Archive for May, 2010

Philippines on the Rebound

May 14, 2010

Following last week’s voter turnout, the Philippines may face a resurgence as a nation, with a promising newly elected president. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III, the son of former President Corazon Aquino, seems like an honorable fellow who won’t be swayed toward corruption. The only concern would be whether he would be strong enough to rise above all the political crap dished out by senators, representatives and rivals. Philippine politics can demonstrate failure in democracy as many voters tend to pick candidates based on popularity, looks and, of course, promises that aren’t delivered, rather than on capabilities and integrity.

Aquino can stand on his own, if he sticks with his principles and rebuffs comments from his opponents. Hopefully, he won’t be a lame duck president during the next six years he’s in power (or powerless).

In Line to Succeed?

May 6, 2010

At the annual Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stockholders’ meeting on May 1, my traveling companion came up with an interesting observation that should have really mattered the most (and she’s usually right about 90 percent of the time, I guess) — no successors in sight or mentioned to replace Warren Buffett or Charlie Munger. Sure, both men had relayed that an immediate succession plan would be in effect should either of them be out. But it would help to see these folks on stage as well.

Future stockholders’ meetings exclusively with the octogenarians Buffett and Munger will be limited, and it would be a relief to many shareholders to see the next generation of competent managers. Maybe next year, Buffett would be wise enough to expand the stage’s panel to include top managers so that a surprise successor won’t cause investor flight. Now would be the time to at least hear some new voices, to create a sense of relief that the behemoth of a ship known as Berkshire won’t sink and its passengers (read investors) won’t be scurrying overboard.

For a duo who seem to advocate integrity, allowing the next generation of Berkshire managers to speak would seem like a no-brainer. Unless, of course, the reason being that Buffett and Munger want to hog all of the available air time with investors to themselves. Munger quipped on almost everything from competent CEOs to the state of Greece’s affairs to monetary policy.

From Buffett, “We expect to do dumb things. It’s that we get mad when people do dumb things with our money.”

From Munger, “If you’re scared to do something, maybe you should get your feet wet with a little more failure.”

Buffet Serving

May 1, 2010

In attendance at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s annual shareholders’ meeting, and the Oracle of Omaha and his sidekick Charlie Munger are putting on a pretty good show, providing quips so far on their investments such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the U.S. economy and the state of Greece’s affairs. More later…