Shareholders' meeting of Buffett in 2019
Warren Buffett (left)    Munger (right)

On the evening of May 4, Beijing Time, the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting was held in Omaha, a small town in the central United States. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world came to Omaha to participate in the event. Warren Buffett, the 88-year-old CEO, and Charlie Munger, the 95-year-old vice-chairman, appeared at the shareholders'meeting to share their views on the market, the company and the current economic situation, and to answer questions from analysts, investors and the media. Some people worry that 2019 may be the last time that two elderly people collectively personally chair the shareholders'meeting. Buffett's shareholders'meeting, Berkshire Hathaway's shareholders' meeting, is held every year on the first Saturday of May.

Liu Chengwei, chairman of Skyria Group, went to Omaha, Central America to attend the Buffett Shareholders'Meeting in 2019.

Liu Chengwei, chairman of Skyria Group Inc(right)
At the conference, the world's top investment institutions, the world's Top Hedge funds, bankers, venture capital (VC), PE institutions and high net worth elites, well-known entrepreneurs met Buffett and Bill Gates in Omaha.
Microsoft Bill Gates, Apple CEO Cook and the Morgan family
Bill Gates
Bob Hamman, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates (from left to right)

7. Berkshire will not be leveraged.

Buffett said that I think you will find a way to invest in this common stock. First of all, I kept saying in my investment experience that index funds will certainly do well, if you can leverage in that area, how high is your return? Compared with non-leveraged investment, leveraged investment is sometimes better and sometimes worse. As you mentioned, we want to protect those borrowers, but it is not necessarily good for our business, and for some time we will encounter low interest rates. Low interest rates are good for us.

Buffett said I personally don't think that if you compare these non-leveraged investments with leveraged common stocks, I would think it would work in today's market environment. If you go into debt, 7% to 8% of the market goes into debt, you may have some bankruptcies, and in many cases you will get better returns. We're not going to leverage Berkshire Hathaway. If we leverage, of course, we'll make more money before. But Charlie and I, we've all witnessed people with higher IQs who are doing business badly because of leveraging. Some people may have high IQ and can do better things when they sleep. We can't do that. These very smart people spend their money, have many years of experience, and end up failing.

After the meeting, Buffett and Bill Gates benefit brain link, Luo Yan, president of Skyria Group Inc personally attended the scene to watch the game.

Liu Chengwei, Chairman and Luo Yan, president of Skyria Group Inc

On the evening of May 4, Beijing Time, global investors held their breath and focused on the small town of Omaha in the central United States.

For investors, there are only two opportunities to see or hear Buffett's views on the next wave of investment opportunities and stock market quotations every year: one in his "letter to shareholders" for Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, and another in his speech at the company's shareholders' meeting.

Buffett and Munger, aged 89 and 95. It took more than six hours to answer more than 50 questions from investors.

1. Introductory remarks: Look at the company's operating profits rather than short-term capital gains and losses.

Before formally starting to answer shareholders'questions, Warren Buffett introduced the guests present and the company's just released quarterly report. Buffett said that the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2018 are somewhat similar. I hope you should pay attention to the earnings of Berkshire Hathaway's operations, forget the gains or losses of capital, there will be a lot of capital gains and unrealized capital gains.

Berkshire's total profit in the first quarter was $216.6 billion, much higher than its net loss of $1.14 billion in the same period in 2018, as stock investment returns were significantly better than expected. Class A shares achieved earnings of $13,209 per share, compared with a loss of $692 per share in the same period of 2018; Class B shares achieved earnings of $8.81 per share and a net loss of $0.46 in the same period of 2018. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Berkshire posted a net loss of $25.39 billion.

Berkshire's earnings performance in previous quarters was poor because U.S. accounting rules required Berkshire to record unrealized gains and losses on equity investments. In his annual letters to shareholders in recent years, Buffett has stressed that the company's total profits will face "wild and volatile fluctuations" and deemed these fluctuations meaningless. In the first quarter of 2019, Berkshire earned $15.5 billion in equity investments and $608 million in financial derivatives investments.

