthusiasm up in shareholders", said Jerry Meyer, who drove to Omaha with family from Coffeyville, Kansas.