‘His wisdom will live on for generations’: Industry pays tribute to Charlie Munger

Berkshire Hathaway vice-chair passed away at the age of 99

Charlie Munger
Charlie Munger. Picture: Nick Webb/Flickr

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The financial services industry has paid tribute to Berkshire Hathaway vice-chair and value investing pioneer Charlie Munger (pictured), who has passed away at the age of 99.

In a statement yesterday (28 November) announcing his death, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said: “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation.”

Munger had been vice chair of the investment firm since 1978 and has often been described as Buffett’s right-hand man.

Paying tribute to Munger, manager of the Quality Shares Portfolio at Wealth Club Charlie Huggins said: “Every year Charlie Munger shared his wisdom, alongside his long-time investment partner, Warren Buffett, at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual general meeting. Every year I listened intently. It’s no exaggeration to say that without these meetings, I wouldn’t be half the investor I am today. I may not even be investing at all.”

He added that, while Munger was “a man of few words”, every one “dripped with insight”. “Munger could pack more wisdom into a single sentence than some people get across in a lifetime,” Huggins said.

“Munger was hugely intelligent, but so are a lot of people. It wasn’t his intellect that set him apart. It was his common sense and rationality. Munger paid zero attention to conventional wisdom and was the dictionary definition of independent. He excelled at pouncing on investment opportunities, when everyone else was running for the hills. And he played a huge role in Buffett’s metamorphosis from an investor in cheap ‘cigar butts’ to embracing great businesses, like See’s Candies and Coca-Cola.”

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Huggins said that, while many people seek success by “trying to grasp the esoteric rather than master the obvious”, Munger was the opposite of that.

“Key to Munger’s success was his ability to invert problems: finding what didn’t work – and then avoiding that like the plague. In Munger’s own words – “It’s remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”

“I will never see another investor like Charlie Munger. His patience, common sense, self-awareness and judgement were remarkable in isolation, never mind in combination. And they were married with a dry wit that meant people actually listened – and enjoyed doing so.

“His wisdom will live on for generations.”

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