Buffett specifically mentioned Kraft Heinz. Although Berkshire is Kraft Heinz's largest single shareholder, Berkshire's quarterly performance report does not include the impact of Kraft Heinz. Because Kraft has not yet provided Berkshire with its first quarter of 2019 earnings, Berkshire's shareholder dividend in the first quarter does not take into account Kraft's operations.

Buffett said the bottom line data would be completely volatile, and he was concerned that not everyone had studied accounting in school. Buffett said bottom-line numbers could be harmful to shareholders, encouraging listeners to focus on operating profits. Over time, he said, capital gains were "very important," but not quarterly or annual.

2. Talking about Repurchase: How much cash is not important depends on whether it is undervalued or not.

The first question raised on the spot is: Why does Berkshire want to buy so many shares of the company. In response, Buffett said that when they decided to buy back, they held about $80 billion to $90 billion in cash. "We have $120 billion (US dollars), not much different from $150 billion (US dollars), and the way we buy back has not changed."

Buffett said they would buy back when they thought the company was doing well, and that the stock price was worth buying back."If you have three partners, one million for each, and one person says I want to sell my stock, then if he wants to sell 1.1 million, we don't want to buy it, but he says either 900,000 or not, and then we buy it. In that case, our stock is 2 million, and the price of each share will rise." Buffett used this example to illustrate why Berkshire was willing to spend so much money to buy back its shares.

Buffett said that when Berkshire bought the stock, it believed that the price of the stock was below the company's intrinsic value, which was not necessarily a specific price point, but probably a ratio of about 10%. "In the first quarter of this year, they found that we bought $1 billion in stocks, which is not a very big move for me," Buffett said. These stocks repurchased in the first quarter can make shareholders better and benefit the remaining shareholders, but the difference is not very big. "In any quarter, we don't plan to do much of this. Same job, unless it's the best one."

3. Satisfied that Apple is Berkshire's No. 1 position.

Buffett said he was satisfied that Apple was Berkshire's biggest technology holder, but the bad thing was that Apple's share price was too expensive and he hoped to buy more at a cheaper price. Buffett also supports Apple's stock repurchase plan, which can increase Berkshire's share price, and Apple itself is a good business.

Munger added that his family liked Apple devices best, and the last thing they gave up was Apple. This shows that Apple is a popular consumer brand, and Berkshire believes it is worth investing in.

4. The 11-year-old Chinese boy asked Buffett how "getting older" can help you make better investments.

An 11-year-old Chinese boy asked Buffett on the spot: "You said that the older you get, the more you know about human nature. Can you tell me what you have learned? How can a different understanding of human nature help you make better investments?

Buffett said that as you get older, your health will surely slowly deteriorate. If I go to the SAT now, I may not be able to get my score when I was 20 years old. It would be a very embarrassing thing for me. But Buffett also believes that the older a person is, the richer his experience will be. He can slowly read something about human nature, and he must learn more than he did when he was young. But on the road of growth, in learning and life, have learned a lot of lessons, which can not be learned by reading.

"What do we really learn through? Sometimes we have to learn this through more experience and accumulation. Apart from all my shortcomings, I may not be as agile as I used to be. But I do have more keen observations of human behavior than I did 25 or 30 years ago." Buffett said.

Munger referred to a remark made by Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew: "See what works, and then act."

According to Munger, this is a very simple purpose. If you practice this, you will find that this sentence is really very effective, that is, to really find effective ways, but also to see how other people do things, which can help you.

5. What are interesting personal investments? Buying Duck Stocks and Finding Oil.

A girl and her father asked Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger what their most interesting personal investments were.To this question, Buffett answered without hesitation: "When you make a lot of money from them, they are always more interesting." 

Then he told a story about his purchase of a company called Atled. The company has 98 shares and Buffett bought one. Atled is a duck club in Louisiana. The company bought some land and then could hunt ducks. Buffett said, but after some people fired several shots on the ground, oil came out. As a result, the company's stock rose from $100 to $292,000 a share. If the company's shares had not been sold up to now, they would have been worth millions of dollars.

