Last year I took the mini-van provided by Berkshire to the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting. I was staying in the middle of Omaha, NE. I thought I was running late when I left the hotel but the vans did not arrive yet and there was a bunch of people waiting outside. I ended up getting to the Qwest Center like 10 minutes before the meeting started. All the seats were taken and I had to stand for the first hour.
This year I rented a car and the goal was to get to the Qwest Center by 7:00 AM. I ended up getting there around 7:30 AM but there were still plenty of seats. I’d say it was at 60-70% full. I snagged a seat in the back of the arena in the top section. I figured most of the people that entered the arena would take the seats at the beginning. Apparently those seats are reserved for managers.
The setup is the same like last year. There are two seats for Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. There are three big screens so we don’t have to squint our eyes on them the whole time. They talk from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM and then have a half-hour business meeting. They added 2 more screens and more overflow rooms to manage the increase in stockholders.
This year’s meeting seemed more like a good basic approach to investing, answering the questions on Goldman Sach’s, and value investing. The meeting seemed very targetted to the new stockholders of Berkshire and showing them their philosophy to buying and holding companies with good fundamentals.
To sum up a few of the main points:
– China and India will continue to prosper and work hard to have the ‘American’ culture prosperity
– Berkshire Hathaway will not grow as fast as it has in the past. Reason is they are so huge in market cap now. However, they assured us they will always bring good shareholder value even when they pass on the company to other managers.
– Goldman Sachs was only an underwriter to the actual fraud charges that happened. They took contracts from banks that would insure the mortgage securities and took investors’ bets to short these CDOs. Here’s a good interview that explains it.