Staley Cates, Will Thorndike, Robert Hagstrom, Jeff Gramm , Jeff Matthews, Sanjay Bakshi, Glen Arnold, Barbara Ann Bernard, Jon Clifton, François Rochon, Guy Spier, Chris Swasbrook, Dave Whorton
Keynote Speaker: Kunal Kapoor
Staley Cates is the President of Southeastern Asset Management, Inc., an independent global investment management firm. Southeastern manages over $19 billion as the investment advisor to the Longleaf Partners family of mutual and UCITS funds and to separately managed institutional accounts. Mr. Cates joined Southeastern in 1986. Morningstar named him and Co-Portfolio Manager, Mason Hawkins, Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year in 2006, for which they were also nominated in 2003 and 2009. In 1998 Money magazine called Longleaf "The Best Mutual Fund Family in America."
Cates attended the University of Texas and holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He is Co-Founder of New Hope Christian Academy and was a founding board member of Soulsville, Memphis Athletic Ministries, and the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation. He serves as Chairman of the Poplar Foundation, which supports various educational initiatives in Memphis. He was the Governor's appointee to the Transition Planning Commission in 2011-2012 for the consolidation of Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools.
Mr. Thorndike founded Housatonic Partners in Boston in 1994 and has been Managing Director since that time. Prior to that, Mr. Thorndike worked with T. Rowe Price Associates and Walker & Company where he was named to the Board of Directors. Mr. Thorndike is a graduate of Harvard College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a Director of Carillon Assisted Living, LLC; Lincoln Peak Holdings, LLC; OASIS Group Ltd.; QMC International, LLC; ZircoDATA; a Trustee of The Stanford Business School Trust; WGBH; the College of the Atlantic (Chair); and a founding partner at FARM, a social impact investing collaborative. He is the author of The Outsiders.
Robert Hagstrom is Senior Portfolio Manager for Stifel Financial Corp's investment advisory subsidiary, EquityCompass Strategies. Mr. Hagstrom focuses on developing equity strategies that will invest globally combining EquityCompass' quantitative approach and his own qualitative approach to investing. Mr. Hagstrom has more than 28 years of investment experience, including 14 years as Portfolio Manager for Legg Mason Capital Management's Growth Equity Strategy.
Mr. Hagstrom was most recently Chief Investment Strategist of Legg Mason Investment Counsel. Previously, he was Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager of the Growth Equity Strategy at Legg Mason Capital Management. Prior to that, he served as President and Chief Investment Officer of Legg Mason Focus Capital, General Partner of Focus Capital Advisory, and Principal at Lloyd, Leith and Sawin. Mr. Hagstrom acted as Portfolio Manager with First Fidelity Bank from 1989 to 1991. From 1984 to 1989, he was a Financial Advisor for Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc.
Mr. Hagstrom is the author of nine investment books, including The New York Times Best Seller, "The Warren Buffett Way," (which has sold over 1.5 million copies and is now in its third edition), "The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy," "The Detective and the Investor: Uncovering the Investment Techniques from the Legendary Sleuths," and "Investing: The Last Liberal Art" (second edition). He earned his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Villanova University and is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Philadelphia.
Jeff Gramm manages a hedge fund, and teaches value investing at Columbia Business School. His recently published book, Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism, was named one of the best books of 2016 by the Financial Times. It has been praised as "a terrific read" by Andrew Ross Sorkin in the New York Times, "a revelation" by the Financial Times, "a grand story" by The Wall Street Journal, and “an engaging and informative book” by The New Yorker. Charles Schwab wrote about Dear Chairman, “It should be required reading for anyone who wants to participate in our great ownership system, as investor or manager.”
Jeff Matthews has nearly 30 years experience on Wall Street, and has run his own hedge fund for 15 years. He started as an energy analyst at Merrill Lynch in 1979, moved into the consumer and technology fields as an analyst at several large investment firms, and founded his own hedge fund, Ram Partners LP, in 1994. His financial blog, JeffMatthewsIsNotMakingThisUp, was recommended by Barron’s in 2006 and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal’s Market Beat. His book, “Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha” is published by McGraw-Hill.
Sanjay Bakshi is an experienced and successful value investor/advisor and is also one of India’s best-recognized finance professors who has been teaching Security Analysis, Behavioral Finance and Business Valuation at Management Development Institute, Gurgaon since 2001. As a practitioner of value investing in India for more than 22 years, Sanjay has an excellent long-term track record.
