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Warren Buffett & Bill Gates on Measuring Performance, Wealth, Billionaires, Financial Crisis
Performance measurement is the process of collecting, analyzing and/or reporting information regarding the performance of an individual, group, organization, system or component. It can involve studying processes/strategies within organizations, or studying engineering processes/parameters/phenomena, to see whether output are in line with what was intended or should have been achieved.
Performance measurement has been defined by Neely as “the process of quantifying the efficiency and effectiveness of past actions”, while Moullin defines it as “the process of evaluating how well organisations are managed and the value they deliver for customers and other stakeholders”. Discussion on the relative merits of these definitions appeared in several articles in the newsletter of the Performance Management Association.
Wikipedia – Performance Measurement
The wealth effect is an economic term, referring to an increase (decrease) in spending that accompanies an increase (decrease) in perceived wealth.
The effect would cause changes in the amounts and distribution of consumer consumption caused by changes in consumer wealth. People should spend more when one of two things is true: when people actually are richer, objectively, or when people perceive themselves to be richer—for example, the assessed value of their home increases, or a stock they own goes up in price.
Demand for some goods (especially Inferior goods) typically decreases with increasing wealth. For example, consider consumption of cheap fast food versus steak. As someone becomes wealthier, their demand for cheap fast food is likely to decrease, and their demand for more expensive steak may increase.
Consumption may be tied to relative wealth. Particularly when supply is highly inelastic – or in the case of monopoly – one’s ability to purchase a good may be highly related to one’s relative wealth in the economy. Consider for example the cost of real estate in a city with high average wealth (for example New York or London), in comparison to a city with a low average wealth. Supply is fairly inelastic, so if a helicopter drop (or gold rush) were to suddenly create large amounts of wealth in the low wealth city, those who did not receive this new wealth would rapidly find themselves crowded out of such markets, and materially worse off in terms of their ability to consume/purchase real estate (despite having participated in a weak Pareto improvement). In such situations, one cannot dismiss the relative effect of wealth on demand and supply, and cannot assume that these are static. (see also General equilibrium).
However, according to David Backus, an NYU economist, the wealth effect is not observable in economic data, at least in regards to increases or decreases in home or stock equity. For example, while the stock market boom in the late 1990s (q.v. dot-com bubble) increased the wealth of Americans, it did not produce a significant change in consumption, and after the crash, consumption did not decrease.
Economist Dean Baker disagrees and says that “housing wealth effect” is well-known and is a standard part of economic theory and modeling, and that economists expect households to consume based on their wealth. He cites approvingly research done by Carroll and Zhou that estimates that households increase their annual consumption by 6 cents for every additional dollar of home equity.
The wealth effect and the Paradox of Thrift are contradictory. The paradox assumes, incorrectly, that people will spend when they feel wealthy, based on the wealth effect, but not when they are actually more wealthy.
Wikipedia – The Wealth Effect
Buffett Grandson: Our Plans to Change the World
Sept. 17, 2013 (Bloomberg) — Howard W. Buffett, executive director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, talks about his public management class at Columbia University and new book “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.” Buffett is the son of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Director Howard Buffett and grandson of Chairman Warren Buffett. He speaks with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Three Generations of Buffett: We’re the Lucky Ones
Oct. 23, 2013 (Bloomberg) — Together on set for a Bloomberg First, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett, his son Howard Buffett and grandson Howard W. Buffett join Bloomberg’s Betty Liu to discuss philanthropy, their plans for Berkshire Hathaway, and their new book “40 Chances.” They speak on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.”
How to Stay Out of Debt: Warren Buffett – Financial Future of American Youth (1999)
Buffett became a billionaire on paper when Berkshire Hathaway began selling class A shares on May 29, 1990, when the market closed at $7,175 a share. In 1998, in an unusual move, he acquired General Re (Gen Re) for stock. In 2002, Buffett became involved with Maurice R. Greenberg at AIG, with General Re providing reinsurance. On March 15, 2005, AIG’s board forced Greenberg to resign from his post as Chairman and CEO under the shadow of criticism from Eliot Spitzer, former attorney general of the state of New York. On February 9, 2006, AIG and the New York State Attorney General’s office agreed to a settlement in which AIG would pay a fine of $1.6 billion. In 2010, the federal government settled with Berkshire Hathaway for $92 million in return for the firm avoiding prosecution in an AIG fraud scheme, and undergoing ‘corporate governance concessions’.
In 2002, Buffett entered in $11 billion worth of forward contracts to deliver U.S. dollars against other currencies. By April 2006, his total gain on these contracts was over $2 billion. In 2006, Buffett announced in June that he gradually would give away 85% of his Berkshire holdings to five foundations in annual gifts of stock, starting in July 2006. The largest contribution would go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2007, in a letter to shareholders, Buffett announced that he was looking for a younger successor, or perhaps successors, to run his investment business. Buffett had previously selected Lou Simpson, who runs investments at Geico, to fill that role. However, Simpson is only six years younger than Buffett.
Buffett ran into criticism during the subprime crisis of 2007–2008, part of the late 2000s recession, that he had allocated capital too early resulting in suboptimal deals. “Buy American. I am.” he wrote for an opinion piece published in the New York Times in 2008. Buffett has called the 2007–present downturn in the financial sector “poetic justice”. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway suffered a 77% drop in earnings during Q3 2008 and several of his recent deals appear to be running into large mark-to-market losses.
Berkshire Hathaway acquired 10% perpetual preferred stock of Goldman Sachs. Some of Buffett’s Index put options (European exercise at expiry only) that he wrote (sold) are currently running around $6.73 billion mark-to-market losses. The scale of the potential loss prompted the SEC to demand that Berkshire produce, “a more robust disclosure” of factors used to value the contracts. Buffett also helped Dow Chemical pay for its $18.8 billion takeover of Rohm & Haas. He thus became the single largest shareholder in the enlarged group with his Berkshire Hathaway, which provided $3 billion, underlining his instrumental role during the current crisis in debt and equity markets.
In 2008, Buffett became the richest man in the world, with a total net worth estimated at $62 billion by Forbes and at $58 billion by Yahoo, dethroning Bill Gates, who had been number one on the Forbes list for 13 consecutive years. In 2009, Gates regained the position of number one on the Forbes list, with Buffett second. Their values have dropped to $40 billion and $37 billion, respectively, Buffett having lost $25 billion in 12 months during 2008/2009, according to Forbes.
In October 2008, the media reported that Warren Buffett had agreed to buy General Electric (GE) preferred stock. The operation included extra special incentives: he received an option to buy 3 billion GE at $22.25 in the next five years, and also received a 10% dividend (callable within three years). In February 2009, Buffett sold some of the Procter & Gamble Co, and Johnson & Johnson shares from his portfolio.
In addition to suggestions of mistiming, questions have been raised as to the wisdom in keeping some of Berkshire’s major holdings, including The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) which in 1998 peaked at $86. Buffett discussed the difficulties of knowing when to sell in the company’s 2004 annual report: That may seem easy to do when one looks through an always-clean, rear-view mirror. Unfortunately, however, it’s the windshield through which investors must peer, and that glass is invariably fogged.
You’d Love a Private Jet, But Should You Own One?
Thomas Flohr, chairman of Vistajet, discusses why renting a private jet is a better option than buying one.