May 6 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger are answering five hours of questions from shareholders, journalists and analysts at Berkshire’s 52nd annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
The weekend known as “Woodstock for Capitalists” is unique in corporate America, a celebration of the billionaire’s image and success at a conglomerate whose businesses range from Geico insurance to the BNSF railroad to See’s candies to Ginsu knives.
Below are a few of the comments from Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” on topics ranging from Wells Fargo to celebrating a pioneer of index funds.
“At Wells Fargo, there were three significant mistakes, but one dwarfs all of the others ... You have to be careful what you incentivize. There was an incentive system built around cross-selling ... That was incentivizing the wrong kind of behavior.”
“The main problem was they didn’t act when they learned about it.”
ON BERKSHIRE‘S EARNINGS REPORT
“The realized investment gains or losses in any period really mean nothing ... We don’t really think about the timing of what we do. We do not make earnings forecasts.”
“I feel very good about the first quarter even though our operating earnings were down a little bit.”
”It was not in the in the interests of Wall Street to have the development of index funds, because it brought down fees dramatically. When Jack started, very few people, certainly Wall Street did not applaud him. He was the subject of some derision. And now we’re talking trillions when we get into index funds.
“Jack at a minimum has saved, in the pockets of investors, he’s put tens and tens and tens of billions into their pockets. It’s Jack’s 88th birthday on Monday. Happy birthday, Jack and thank you on behalf of (investors).”
“Driverless trucks are a lot more of a threat than an opportunity to Burlington Northern.”
“Autonomous vehicles, widespread, would hurt us if they spread to trucks, and they would hurt our auto insurance business. They may be a long way off. That will depend on experience in the first early months of the introduction. If they make the world safer, it will be a very good thing but it won’t be a good thing for auto insurers.”
Compiled by Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Chris Reese