A Toronto, Canada, hedge fund firm Salida Capital Corp. won this year’s charity auction lunch with Warren Buffett. The company’s winning bid was $1,680,300 USD, which includes up to eight guests. The company stated that each partner will personally pay for their share, which is also tax deductible. Proceeds of the auction will go to the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco based charity.
The company’s CEO had these comments to say to the media:
“We think it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a wonderful way to gain experience from one of the world’s most successful investors”
“Value is in the eye of the beholder” (in regards to the price tag).
“Warren Buffett is the classic value investor. He invests in companies that he understands, that have excellent management, that he believes are undervalued to the market price. In that way, that’s exactly what we do.”
(No, that’s not exactly what they do. They are a hedge fund company that focuses on alternative investments, and specializes in short-selling, leveraged and short-term investment horizons, among other things. Buffett uses much more simpler methods and strategies, and takes a long term approach. But by using his name it will definitely help bring in new clients.)
The company said it will spend the next few months considering what questions they will be asking Buffett at the lunch, which will be sometime in the next 6-10 months.
I find it interesting that each year investment companies spend millions to ask Buffett questions, many of which are likely to be:
– his assessment of the economic situation
– his outlook on the economy and markets
– where he sees opportunities in the future
In short, they ask for his assessment and predictions. They are really asking him what investments should I buy/sell right now, and what investment should I buy/sell in the future.
Its no secret that companies and people all over the world value his financial & investment information over anyone else. They all state how much you can learn form his wisdom and experience. Yet, I also find it interesting that they are unlikely to ask how knows this information, or how they can come to also know such information themselves ( i.e. How they can learn).
Buffett never hides how he learns or accumulates such knowledge, or his investment strategies & principles. He continually and shares his “secrets” to successful investing, by recommending what fundamental knowledge he feels is important and also why. For example, he has recommended countless of times to read The Intelligent Investor and Securities Analysis, by his mentor Benjamin Graham. He feels that his teacher’s knowledge & principles, and information in those books are very important. Yet, there are millions of individual investors and probably institutional ones who haven’t read either of them, or who ignore the principles. He publishes much of his thoughts and gives starting points for people to gain more knowledge in his annual reports. His thoughts on economic, financial, investment information is circulated and published many times on countless internet sites, blogs, news articles, etc. For example, his views on diversification, is well known. He believes in concentrating on a few very good investments, rather than they myth of spreading capital to hold many investments in order to spread or reduce risk. Yet, people ignore them and do the opposite. Why? People don’t want to learn, they would rather get quick short-term answers/predictions on what to buy/sell.
My question to them is, how are you going to ask more questions, when he passes? His answer would likely be to learn for yourself, so you don’t have to ask.
So where should you start? For starters read his current and past annual reports from Berkshire Hathaway website. They have a huge amount of information. Next read books that he endorses and recommends. Some of them are:
The Intelligent Investor: A Book of Practical Counsel, by Benjamin Graham
Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett (Security Analysis Prior Editions),by Benjamin Graham
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder.
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Thanks & Happy Investing!
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