Sanjay received M.Sc. (Economics) from London School of Economics and Political Science and B.Com. (Hons.) from University of Delhi, India. He is also a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
For more information on Mr. Bakshi: https://www.sanjaybakshi.net/
GLEN ARNOLD, PhD, used to be a professor of investing but concluded that academic life was not nearly as much fun, nor as intellectually stimulating, as making money in the markets. As a wealthy investor he now spends most of his time running his equity portfolio from an office in the heart of rural Leicestershire, far from the noise of the City of London. His main research focus explores the question ‘What works in investment?’, drawing on the ideas of the great investors, academic discoveries and corporate strategic analysis – see www.glen-arnold-investments.co.uk. While he used to teach on this subject in the City, he would now rather concentrate on actual investment analysis, but does explain his investment choices and discusses investment ideas at newsletters.advfn.com/deepvalueshares. He is the author of many investment books, including the UK’s bestseller.
Barbara Ann Bernard, the founder of Wincrest Capital, has a passion for investing that goes back to her days growing up in The Bahamas. It was there that a 15-year-old Barbara Ann persuaded legendary value investor Sir John Templeton, a fellow Bahamian resident, to take her on board for the first of what would become a series of summer jobs, giving her a first glimpse of the business and instilling in her a fundamentally value-oriented perspective on public markets. Later working in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and asset management at Deutsche Bank, Barbara Ann acquired a robust grasp of private market valuation that she went on to leverage at Holowesko Partners for nearly a decade, helping the hedge fund grow to several billion in AUM with her focus on special situations and takeout candidates.
Barbara Ann has kept her focus on value since striking out two years ago to launch Wincrest, where she runs a global long-short portfolio built around a foundation of in-depth research. At the 15th Annual Investor Conference in Omaha, she will share one of her latest investment ideas that exemplifies how she hunts for bargains beneath the headlines.
Jon Clifton is a Managing Partner at Gallup and a member of the company’s Executive Committee. His mission is to help the world’s 7 billion citizens be heard through the Gallup World Poll, a 100-year initiative in 160 countries to measure the “will” of every person in the world. He is responsible for the company’s global government work and is a member of the Public Release Committee, the governance board that oversees and maintains Gallup’s public release standards for data, research and methodology.
Jon is a nonresident Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and a member of the University of Nebraska College of Business Administration’s International Business Advisory Board. He serves on the board of directors of the Meridian International Center and StreetWise Partners. Jon received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Michigan and a J.D. in international law from the University of Nebraska. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.
François Rochon was educated as an engineer at the École Polytechnique of Montreal. After graduating with his Masters Degree (in Science), he worked as a researcher and network engineer for INRS-Telecom and Teleglobe Canada.
Following his lifelong passion for investing, he decided to focus his career on professional money management. After managing family accounts between 1993 and 1996, he joined Montrusco & Associates as an analyst and was then promoted to Portfolio Manager. At Montrusco, François managed US accounts totaling more than $250 million.
In December 1998, François founded Giverny Capital in order to offer investment management services to clients based on his investment philosophy of owning outstanding companies for the long term.
François has written a regular investment column in the magazine "Les Affaires Plus" and has been interviewed by MSN Money and a number of television programs such as “Capital-Actions” on the RDI network. He also had a column on Webfin.com and La Presse's web site for a few years. Now you can watch his weekly video presentations on lesaffaires.com and read his column in "The Gazette" on tuesdays (twice a month).
A chapter in Andy Kilpatrick’s book, “Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett” is written about Francois’ career.
He also sits on various boards of directors.
Guy Spier is a Zurich-based investor and the author of The Education of a Value Investor. Since 1997, he has managed Aquamarine’s privately offered investment funds.
Guy previously worked as an investment banker in New York and as a management consultant in London and Paris. He has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, class of 1993, and holds a First Class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University. On graduating from Oxford, he was co- awarded the George Webb Medley prize for the best performance that year in economics. Guy currently lives in Switzerland with his wife Lory and their three children, Eva, Isaac and Sarah.
Christopher Swasbrook is the Managing Director and Founding Shareholder of the Manager. He was previously a Partner of Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty Limited, Co-Head of Institutional Equities at Goldman Sachs JBWere (NZ) Limited and a Foundation Broker of the New Zealand Exchange Limited (“NZX”) and prior to that an Individual Full Member of the NZ Stock Exchange (“NZSE”).
