Pilgrims Seek Warren Buffett’s Wisdom

Luke Rathbone, a financial planner based out of Sydney, Australia, is soon heading to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting for the second time, presented by Warren Buffett, United States billionaire. This is the annual meeting for his holding and investing company Berkshire Hathaway.

Rathbone is bringing his friend Rob Millner along for the ride this time. He is the investment company chairman of Washington H Soul Pattinson and Brickworks, along with his fund manager son Tom, who is taking some clients and meeting up with another Australian friend in Houston that will fly in for the event.

The group is going to connect with other like-minded investors that they met in the previous year in Omaha.

Rathbone is part of a group of increasing numbers of Australians that attend the annual meeting of the most famous value investor in the world.

A combination of high net worth people and fund managers from Australia will make their way to Omaha for this amazing meeting, which takes place in a convention center that seats 40,000 people.

They intend to arrive at the CenturyLink Convention Center in Omaha just after 6 AM, where they will be seated and have the opportunity to listen to the 90 year old Charlie Munger based out of Pasadena, and the 84-year-old Warren Buffett who makes his residence in Omaha, Nebraska.

“Buffett has been on my radar since early in my career but I didn’t go to the annual meeting until last year,” Rathbone said. He runs Fortitude Private Wealth.

“The chance to hear from the world’s best investors (and philosophers too) in Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger for nearly 6 hours is quite simply a very special experience.

“I have made the commitment to go for an indefinite period of time.”

Many of the attendees will sit through the meeting taking notes and write about it throughout the day, and they will post this information on websites or send it all around the world via email once the meeting comes to an end.

“I don’t want to read someone else’s transcript of the event,” says Rathbone.

“I want to be there myself as a continual reinforcement (of Buffett’s views).”

While the Millner’s and Rathbone are relative newcomers to the annual meeting, chief investment officer and fund manager of Caledonia, Mark Nelson, has been taking this trip for so long that he has even developed ties with Charlie Munger, who is known for his dry wit and quick mind.

“The meeting is on Saturday, but I usually get there by Friday lunchtime, and catch up with a few of the regulars from all over the world who also make the pilgrimage,” said Nelson yesterday.

“Charlie Munger has a dinner on Friday night for friends and family, and he very kindly always invites me to that.

“Warren usually turns up to that as well at some stage, although these days he has quite a few commitments on that night.”

Founder of the Magellan fund management group and former UBS chief, Chris Mackay, is another staple at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting but cannot attend this year because of prior commitments.

Team Invest, a high net worth group of individual investors is going to take about a dozen people along for the trip, which completely reflects the growing number of Australians with self managed superannuation funds that intend to look at investments offshore.

Wayne Peters, a fund manager based out of Sydney, was in Mexico the previous night while on his way to the United States. He will be attending the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting for the seventeenth time. Peters is the manager of $200 million of Peters MacGregor pooled global investment fund, and he also manages money for high net worth individuals, and began following the tenets of Buffett over 20 years ago.

When Peters first attended the annual event, it only consisted of about 1400 people visiting the capital in Nebraska. Individual investors had much more of an opportunity to chat with the billionaire investor during this time.

Peters also pointed out that the annual meeting at Berkshire Hathaway is a gathering point for powerful investors from all over the world. They even arrive early to attend other functions.

Despite attending these meetings for such a long time, Peters mentions that there are always new insights to gain when listening to Munger and Buffett.

It’s also quite attractive to have the opportunity to meet other investors that share a similar view.

Peters even mentions that the US Federal Reserve Board’s tapering of quantitative easing policies to be one of the major subjects at the event. Other people are going to be concerned about Europe’s economic outlook and the current state of the Chinese economy.

And lastly, everyone is always concerned with how much longer Munger and Buffett will be around to attend the annual meeting.

For higher net worth individuals, offshore investing is currently on the radar. Warren Buffett’s meeting is proving to be a fun and exciting way to learn about this opportunity.

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