April 2, 2005

buffet partnership letter - 1969

just read the 1969 partnership letter. This was the year when buffet shocked his partners by deciding to close his partnership. That was highly unusual for a money manager , especially if the preceeding year had been as good as it had been for buffet and on top of that if the market was in a bull phase. But buffet rationally decided that there were no bargains to be found and it was better to quit the game than set yourself up for failure.
what struck me in the letter were two points
a) buffet in 1969 clears says that considering the situation then, the conventional wisdom that stocks are a better investment than bonds did not hold true and an investor could expect the same level of return from both. As a result an investor would be better off holding bonds instead of stocks. now this is important as most of the people equate buffet with 'buy and hold' which has now become buy and hold ( irrespective of the valuations). This letter clearly shows buffet's thinking in this matter. Hold you stock till one has rational and well thought out reasons that the stock is not grossly overvalued
b) the second point is mainly buffet's recommendation of bill ruane to his investor and his very rational and sound assesment of bill ruane's past performance and ethics. He logically explains and sets the right expectations for his investor and also gives some pointers of how to evaluate a money manager. i found this very enlighting

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