He is currently a member of the NZX Listing Sub-Committee (since 2008) and a member of the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal (since 2013). He is also Chairman of NZX listed - Bethunes Investments Limited [BIL.NZX]. Mr. Swasbrook is independently recognised as a global value investor. Mr Swasbrook graduated from the University of Auckland with a BCom (Economics) in 1995.
Dave is an entrepreneur, business leader, education reformer, and investor. At the age of sixteen, he began working at Hewlett Packard. From the manufacturing workers that he sat beside, Dave learned about the remarkable founders of HP and their HP Way. Later in life, Dave came to learn that too few companies lived by similar values.
Dave founded four companies including Good Technology and Drugstore.com. He also worked for three venture capital firms, KPCB, TPG, and Interwest. In his capacity as an investor, he worked with many successful companies, including Google, Amazon, Successfactors and Autotrader. Dave also helped develop the business plan and recruit the leadership team for Newschools Venture Fund. He continues to serve as a founding board member.
Dave founded Tugboat Ventures in 2005, an innovative entity with the objective of helping entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life through a long-term commitment to promising enterprises.
A small angel investment prior to Tugboat eventually opened his eyes to seasoned entrepreneurs who wanted to build large, profitable, innovative businesses that they would run privately for their lifetimes. In late 2012, Dave began a process of interviewing a number of these entrepreneurs—eventually over 100. He loved their persistence and purposefulness, and came to see that many embraced a people-first value system very similar to David and Bill’s at HP. Yet, across the board they felt underappreciated and often ignored due to having no plans to raise VC or PE, sell or IPO. These inspirational conversations led to a gathering in Sun Valley in October 2013, and the beginnings of the Tugboat Institute and Tugboat Evergreen, under The Tugboat Group.
Mr. Whorton has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford. Dave enjoys spending time between innovative Silicon Valley and mindful Sun Valley, Idaho.
Takeaways: (1) Taking over from the founder and transitioning to CEO role;
(2) How Morningstar built its methodology on a Buffett-like way of thinking, from selecting active managers to picking individual stocks;
(3) How Morningstar is using technology to deliver research in new ways
Kunal Kapoor, CFA, is chief executive officer of Morningstar. Before assuming his current role in 2017, he served as president, responsible for product development and innovation, sales and marketing, and driving strategic prioritization across the firm.
Since joining Morningstar in 1997 as a data analyst, Kapoor has held a variety of roles at the firm, including leadership positions in research and innovation. He served as director of mutual fund research and was part of the team that launched Morningstar Investment Services, Inc., before moving on to other roles including director of business strategy for international operations, and later, president and chief investment officer of Morningstar Investment Services. During his tenure, he has also led Morningstar.com® and the firm’s data business as well as its global products and client solutions group.
Kapoor holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental policy from Monmouth College and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, is a member of the CFA Society of Chicago, and served on the board of PitchBook, a private firm that provides a comprehensive private equity and venture capital database, prior to its acquisition by Morningstar in late 2016. Kapoor is also a member of the board of trustees of The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. In 2010, Crain’s Chicago Business named him to its annual 40 Under 40 class, a list that includes professionals from a variety of industries who are contributing to Chicago’s business, civic, and philanthropic landscape.
Ronald L. Olson is a name partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Mr. Olson’s practice involves a combination of litigation and corporate counseling. He counsels individual executives and boards of directors in a wide range of matters, including transactions and corporate governance. Mr. Olson has also been the lead partner in numerous high-profile litigation matters.
Mr. Olson is a director of Berkshire Hathaway, Edison International, City National Corporation, Graham Holdings Company, and Western Asset Trusts. He serves as a director of several non-profits, including the RAND Corporation (formerly chair), the Mayo Clinic, and the California Institute of Technology. He was chairman of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section (1981-1982) and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary (1991-1992). He was also chairman of the board of trustees of Claremont University Center and Graduate School (1984-1994), founding chairman of the board of trustees of Southern California Public Radio (1999-2004) and a director of the Council on Foreign Relations (2002-2010).
Don. Wurster serves as the President of National Indemnity Company and Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska. Mr. Wurster was employed By Pacific Stock Exchange, San Francisco, CA. from 1980 to 1982. Mr. Wurster is graduate of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mi, in 1975. He holds an MBA Degree from University of California, Berkeley, Ca in 1980.