Charlie Munger answered, "I have two investments. When I was very small and poor, I once spent $1,000. I only made one such investment. Later, the stock I bought quickly rose 30 times, but I sold it when it rose 5 times, which was the most foolish decision of my life. So you should feel that if you are better than me, you should be really proud."

6. You're not happy to give you $100 million and you're still not happy.

A 13-year-old told the shareholders'meeting that Buffett and Munger's success depended on "delayed gratification." He asked the children how they could develop this skill. 'I'm an expert on this,'Mr. Munger said. It will be many years before I appreciate what I have learned. I'm giving my children a small share now, and they're too late to be satisfied. Maybe they'll be satisfied soon when they buy jewelry.

Buffett said that if you buy a 30-year bond with a personal 3% tax and the Federal Reserve says a 2% inflation rate, it's harder to meet the delay on government bonds. What does it mean to go to Disneyland with a low interest rate and a fixed amount of investment? It means you really can't get instant profits and enjoyment. Saving does not seem to be the most important thing for all families and environments. You can tell your child that it's a way to have fun in time anyway. You can't earn much by saving money to buy 30-year Treasury bonds. It's not undesirable if you can make your family happy now instead of keeping it in your wallet.

Delayed gratification does not mean not advocate doing it. I've always believed that savings still have a lot of power. But I don't think many rich people are happy because they have a lot of money. Happiness is not directly proportional to wealth. If you don't feel happy with $500,000 or $1 million, you won't be happy with $5,000 or $100,000.

8. China is a big market. We like big markets.

Some people asked Buffett what he thought about the opening up of China's financial industry and whether he would invest in new business in China in the future.

Buffett said that China is a big market and we like big markets. Without China's new policy of expanding its opening up, we are already in contact with China. Berkshire has done a lot in China, but it hasn't done enough. Maybe it will make some big deployments in the next 15 years.

Munger said that overall the situation is improving. It is important for China and the United States to get along well. It would be foolish not to get along well.

9. Disclosure of successor signals.

Some investors asked, could you tell us something about your successor plan? Would you consider inviting two young vice chairmen and two investment managers of Berkshire to chair the shareholders' meeting?

Buffett said that's a good idea, and we can discuss that this form has not been fully determined, because I'm afraid Charlie and I are too shabby in front of them. They are really good-looking. Because it is impossible for Buffett and Munger to maintain the form of hosting. But Ajit Jain and Greg Abel, the two vice-chairmen just promoted last year, are fit to take part in the shareholders'meeting. Four people answer questions on stage, but the two investment managers can't answer questions about investment because Berkshire should not give investment advice. Investment is self-employed.

Munger said that sometimes we face such a tough problem because we are very careful in some parts of Berkshire, we have very few bureaucratic procedures to make decisions, we are very efficient at headquarters, we do not have all these complex committees, and sometimes we make bad decisions because of the bureaucratic process. Well, we won't do that. But sometimes it's embarrassing to be different. I just think it works for us. So you need to put up with our approach, which may not be the same as yours.

10. Investing in Amazon does not represent a change in Berkshire's investment logic in the future.

Some people have asked whether Berkshire's investment in Amazon is surprising. Does it mean that Berkshire's investment philosophy will shift from value investment to value investment in the next 20 years? Because investing in Amazon is not like "I fear when others are greedy". 

Buffett said that one of Berkshire's two investment managers bought Amazon last quarter, but still adhered to the concept of value investment. "Value" in value investment is not an absolute low P/E ratio, but a comprehensive consideration of the various indicators of buying stocks, such as whether the business is understood by investors, future development potential, existing revenue/market share/tangible assets/cash holdings/market competition, etc. He believes that the two investment managers will do more right than wrong in the future.

Munger adds that neither he nor Buffett are the most flexible people, and some regret not catching the extreme Internet trend. So he doesn't mind investing in Amazon. It's a pity that he and Buffett didn't identify and invest in Google better before.

11. Buffett answers how to replicate his success: stay away from areas he does not understand.

Some people asked how to replicate their success and build their core competitiveness. Questioners said that the current investment environment is much more competitive than when Buffett first started his company. In the future, he will build a broader or narrower framework, and will he pay more attention to a certain place or a certain country. Where else can they continue to be interested in investing now?

