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Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's most loyal partner, friend and ally, dies at 99

2023-11-28T22:07:33.951Z

Highlights: Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's most loyal partner, friend and ally, dies at 99. Berkshire Hathaway's vice chairman had been working alongside the long-term investment guru for six decades. Munger appeared every year with Buffett at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaways in Omaha, Nebraska. Under his leadership, Berkshire made an average annual gain of 20.1% between 1965 and 2021, nearly double that of the S&P 500 index. He was a director of Berkshire, the company he helped transform over six decades into an empire worth hundreds of billions of dollars.


Berkshire Hathaway's vice chairman had been working alongside the long-term investment guru for six decades


Charles Munger, the most loyal partner, friend and ally of investment guru Warren Buffett, died Tuesday in a California hospital, Berkshire Hathaway said in a statement. Munger, who was 99, lived in Los Angeles and was a vice president of the company. "Berkshire Hathaway could not have achieved its current status without Charlie's inspiration, wisdom, and involvement," Buffett said in the statement.

Munger appeared every year with Buffett at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, in Omaha, a city of 475,000 inhabitants in the state of Nebraska, not far from the geographical center of the United States, in what became a spectacle in which they shared their philosophy of investment and life with a sense of humor and without mincing words.

The last meeting the two were together was last May. The pilgrims of capitalism came from all over the world to hear the lessons of the Oracle of Omaha, aware that there were not too many opportunities left for it. It remains to be seen whether Buffett will maintain those long question-and-answer sessions on a variety of topics, from which politics, or at least partisan politics, were excluded.

At that last meeting in May, Buffett elaborated on how to live according to the obituary you want to have or whether artificial intelligence will be the one that decides where to invest in the future and joked, as he always did, with his partner. "When I woke up this morning, I realized there was a broadcast of the competition somewhere in the U.K.," Buffett said, referring to Charles III's coronation, which was that same day. "They were celebrating a King Charles, and we have our own King Charles here today," Buffett said, pointing to his partner and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger.

They also played another joke — only suitable for financiers — about his age on account of the banking crisis. With some black humour, a kind of identification posters were put in front of them, where instead of the name it appeared in the case of Buffet "available for sale" and in that of Munger, "held until expiration". These are two key concepts in the recent banking crisis, and the word maturity also means maturity.

Munger remained a director of Berkshire Hathaway, the company he helped transform over six decades from a declining textile manufacturer to an empire worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

"It's great to have a partner say, 'You're not thinking clearly,'" Buffett said of Munger, sitting next to him at the 2002 Berkshire meeting. "It doesn't happen very often," Munger chimed in. Too many CEOs surround themselves with "a handful of sycophants" reluctant to question their conclusions and biases, Buffett added. For his part, Munger said Buffett benefited from having "an interlocutor who knew something." "And I think I've been very helpful in that regard," he added.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett (left) and his vice chairman Charlie Munger at the company's 2019 shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.Scott Morgan (Reuters)

In those meetings they sometimes looked like kids joking, sometimes cantankerous, always complicit and with their own criteria. They denigrated crypto at the 2022 meeting, before their bubble burst. They did not recommend concrete actions, but they did give ideas and share their wisdom. They used to show up with a Coke each, free publicity for the company of which Berkshire Hathaway is a major shareholder.

A lawyer by training, Munger also collaborated with Buffett, seven years his junior, to develop a philosophy of long-term investment in companies. Under his leadership, Berkshire made an average annual gain of 20.1% between 1965 and 2021, nearly double that of the S&P 500 index. Decades of compound profitability made the company one of the most profitable in the world and made the couple billionaires and folk heroes to the investors who adored them.

Munger was a vice chairman at Berkshire and one of its largest shareholders, with shares valued at about $2.100 billion as of March 2, 2022. His total net worth was about $2.500 billion at the start of 2023, according to Bloomberg.

[Breaking news. Enlargement to come.]

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Source: elparis

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