About National Indemnity: National Indemnity Company provides commercial insurance products. It offers commercial auto insurance products, which provide coverage for business auto, commercial trucks and truckers, passenger transport, and specialty operations; garage insurance products that provide coverage for dealers, and service and repair shops; motor truck cargo insurance that provides coverage for loading and unloading, refrigeration breakdown, and earned freight operations; and prize indemnification and special events insurance products. The company also provides general liability insurance, which provides coverage for construction, manufacturing and distribution, transportation, miscellaneous, and stores and rental operations, as well as installation, service, and repair operations. It offers its products through retail and contracted general agents in the United States. The company was founded in 1940 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. National Indemnity Company operates as a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc
Kevin Clayton began his housing career at seven setting up and refurbishing manufactured homes after school and continued working every summer to learn all he could about the business. A graduate of James Madison University with an MBA from the University of Tennessee, Kevin worked in and led each of the five business groups before transitioning to CEO in 1999, leading the most dynamic management team in housing.
Kevin was pivotal in closing the sale of Clayton Homes to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 2003, with the entire manufactured housing industry benefiting from the credibility of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Warren Buffett stated “The driving force behind the company’s success is Kevin Clayton. (He) knows the business forward and backward, is a rational decision-maker and a joy to work with.”
Blending work and play, and sometimes confusing the two, Kevin is a commercial-rated jet pilot and enjoys flying a variety of aircraft, a skill that serves both his business needs and his adventurous nature. Kevin serves on various boards, including Ruby Tuesday and is an active philanthropist. He and his wife, Chelly, have one child, Ella, who turned nine in April.
Takeaways include features of the Berkshire System from the shareholders' viewpoint: (1) Berkshire is unusually congenial to taxable shareholders, enhancing compounding rates considerably; (2) Berkshire's internal cultural features such as autonomy, decentralization, and permanence help attract sellers of high-quality companies to sell to Berkshire at reasonable prices with managers who stay on and become substantial shareholders; and (3) There is a close symbiotic connection between features (1) and (2) that reinforces Berkshire's high compounding rate and long time horizon.
Lawrence A. Cunningham is an authority on corporate governance, corporate culture, and corporate law, and teaches business-related courses that span these fields. He has written dozens of books and scores of articles on a wide range of subjects in law and business. These include the leading textbook on accounting used in law schools, a popular narrative on contracts, and best-selling books on Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett (The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America and Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values). His extensive work has been published in top university reviews such as Columbia Law Review, influential professional journals such as Directors & Boards, and mainstream media such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Beyond his extensive writings on corporate governance, Professor Cunningham regularly advises and serves on corporate boards, including service for such companies as Constellation Software Inc., a Toronto stock exchange maker of software products globally, and Ashford Hospitality Prime, Inc., a NYSE-listed investor in luxury hotels. He is also a Member of the Dean's Council of Lerner College of Business of the University of Delaware, a Member of the Editorial Board of the Museum of American Finance in New York and a Member of the Advisory Board of MobileNerd, a start-up venture seeking to bridge the digital divide by making access to STEM training content cheap and easy for every person in the world.
Before joining GW in 2007, Professor Cunningham taught at Boston College Law School, where he served a two-year term as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. From 1992 to 2002, he taught at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he served a five-year term as Director of the Heyman Center on Corporate Governance and received the Professor of the Year Award in 2000. Professor Cunningham has also taught or visited at Columbia, Fordham, St. John's, and Vanderbilt, as well as Central European University, Hebrew University, University of Navarra, and Oxford. Before entering academia, he practiced corporate law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York.
Professor Cunningham is the Founding Faculty Director of GW Law School's semester-long business law program in New York City known as GWinNY.
Recommended Books by Lawrence A. Cunningham: (1.) The Warren Buffett Shareholder: Stories from Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (supplied by Larry Cunningham)
(2.) The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America (supplied by Larry Cunningham)
Nicole Friedman covers Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway and the insurance industry for The Wall Street Journal in New York City. She previously covered oil and natural-gas markets. Before the Journal, Nicole worked as a reporter at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon. She is from California and attended Brown University. Follow her on Twitter: @NicoleFriedman.