Buffett responded that the investment environment is indeed more competitive and competitive. Now, I think I will do a very extensive reading to try to understand which businesses, which businesses I have more expertise and understanding ability. It's easy for me to understand the insurance business. I can do well, but I can't understand retail too much. So I put more energy into insurance, and you should do the same. And now you are facing more intense competition, to find their core competitiveness. Although there is no way to do it right away, be patient and wait for a good time to take action. Now the competition is fierce, but the game is more interesting.

'I think the best way to do that now is to be professional. You don't want to go to a dentist to see an orthopaedic disease,'Mr. Munger said. So the most conventional way is to narrow down the scope of specialty and achieve fine specialization.

Buffett adds that we were able to find treasures everywhere, but it's certainly not that easy now. Knowing one thing is very profound and very much will give you some advantages. Sometimes you will find that these things will become your competitiveness. Like I knew at that time what my weaknesses were, what I didn't quite understand, and I was also far away from these areas. We are involved in different fields, and now it is not as simple as before.

12. What is the most important thing in life? Buffett: Munger and I want to live a few more years.

One young man asked what Buffett and Munger currently think is the most important thing in life.

Buffett jokes that, first of all, he wants Munger and himself to live longer, but time and love can not be bought with money, and most importantly. He was lucky enough to control his time in life and have enough money to do what he wanted to do. He and Munger were lucky to be able to do jobs that were not limited by physical aging.

Munger also believes that the most important thing is to do what you want to do. At the same time, Buffett once again emphasized that he was lucky to be born in the United States, in line with his consistent evaluation of his investment career.

13. Shanghai shareholders ask: What core competitiveness do you have in investing in the 5G era?

"Hello, Buffett, you are my idol. I come from Shanghai. I want to seize the best investment opportunities in the next era. You know 5G is coming. People say that all kinds of industries will be challenged in 5G era. How should we master professional skills to capture 5G? The best opportunity of the times?" A Chinese investor asked Buffett such a question on the spot that day.

To address this problem, Buffett said that no particular industry will be studied. Berkshire does not have the so-called core competence. Its subsidiaries will be involved in 5G or any other technology development industry in the world, including public utilities, liquefied natural gas and railways. Some staff members, on the other hand, have a good understanding of the industry, and have a unique professional philosophy. Berkshire relies heavily on the company's managers, who Buffett believes are more professional and will tell themselves what's going on in the industry, but the head office won't interfere too much with subsidiary businesses.

Buffett then asked Munger to add. However, Munger said that although he was not very clear about 5G, he knew a lot about China. Berkshire has also bought some Chinese goods and believes the company will buy more.

14. Why do you call on others to invest in index funds and not buy them yourself?

The question is, Buffett has been advocating investment index funds, before finding the next appropriate investment target, why not put these funds into index funds? In this regard, Buffett said that if all the funds are invested in index funds, companies will be more vulnerable to the impact of the stock market, become inflexible.

"In the future, if the conditions also meet the conditions we use, index funds are a very good choice, so we think there will be such opportunities, others are not willing to allocate such funds, but we are willing to." Buffett said. Why insist on holding cash and government debt? Buffett, known for advising investors to invest in index funds, said it was "a very appropriate question, and I will not oppose these figures." Speaking of the S&P 500's 335% return since the bottom of the market in 2009, Buffett said: "Looking back at the bull market in the past 10 years, you're bound to be surprised."

Buffett said his successor might choose index funds over Treasuries. But he believes that such a strategy could limit Berkshire's opportunities, such as those that emerged during and after the financial crisis. In September 2008, Berkshire invested $10 billion in Goldman's preferred stock with a dividend of up to 10%.

Munger went on to say, "I'm a little more conservative in using cash than anyone else, but I don't care. We can put more money on securities than the S& P index. For a time, we had a lot of cash, a lot of opportunities in front of us, we have such a large company, so much cash is normal. We've also seen how Harvard does it. They'll have tuition fees paid in advance. They also suffered a lot of losses because they made promises they shouldn't have made in advance.

