Warren Buffett’s 2015 Letter to Shareholders Highlights

Warren Buffett recently released his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders this past Saturday. It was written with showmanship, commonsense advice and plenty of business facts. This is the 50th year that Buffett has headed Berkshire Hathaway. The highlights include the following.

About Buffett’s potential successor:

“Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO – a successor ready to assume the job the day after I die or step down. In certain important respects, this person will do a better job than I am doing.”

In regards to investing:

“Periodically, financial markets will become divorced from reality – you can count on that. … ever forget that 2+2 will always equal 4. And when someone tells you how old-fashioned that math is — zip up your wallet, take a vacation and come back in a few years to buy stocks at cheap prices.”

In regards to oversight:

“We do, of course, have an active audit function; no sense being a dammed fool.”

In regards to lodging for the annual meeting on May 2 in Omaha:

“Airbnb is making a special effort to obtain listings for the period around meeting time and is likely to have a wide array of accommodations to offer. Airbnb’s services may be especially helpful to shareholders who expect to spend only a single night in Omaha and are aware that last year a few hotels required guests to pay for a minimum of three nights. That gets expensive. Those people on a tight budget should check the Airbnb website.”

In regards to the meeting as a spectacle:

“Get up early on Saturday morning. At 6:20 a.m., Norman and Jake, two Texas longhorns each weighing about a ton, will proceed down 10th Street to the CenturyLink. Aboard them will be a couple of our Justin Boot executives, who do double duty as cowboys. Following the steers will be four horses pulling a Wells Fargo stagecoach. Berkshire already markets planes, trains and automobiles. Adding steers and stagecoaches to our portfolio should seal our reputation as America’s all-purpose transportation company.”

In regards to the gecko at Geico:

“The gecko, I should add, has one particularly endearing quality – he works without pay. Unlike a human spokesperson, he never gets a swelled head from his fame nor does he have an agent to constantly remind us how valuable he is. I love the little guy.”

In regards to improving Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad service:

“Though weather, which was particularly severe last year, will always cause railroads a variety of operating problems, our responsibility is to do whatever it takes to restore our service to industry-leading levels. That can’t be done overnight: The extensive work required to increase system capacity sometimes disrupts operations while it is underway. Recently, however, our outsized expenditures are beginning to show results. During the last three months, BNSF’s performance metrics have materially improved from last year’s figures.”

In regards to the future of Berkshire Hathaway:

“All told, Berkshire is ideally positioned for life after Charlie (Munger) and I leave the scene. We have the right people in place – the right directors, managers and prospective successors to those managers. Our culture, furthermore, is embedded throughout their ranks. Our system is also regenerative. To a large degree, both good and bad cultures self-select to perpetuate themselves. For very good reasons, business owners and operating managers with values similar to ours will continue to be attracted to Berkshire as a one-of-a-kind and permanent home.”

2 Comments

  1. Signature words from only other in business person I would trust with my last dollar, or even my life: Warren Buffet. And I have yet to meet him in person. Can't wait for this year's "Woodstock for Capitalists". #sweet #molasses #WarrenBuffett #YOWZABaby

  2. Good comment Mr. Jones, and yes you are 110% correct that Buffett is The Man to trust with your money! But as your Life, there is 1 Holy Spirit that watches us, hears us, and punishes us for our doings in this world!

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