Anche quest’anno si è svolto il tanto atteso meeting tra gli azionisti Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett e Charlie Munger (oltre 180 anni in due, mamma mia!) hanno ospitato al palazzetto di Omaha le oltre 40.000 persone, tante delle quali in fila dalla notte per entrare prima.
Pensare che nei primi incontri annuali si trovavano in una trentina di persone in una caffetteria, come diceva Charlie Munger nel documentario su Warren Buffett dell’HBO.
Adesso è diventato un grande spettacolo, una sorta di martedì grasso di Omaha, dove si possono porre tante domande ai due famosi investitori che, ovviamente, sopra il tavolo avevano in bella mostra le immancabili lattine della coca cola.
Per non parlare degli altri grandi investitori presenti per l’occasione. Nella foto seguente puoi vedere Monish Pabrai fotografato con Charlie Munger e la figlia Monsoon.
Ma arriviamo a quelle citazioni che ritengo più rilevanti del meeting Berkshire Hathaway, cioè le risposte migliori che Buffett e Munger hanno dato rispondendo alle numerose domande. Le ho suddivise per argomento visto che le domande riguardano un ampio spettro di temi che spaziano dall’attualità, alle classiche azioni, alla politica, al business, alla vita personale e alla finanza comportamentale.
A volte ho inserito anche delle mie note scrivendo NdD (Nota di Davide).
SU BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY
Buffett: “I encourage you now and I encourage all the press that’s here, focus on what we call our operating earnings, which were up a bit, and forget about the capital gains or losses in any given period. Now they’re enormously important over time. We’ve had substantial capital gains in the future, we have substantial unrealized cap gains at the present time, we expect to have more capital gains in the future. They are an important part of Berkshire, but they have absolutely no analytical or predictive value in the quarterly basis or an annual basis and I just hope that nobody gets misled in some quarter when stocks are down and people said Berkshire loses money. It’s really a shame that the rules got changed in that way”.
NdD: nelle relazioni annuali meglio guardare solo l’utile operativo, no perdite e guadagni in conto capitale che possono variare molto di anno in anno. Buffett contrariato anche da questo cambio di regole.
Buffett: “The only time you should buy back stock is when the remaining shareholders’ shares are worth more the moment after you purchase it than before. We will buy stock when it is trading below a conservative estimate of its intrinsic value.”
Buffett: “We will buy stock when we think it is selling below a conservative estimate of its intrinsic value. Now the intrinsic value is not a specific point. It’s probably a range in my mind that might have a band maybe of 10%. Charlie would have a band in his mind, and it would probably be 10%. And ours would not be identical but it would be very close.”
Buffett: “In the first quarter of the year, they’ll find we bought something over a billion dollars worth of stock. That’s nothing like my ambitions. But what that means is that we feel that we’re okay buying it, but we don’t salivate over buying it.”
Munger: “I predict that we’ll get a little more liberal in repurchasing shares”.
NdD: intorno ai 200 $ l’azione ha un valore giusto.
Buffett: “The nature of markets is that things get overpriced and things get underpriced. And when things get underpriced, we’ll take advantage of it.”
Buffett: “Both Charlie and I have seen high IQ people, really extraordinarily high IQ people, destroyed by leverage … I would not get excited about (highly leveraged) alternative investments.”
Munger: “Our competitors are buying with other people’s money, where they take part of the upside and none of the downside.”
NdD: a Buffett e Munger sembra non piacere troppo il settore private equity, poca “skin in the game” (come direbbe Taleb) e tanto uso del debito. Fino a quando potrà andare avanti?
Buffett: “I will just say I’m a card-carrying capitalist, and I believe we wouldn’t be sitting here except for the market system and the rule of law”.
Buffett: “I also think that capitalism does involve regulation and it involves taking care of people who are left behind, particularly when a country gets enormously prosperous.”
SUCCESSIONE IN BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY
Buffett: “I can assure you both managers (Ted Weschler and Todd Combs) are value investors… They are absolutely following value principles and they’re very smart and totally committed to Berkshire.”
SUGLI INVESTIMENTI IN GENERALE
Buffett: “You can turn any investment into a bad deal by paying too much. What you can’t do is turn any investment into a good deal by paying little. Which is sort of how I started out in this world. But the idea of buying the cigar butts that are declining or poor businesses for a bargain price is not something that we try to do anymore. We try to buy good businesses at a decent price”.
NdD: il prezzo di acquisto conta. Tanto.
Buffett: “The idea that value is somehow connected to book value or low price-earnings ratios or anything – as Charlie has said, all investing is value investing. You’re putting out some money now to get more later on. And you’re making a calculation as to the probabilities of getting that money and when you’ll get it and what interest rates will be and all the same calculation goes into whether you’re buying some bank at 70% of book value or you’re buying Amazon at some very high multiple of reported earnings”.
Munger: “I don’t mind not having caught Amazon early – the guy is kind of a miracle worker, it’s very peculiar, I give myself a pass on that. But I feel like a horse’s ass for not identifying Google better. We screwed up”.
Buffett: “At See’s Candy we sell directly to the consumer but at Kraft-Heinz there are intermediaries. Those intermediaries are trying to make money, and we’re trying to make money. And the brand is our protection against the intermediaries making all the money. Costco tried to drop Coca-Cola back I think in 2008 and you can’t drop Coca-Cola without disappointing a lot of people”.
NdD: i marchi, anche quelli più conosciuti, sono sotto attacco da parte della grande distribuzione ma nonostante tutto sono ancora una protezione. Senza i grandi marchi molte persone sarebbero scontente.
Buffett: “It is much more competitive now than when I started. I would do a whole lot of reading about many businesses and figure out which ones I had some important knowledge and understanding that was different to most of my competitors. And I would try to figure out which companies I didn’t understand. It’s still an interesting game but it’s harder than it used to be.”
Buffett: “If you aren’t happy having $50,000 or $100,000, you’re not going to be happy if you have $50 million or $100 million”.
Buffett: “I don’t necessarily think that for all families in all circumstances that saving money is necessarily the best thing to do in life. If you really tell your kids that they never go to the movies or never go to Disney Land or something of the sort because if I save this money, 30 years from now we’ll be able to stay a week instead of two days, I think there’s a lot to be said for doing things that bring you and your family enjoyment rather than save every time.”
NdD: risparmiare sì ma trovando il giusto equilibrio tra gratificazione attuale e gratificazione differita.
Munger: “I’d like to have a little more of it”. NdD: riferendosi al tempo.
E anche per il meeting Berkshire Hathaway 2019 è tutto.
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