В том числе Баффет знаменит своими ежегодными письмами акционерам. Там он ясно излагает политику компании, планы и performance за год. Письма по страниц 20 и помимо прочего известны своим стилем, так как в них есть расслабляющий юмор главы очень успешной компании. Я вот прочитал письмо за 2008 год и получил истинное удовольствие. Представляю вашему вниманию кусочки, которые меня веселили или просто понравились:
Кусочек из самого начала -
Over the last 44 years (that is, since present management took over)
book value has grown from $19 to $70,530, a rate of 20.3% compounded annually.
В конце письма, после описания многочисленных мероприятий, которые произойдут во время годового собрания акционеров, он пишет:
So join us at our Woodstock for Capitalists and let us know how you like the new format. Charlie and I look forward to seeing you.
February 27, 2009 Warren E. Buffett
Chairman of the Board
Woodstock of Capitalists! Вдвойне эпично. Вот она, эстетическая красота капитализма: ребята, мне 78 лет, я 44 года руковожу компанией и каждый год увеличиваю стоимость моей компании на 20%. И меня от этого прёт.
Теперь куски из самого текста:
As we view GEICO’s current opportunities, Tony and I feel like two hungry mosquitoes in a nudist camp. Juicy targets are everywhere.
Ajit came to Berkshire in 1986. Very quickly, I realized that we had acquired an extraordinary talent. So I did the logical thing: I wrote his parents in New Delhi and asked if they had another one like him at home. Of course, I knew the answer before writing. There isn’t anyone like Ajit.
Investors should be skeptical of history-based models. Constructed by a nerdy-sounding priesthood using esoteric terms such as beta, gamma, sigma and the like, these models tend to look impressive. Too often, though, investors forget to examine the assumptions behind the symbols. Our advice: Beware of geeks bearing formulas.
A final post-script on BHAC: Who, you may wonder, runs this operation? While I help set policy, all of the heavy lifting is done by Ajit and his crew. Sure, they were already generating $24 billion of float along with hundreds of millions of underwriting profit annually. But how busy can that keep a 31-person group? Charlie and I decided it was high time for them to start doing a full day’s work.
That’s the good news. But there’s another less pleasant reality: During 2008 I did some dumb things in investments. I made at least one major mistake of commission and several lesser ones that also hurt. I will tell you more about these later. Furthermore, I made some errors of omission, sucking my thumb when new facts came in that should have caused me to re-examine my thinking and promptly take action.
Similarly, when we purchased PacifiCorp in 2006, we moved aggressively to expand wind generation. Wind capacity was then 33 megawatts. It’s now 794, with more coming. (Arriving at PacifiCorp, we found “wind” of a different sort: The company had 98 committees that met frequently. Now there are 28. Meanwhile, we generate and deliver considerably more electricity, doing so with 2% fewer employees.)
The type of fallacy involved in projecting loss experience from a universe of non-insured bonds onto a deceptively-similar universe in which many bonds are insured pops up in other areas of finance. “Back-tested” models of many kinds are susceptible to this sort of error. Nevertheless, they are frequently touted in financial markets as guides to future action. (If merely looking up past financial data would tell you what the future holds,
the Forbes 400 would consist of librarians.)
Improved “transparency” – a favorite remedy of politicians, commentators and financial regulators for averting future train wrecks – won’t cure the problems that derivatives pose. I know of no reporting mechanism that would come close to describing and measuring the risks in a huge and complex portfolio of derivatives.
Auditors can’t audit these contracts, and regulators can’t regulate them. When I read the pages of “disclosure” in 10-Ks of companies that are entangled with these instruments, all I end up knowing is that I don’t know what is going on in their portfolios (and then I reach for some aspirin).
In last year’s letter, I told you I expected these contracts to show a profit at expiration. Now, with the recession deepening at a rapid rate, the possibility of an eventual loss has increased. Whatever the result, I will keep you posted.
Теперь это кусочки из последнй части письма, где описываются мероприятия запланированные на годового собрания акционеров:
On Saturday, at the Omaha airport, we will have the usual array of NetJets aircraft available for your inspection. Stop by the NetJets booth at the Qwest to learn about viewing these planes. Come to Omaha by bus; leave in your new plane. And take along – with no fear of a strip search – the Ginsu knives that you’ve purchased at the exhibit of our Quikut subsidiary.
Next, if you have any money left, visit the Bookworm, which will be selling about 30 books and DVDs. A shipping service will be available for those whose thirst for knowledge exceeds their carrying capacity.
At Nebraska Furniture Mart, located on a 77-acre site on 72nd Street between Dodge and Pacific, we will again be having “Berkshire Weekend” discount pricing. We initiated this special event at NFM twelve years ago, and sales during the “Weekend” grew from $5.3 million in 1997 to a record $33.3 million in 2008. On Saturday of that weekend, we also set a single day record of $7.2 million. Ask any retailer what he thinks of such volume.
On Sunday, in the mall outside of Borsheims, a blindfolded Patrick Wolff, twice U.S. chess champion, will take on all comers – who will have their eyes wide open – in groups of six. Nearby, Norman Beck, a remarkable magician from Dallas, will bewilder onlookers. Additionally, we will have Bob Hamman and Sharon Osberg, two of the world’s top bridge experts, available to play bridge with our shareholders on Sunday
Gorat’s will again be open exclusively for Berkshire shareholders on Sunday, May 3rd, and will be serving from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. Last year Gorat’s, which seats 240, served 975 dinners on Shareholder Sunday. The three-day total was 2,448 including 702 T-bone steaks, the entrée preferred by the cognoscenti. Please don’t embarrass me by ordering foie gras.
In a related problem, there has been a mad rush when the doors open at 7 a.m., led by people who wish to be first in line at the 12 microphones available for questioners. This is not desirable from a safety standpoint, nor do we believe that sprinting ability should be the determinant of who gets to pose questions. (At age 78, I’ve concluded that speed afoot is a ridiculously overrated talent.)