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No. of Recommendations: 85
I've now been a Berkshire shareholder for a few days over thirteen years. My first shares purchased on 2/15/2000, which I still hold, have provided a total return of 229%, or 9.6% annualized. During the same holding period SPY has provided a total return of 28%, or 1.9% annualized.

Book value at 12/31/99 was $37,987 and my guess for Book value at 12/31/12 is $113,000 which is a compound rate of 8.75% so the majority of my return on this initial position is attributable to Berkshire's progress in book value (and intrinsic value) while a small amount involves a minor expansion in the P/B ratio (fwiw, most of my other positions suffer from a contraction in P/B from time of purchase till now).

Over the past 13 years we have seen, among countless other events:
* Collapse of the dot com boom and associated stock market crash.
* Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
* Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
* Real estate bubble and collapse
* Near total collapse of the worldwide financial system
* Most serious recession since the Great Depression
* A second stock market crash in less than a decade

So I'd say Berkshire's results are pretty good overall. Thanks Warren and Charlie!
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No. of Recommendations: 22
I've been a Berkshire shareholder since 1982.

Markel for over 20.

Fairfax for about 19.

Leucadia since the early 1990's.

Cathay Bancorp since 1985.

East West Bancorp since it came public in 2000.

Brown and Brown since it came public.

AJ Gallagher for 20 years.

Coke since 1972.

Pepsi since 1972.

Tootsie since 1983.

Old age and patience.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I've now been a Berkshire shareholder for a few days over thirteen years. My first shares purchased on 2/15/2000, which I still hold, have provided a total return of 229%, or 9.6% annualized. During the same holding period SPY has provided a total return of 28%, or 1.9% annualized.

Book value at 12/31/99 was $37,987 and my guess for Book value at 12/31/12 is $113,000 which is a compound rate of 8.75% so the majority of my return on this initial position is attributable to Berkshire's progress in book value (and intrinsic value) while a small amount involves a minor expansion in the P/B ratio (fwiw, most of my other positions suffer from a contraction in P/B from time of purchase till now).

Over the past 13 years we have seen, among countless other events:
* Collapse of the dot com boom and associated stock market crash.
* Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
* Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
* Real estate bubble and collapse
* Near total collapse of the worldwide financial system
* Most serious recession since the Great Depression
* A second stock market crash in less than a decade

So I'd say Berkshire's results are pretty good overall. Thanks Warren and Charlie!


But there is no dividend or succession plan.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
no dividend or succession plan.

Although I "joined" in the late 1970's (Sandy put all First Manhattan accounts into Berkshire starting in 1970. The portfolio was 1/3 BRK, 1/3 Quantum (Soros) and 1/3 stuff that we wanted to trade in and out of)...

I think BRK may be going to need both. And I think both of those needs, if they arise will be brought about by the same fact. We have been exceedingly fortunately to have known this man, his wisdom and his example.





jz
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No. of Recommendations: 1
<<I've now been a Berkshire shareholder for a few days over thirteen years. My first shares purchased on 2/15/2000, which I still hold, have provided a total return of 229%, or 9.6% annualized. During the same holding period SPY has provided a total return of 28%, or 1.9% annualized.
>>

I bought some B shares at about $2300 in March 2009 with about 21% annualized return, but in the same period S&P returns 22% annualized, not counting dividend.
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No. of Recommendations: 4
And thanks to many members of this community.
My BRK timeframe is similar to Rw's. I credit many great posts on this board that helped me make that purchase. An many post since, helping me to manage (not sell) that investment.
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No. of Recommendations: 12
Rationalwalk's post reminded me of a WEB business governance attitude that was mentioned to me many years ago when I asked a mentor (and present director) what kind of an entity Berkshire really was. A feature that WEB brought up in the 2003 meeting was one of the elements he mentioned, even though the popularity of director's insurance was a fraction of what it is now:

WEB's words were

The downside for Berkshire directors is actually worse than yours because we carry no directors and officers liability insurance. Therefore, if something really catastrophic happens on our directors’ watch, they are exposed to losses that will far exceed yours.

The bottom line for our directors: You win, they win big; you lose, they lose big. Our approach might be called owner-capitalism. We know of no better way to engender true independence. (This structure does not guarantee perfect behavior, however: I’ve sat on boards of companies in which Berkshire had huge stakes and remained silent as questionable proposals were rubber-stamped.)

In addition to being independent, directors should have business savvy, a shareholder orientation and a genuine interest in the company. The rarest of these qualities is business savvy – and if it is lacking, the other two are of little help. Many people who are smart, articulate and admired have no real understanding of business. That’s no sin; they may shine elsewhere. But they don’t belong on corporate boards. Similarly, I would be useless on a medical or scientific board (though I would likely be welcomed by a chairman who wanted to run things his way). My name would dress up the list of directors, but I wouldn’t know enough to critically evaluate proposals. Moreover, to cloak my ignorance, I would keep my mouth shut (if you can imagine that). In effect, I could be replaced, without loss, by a potted plant.

Last year, as we moved to change our board, I asked for self-nominations from shareholders who believed they had the requisite qualities to be a Berkshire director. Despite the lack of either liability insurance or meaningful compensation, we received more than twenty applications. Most were good, coming from owner-oriented individuals having family holdings of Berkshire worth well over $1 million. After considering them, Charlie and I – with the concurrence of our incumbent directors – asked four shareholders who did not nominate themselves to join the board: David Gottesman, Charlotte Guyman, Don Keough and Tom Murphy. These four people are all friends of mine, and I know their strengths well. They bring an extraordinary amount of business talent to Berkshire’s board.


Think of the fun JPM, C, BAC and some other learned institutions would be having now if they had the same provision. (Of course I don't have a clue where they would find board members!)


jz
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No. of Recommendations: 0
i have a math question on this topic.

i bought my first B shares in 1999 at $1,699/sh.

can i apply the 2010 1:50 split to that share price and conclude my split adjusted cost is $34/sh (rounded)?

thx.

m
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Edit: my inital shares were purchased in Feb 2000, not 1999.

m
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Yes, just divide the price you paid by 50 to get the split adjusted cost.
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Thank you, Sir.

Have a good day....
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Think of the fun JPM, C, BAC and some other learned institutions would be having now if they had the same provision. (Of course I don't have a clue where they would find board members!)

Similarly, what if shareholders were personally liable for the company's mistakes beyond the shares they hold?

I know this is not going to happen, but occasionally I wonder what would happen if there was no such thing as a limited company. Maybe a lot of companies would act a lot more ethically and rationally too.

Mark
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I wonder what would happen if there was no such thing as a limited company. Maybe a lot of companies would act a lot more ethically and rationally too.
No. All the companies would be run by royalty.
When you think of ethics and rationality, do you really think immediately of the House of Saud?
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