For more information on Ms. Friedman: http://topics.wsj.com/person/F/nicole-friedman/7823
Takeaways: (1) The Berkshire System is an original creation of Warren Buffett, based upon his personal approach to investing and managing. (2) The Berkshire System attracts and retains outstanding managers of outstanding businesses, through a clear focus on the long term. (3) The Berkshire System taps the deepest desires of human needs - to be trusted to perform important tasks with extreme autonomy.
Mark joined Grant Thornton in 1991 and has considerable experience in the areas of business services and taxation. Some of Grant Thornton Australia's largest clients rely on Mark to handle their compliance and business advisory work. He is one of the firm’s most experienced practitioners and his client base includes some of Queensland’s most successful private companies.
Mark is a member of the National leadership team for Family Office Services and leads the Brisbane office in delivering a holistic service to protect and grow clients business and family wealth. He takes a proactive approach by identifying solutions before issues arise and guides clients through sound investment decisions.
Mark deals extensively with family owned and operated businesses where a high degree of personal contact and service is required.
Mark’s primary areas of expertise include: assisting clients with substantial private businesses manage the growth from a financial and strategic perspective advising high net worth clients on succession and estate planning issues helping clients achieve the optimal value for their business upon disposal on an after tax basis analysis of business performance assisting clients with debt raising issues structuring client’s affairs for maximum tax benefits.
Recommended Books: Investing Between the Lines, by LJ Rittenhouse
Opening Remarks:(1) What is the Berkshire System?
(2) Insights from Berkshire Director and Legal Counselor.
(3) Perspectives from key Berkshire subsidiary executives.
(4) Observations from an accountant as well as academic and corporate governance expert.
Closing Remarks: (1) Admire Buffett for his investing skill and shared knowledge but follow his simple and effective corporate values for long term success. (2) Long-term investors must be concerned about corporate governance (3) Berkshire is built to succeed, endure and prosper.
Robert P. Miles is an internationally acclaimed keynote presenter, author and distinguished authority on Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.
Pursued by journalists and media moguls on just about each and every move that Mr. Buffett makes, Robert is not only a long term shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway [nyse: BRKa/BRKb], he has had the great honor of getting to know Warren Buffett, the man and the remarkable wealth-building strategist.
He is the author of 3 books, has created assorted audio and video programs, and has appeared on many radio and television programs on five continents, including NPR, CNN, CNN International, CNBC, FOX Business, Channel News Asia, Sky Business News, Shanghai Today, CNBC Asia, CNBC Africa and Bloomberg TV. His Buffett CEO book was featured as a special on National Public Television's Nightly Business Report.As the writer of the top-selling books, The Warren Buffett CEO: Secrets From the Berkshire Hathaway Managers and 101 Reasons To Own the World's Greatest Investment: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway [Wiley], Robert has relentlessly followed his passion and found great success in doing so.
He is the author and presenter of Warren Buffett Wealth: Principles and Practical Methods Used by the World’s Greatest Investor[Wiley (book) and Nightingale (audio)]. He is host of the Buffett CEO Talk video series, conversations with the Berkshire Hathaway managers filmed before live studio audiences and broadcast on public television.
Many of his live keynotes, along with his hardcover and paperback books have been translated into assorted foreign languages, including Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese.
Known for his subtle wit and entertaining stories, this author without borders has shared his valuable insights, strategies, philosophies, and anecdotes with enthusiastic audiences throughout the world.
For more than a decade, Miles has given hundreds of live presentations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia in 15 countries, over 45 cities and 12 universities.
Miles is the founder and host of the original Value Investor Conference held each year immediately preceding the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Attendees from all 6 continents enjoy this unique retreat style forum featuring presentations from Warren Buffett CEOs, global investment managers and best-selling authors.
In the fall of 2011, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Robert Miles created the curriculum and began teaching a graduate Executive MBA course based on his worldwide lectures and titled The Genius of Warren Buffett: The Science of Investing and the Art of Managing. This one of a kind program includes a distinguished speaker series, multiple valuation case studies of actual businesses and stocks purchased by Warren Buffett, and for the final exam, student presentations of businesses they think would best fit into the Berkshire family of businesses.
Miles is a graduate of the University of Michigan Business School and resides in Tampa, Florida.
Recommended Books by Robert P. Miles: (1) 101 Reasons to Own the World's Greatest Investment (2) Warren Buffett CEO (3) Warren Buffett Wealth