Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has urged shareholders to vote against a proposal that it consider spending some of its $48.2 billion of cash on a “meaningful” dividend. According to a Berkshire proxy filing on Friday, David Witt, a Cincinnati resident who owns nearly $8,600 of Berkshire stock, will propose the payout at the company’s May 3 annual meeting. Berkshire has not paid a cash dividend since 1967…Berkshire also disclosed that Buffett’s compensation rose 15 percent last year to $485,606. That includes his usual $100,000 salary, plus $385,606 for personal and home security. The company also said it paid most directors an extra $300 last year. That meant Bill Gates, the Microsoft Corp co-founder and world’s richest person, was awarded $2,100 last year for his work as a Berkshire director. [Reuters]
Carlos Slim has been crowned the richest man in the world, by Forbes, with a net worth of $74 billion. Bill Gates clocked in second place, with Warren Buffett backing up the trio. In related news, put your hands up for billionaires in general, whose total wealth rose 25% to $4.5 trillion! Here’s the Top 20: Read more »
“The issue is the “Giving Pledge” is a condescending, nearly cartoonish PR exercise [that allows people like Tom Seyer to feel good about himself, despite] working on the risk arbitrage desk at Goldman Sachs and then creating Farallon Capital, an overwhelmingly self-interested hedge fund.” [WSJ via DI]
Tomorrow, Forbes will release its annual list of the richest billionaires in the world. Who will take the number one and two spots? The CNBC brain trust has crunched some numbers and is guessing it’ll be Gates, followed by Buffett. This is all pretty upsetting to everyone in the Oracle’s camp, as it would mark the second year in a row WB came in second place. Read more »
As you’re more than likely aware, the World Economic Forum at Davos kicked off this week. Though Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon will sadly not be able to attend, Gary Cohn, John Mack, Vikram Pandit, Bob Diamond, Brady Dougan Brian Moynihan will all be there, in addition to Nouriel Roubini, who’s been known to add a certain je ne sais quoi* to most soirees, as well as his wingman, George Soros, and Dan Loeb, who arrived today. Obviously they’re all going to be expected to have some “serious talks” about “real solutions” for how we can make this global financial system thing work, have some sit-downs with Maria, play in the snow and what have you. But if I may, I’d like to offer that perhaps you should take this week as an opportunity to do something more important than all that. Like Dance. Dance, puppets, dance! Dance like nobody’s watching. Dance like Andrew Ross Sorkin’s not taking careful notes regarding who busted out the lawnmower (Vikram) and who got low (Soros). Dance like you’re on ecstasy. At the very least dance like Bill Gates. Promise me that.
Isn’t this rich? Bill Gates, the richest man in the whole country, thinks Wall Streeters are paid too much.
The compensation problem is a very interesting problem. I do think compensation is often too high, but it’s a very tough problem to solve.
Gates blamed a 1993 federal law capping executive salaries at $1 million–”a bad milestone”–which he said wound up backfiring, encouraging huge bonuses and stock option awards. He doesn’t like that, he said during a discussion on philanthropy in New York yesterday, but he’s wary of doing anything about it, worrying that, like the ’93 law, it will just make things worse.