Returning after two years of health restrictions in the face of the pandemic, Warren Buffett participated in the annual general meeting of his Berkshire Hathaway holding company organized in Omaha, Nebraska (United States). Since his last participation, finance has changed a lot. Equity markets boomed before slowing sharply this year, and the economy had to make room for cryptocurrencies.
Two large-scale changes that did not please the multi-billionaire. In a five-hour exchange, punctuated by questions asked by the shareholders of the holding company, Warren Buffett said frankly what he thought. And nothing is very positive. Berkshire Hathaway has yet invested no less than 51 billion dollars since the beginning of the year. But new trends, especially among small investors, do not please him.
The stock market casino
For a long time, Warren Buffett complained about not finding an investment opportunity on the stock market. For him, absolute calm reigned in recent months, and nothing allowed him to find the new nugget. However, since January, it has invested a total of $51 billion via Berkshire Hathaway. Several operations were revealed to the public earlier, such as the acquisition of a stake in the oil company Occidental Petroleum and recently in HP.
Where the renowned investor remains very critical is the massive influx of small “stock traders” via online investment platforms like Robinhood in the United States. “Most big companies have become poker chips”, he said. On Wall Street, “they make a lot more money when people bet like in the casino”. One of the most significant events in this regard will certainly remain the WallStreetBets affair.
Bitcoin changes nothing, produces nothing
Criticism has also surfaced around the Bitcoin trend, which is increasingly embraced by businesses, investors and individuals – even some states. Warren Buffett, who has already invested in a neobank (the biggest, Nubank in Brazil), does not seem very enthusiastic about the future of cryptocurrency. “I don’t know if in five years or ten years it will be worth more or less than it is today. But what I am sure of is that it does not modify anything, does not produce anything”he said.
On Twitter, the reactions to these remarks were not long in coming. Even the founder and CEO of the Binance platform, Changpeng Zhao, wrote a short message. He said : “Bitcoin and Warren Buffett don’t need each other. Warren Buffett has enough tickets and he’s happy. Bitcoin has enough support and growth.”
Following his exchange, many shareholders pointed to Berkshire Hathaway’s lack of information about environmental issues and diversity. Another point of tension, the distribution of tasks between Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. Shareholders would like the role of chairman of the board of directors and that of chief executive to be clearly specified between the two. A request that Charlie Munger, speaking, brushed aside.