Monday, May 05, 2014
Warren Buffett's annual "Woodstock for Capitalists" is an example of smart investor relations. He puts on an exhibition of Berkshire Hathaway's companies for the shareholder meeting. He and his long-time partner, Charlie Munger, sit for hours answering questions and addressing criticism. Other corporations should be envious of the participation Buffett has achieved over the decades. Shareholders view the company as their own and not as a quick trade. There are dangers, of course, in catering to investors as he does. If the company should run into trouble, they will be disappointed and angry, but they will also be slow to sell off their holdings because they trust Buffett to pull a rabbit from the hat as he has done many times before. What will happen when Buffett and Munger are gone? That is an open issue, but the credibility of the two men will not easily transfer to a successor. That person, whoever he or she may be, will need to build credibility all over again.