Charlie Munger: Savvy investor who makes up Buffett's roaring double act
Tuesday 04 May 2010
Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has long been billed as the supporting role in an extremely successful double act with Warren Buffett, but he has a huge following in the investor community in his own right. Mr Buffett has said in the past: "He's got a real fan club, but for good reason. I'm a member, too."
Mr Munger, an Omaha native like Mr Buffett, but a few years his senior at 86, trained at Harvard Law School and began his career as a property attorney. He quit in 1965 to focus on investing.
The billionaire, who is also chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway-owned Wesco Financial Corporation, says he made his money through sticking with "value investing" and ignoring the trends at any given time. Speaking last year, he added that a lot of those investing in fads "are going to get creamed". Summing up his success, Mr Munger said: "Warren is peculiar, and I'm peculiar. We've got our own peculiar operating model ... And we like it that way."
At the weekend, Mr Buffett publicly backed Goldman Sachs and its embattled chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein. Mr Munger echoed his business partner but was not quite so wholehearted in his support. When asked about Mr Blankfein, he told CNBC: "I'm favourably impressed with him ... That's not to say Goldman didn't participate with its industry in urging permissive rules for investment banking that were socially undesirable."
It was the former Lehman Brothers head Dick Fuld who was the focus of Mr Munger's ire: "Of all the investment banks of size, that was the one where the behaviour was the worst, and it came ... from the top."
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