Buffett said that he would not do this, which is promisable, "but not always have such a good opportunity to spend money, in the next two or three years there will be such an opportunity, but we do not know when such an opportunity will occur." In addition, Buffett also stressed that for Berkshire, the way to do business is in line with the interests of shareholders, regardless of the circumstances, we must adhere to the purpose, "We should respect the people who trust us, if we can abide by the standard investment concept, we will hope to make money for everyone under this principle."

15. How to find a good deal?

About how to find a good deal. Some analysts asked whether Berkshire should be more aggressive in looking for deals rather than waiting for calls.

Buffett said Ted and Todd, two fund managers, were looking for the right deal. Berkshire will only buy companies that want to be held by Berkshire. Normally, Berkshire will not offer the highest price, but will promise the company that its management will remain the same and will not sell it. These are not guaranteed by other buyers. Munger said that more efforts to find deals would not help Berkshire, because there was no lack of trading opportunities, but a lack of deals that Berkshire wanted to pay for. Buffett says it's no problem that we can spend $100 billion next year, but the question is how to spend it wisely.

16. How to view the impact of automation on full-time human resources work?

A young mother attended Buffett's shareholders'meeting with her 11-week-old baby. She wanted to know how Buffett viewed automation and temporary outsourcing increases as having a good impact on wages and benefits for full-time work.

Both Buffett and Munger said they were not worried about the erosion of automation on human work. Buffett said that if someone 200 years ago said that 90% of agricultural jobs would be eliminated, they would feel terrible. But times will change, and companies will do everything they can to improve efficiency, possibly replacing manual labor with automation, but the American economic system will always find opportunities to employ more people. Buffett believes that the system worked well in the past and will continue in the future.

17. Stick to or expand your ability circle?

One investor from China asked whether the world is changing faster and progressing. Should we continue to expand our capability circle or keep it unchanged, but face the risk of asset shrinkage?

Buffett said that if you can continue to expand the capability circle, of course, I've probably expanded a little over the years, but you can't force the progress of expansion.

18. Why can't Berkshire's two investment managers win the S&P market?

Todd and Ted, Berkshire's investment managers, were asked why their performance was not as good as the S&P 500.

Buffett refused to give the microphones to the two investment managers to answer. As of March 31, he said, one of the two investment managers had slightly outperformed S&P 500 and the other was behind S&P 500. Each of them is responsible for $13 billion in asset management, and they do better than themselves. Buffett also praised the two investment managers for doing other projects for the company. For example, Todd is responsible for Berkshire's projects with JPMorgan Chase and Amazon to reduce health care costs. Ted is responsible for Berkshire's investment in Home Capital Group.

19. How Buffett and Munger Deal with Conflict.

Investors ask, I think your investment strategy is very amazing, if there is a conflict between you two how to resolve the conflict?

Buffett: Personal conflict? If we know whether it's Berkshire or the conflict between us. Mr. Munger and I, you may not believe, have never had a dispute between us for more than sixty years. Of course, we have different opinions on some issues, but we will never argue. What is the definition of the dispute, maybe emotionally or angrily, etc? This will not happen between us. Because Charlie is smarter than I am, he feels that it's not worth the time to be angry about something that causes emotional swings and so on.

20. Berkshire will spend a lot of cash on charity in the future.

Some investors asked: Now you have so much cash on hand. What do you think of the comparison between stock repurchase and dividend dividend? What do you think of Berkshire's shift from a acquisition platform to a shareholder-driven platform?

Buffett: That's a possibility. But we have to see what happens in the next few years with big acquisitions. Sometimes it can't be judged in a year or even three years. We need long-term observation. Another thing is that we need to diversify constantly, and of course we want to do the same. I hope they can spend most of Berkshire's money on charity. I'm sure I have a large portion of my personal assets to donate. I write a will every few years, and the content is almost the same.

21. Uncertainty about whether to win the S&P 500 Index in the future.

'We don't know if the company can surpass the S&P 500,'Mr. Buffett said. We only know that we will treat shareholders'money as our own, bind our personal wealth to Berkshire's business, and be highly vigilant about anything that could significantly damage value. If Berkshire were a separate stock, it would not perform as well as the S& P 500, because the tax situation they face is totally different.