Buffett and Munger on Success, Toxicity and Elon Musk
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,613,207 (-0.60%)       Melbourne $969,484 (-0.54%)       Brisbane $991,125 (-0.15%)       Adelaide $906,278 (+1.12%)       Perth $892,773 (+0.03%)       Hobart $726,294 (-0.04%)       Darwin $657,141 (-1.18%)       Canberra $1,003,818 (-0.83%)       National $1,045,092 (-0.37%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $754,460 (+0.43%)       Melbourne $495,941 (+0.11%)       Brisbane $587,365 (+0.63%)       Adelaide $442,425 (-2.43%)       Perth $461,417 (+0.53%)       Hobart $511,031 (+0.36%)       Darwin $373,250 (+2.98%)       Canberra $492,184 (-1.10%)       National $537,029 (+0.15%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,787 (-116)       Melbourne 14,236 (+55)       Brisbane 8,139 (+64)       Adelaide 2,166 (-18)       Perth 5,782 (+59)       Hobart 1,221 (+5)       Darwin 279 (+4)       Canberra 924 (+36)       National 42,534 (+89)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,638 (-81)       Melbourne 8,327 (-30)       Brisbane 1,728 (-19)       Adelaide 415 (+10)       Perth 1,444 (+2)       Hobart 201 (-10)       Darwin 392 (-7)       Canberra 1,004 (-14)       National 22,149 (-149)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$20)       Melbourne $620 ($0)       Brisbane $630 (-$5)       Adelaide $615 (+$5)       Perth $675 ($0)       Hobart $560 (+$10)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $670 (+$4)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $630 (+$5)       Adelaide $505 (-$5)       Perth $620 (-$10)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $580 (+$20)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $597 (-$)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,197 (+313)       Melbourne 6,580 (-5)       Brisbane 4,403 (-85)       Adelaide 1,545 (-44)       Perth 2,951 (+71)       Hobart 398 (-13)       Darwin 97 (+4)       Canberra 643 (+11)       National 22,814 (+252)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,884 (-22)       Melbourne 6,312 (0)       Brisbane 2,285 (-54)       Adelaide 357 (-14)       Perth 783 (-14)       Hobart 129 (-14)       Darwin 132 (+6)       Canberra 831 (+15)       National 21,713 (-97)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.64% (↑)      Melbourne 3.33% (↑)        Brisbane 3.31% (↓)       Adelaide 3.53% (↓)       Perth 3.93% (↓)     Hobart 4.01% (↑)      Darwin 5.54% (↑)      Canberra 3.52% (↑)      National 3.34% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.17% (↓)       Melbourne 6.19% (↓)     Brisbane 5.58% (↑)      Adelaide 5.94% (↑)        Perth 6.99% (↓)       Hobart 4.68% (↓)     Darwin 8.08% (↑)      Canberra 5.81% (↑)        National 5.78% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 29.8 (↓)     Melbourne 31.7 (↑)      Brisbane 30.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.2 (↓)       Perth 35.2 (↓)     Hobart 35.1 (↑)      Darwin 44.2 (↑)        Canberra 31.5 (↓)     National 32.9 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.5 (↓)     Brisbane 27.8 (↑)        Adelaide 22.8 (↓)     Perth 38.4 (↑)        Hobart 37.5 (↓)       Darwin 37.3 (↓)       Canberra 40.5 (↓)       National 33.1 (↓)           
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Buffett and Munger on Success, Toxicity and Elon Musk

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO, with business partner Charlie Munger, spent hours this weekend discussing life and career choices

By CHIP CUTTER
Tue, May 9, 2023 8:39amGrey Clock 3 min

The question was a philosophical one: How should you avoid major mistakes in business and life?

Warren Buffett, the 92-year-old chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, paused briefly.

“You should write your obituary and then try to figure out how to live up to it,” Mr. Buffett said. “It’s not that complicated.”

At Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday, an event that draws thousands to Omaha, Neb., each spring, Mr. Buffett and his longtime business partner, Charlie Munger, spent hours weighing in on topics as varied as the recent banking turmoil to artificial intelligence and the future of the U.S. As is typical at such gatherings, the executives also doled out plenty of advice on management practices, career choices and how to enjoy a good life.

In prior years, Mr. Munger has heaped scorn on consultants, compensation specialists and what he described as make-work activities inside U.S. companies. This weekend, he directed his ire at wealth managers.

“Having a huge proportion of the young and brilliant people all going into wealth management is a crazy development in terms of its natural consequences for American civilisation,” Mr. Munger said. “We don’t need as many wealth managers as we have.”

He added: “I don’t think a bunch of bankers, all of whom are trying to get rich, leads to good things.”

Mr. Buffett, for his part, said he wanted to see greater accountability inside banks, saying that the recent crisis in the industry illustrated why executives and board members should face consequences if a business encounters problems.

“If the CEO gets the bank in trouble, both the CEO and the directors should suffer,” Mr. Buffett said. “You’ve got to have the penalties hit the people that cause the problems, and if they took risks that they shouldn’t have, it needs to fall on them if you’re going to change how people are going to behave in the future.”

Over hours of questions from investors and others, the two billionaires often peppered their answers with recommendations on how to navigate business. Mr. Buffett advised that people pay attention to how others might try to manipulate them.

He also encouraged those in attendance to resist the temptation to criticise or vilify others.

“I’ve never known anybody that was basically kind that died without friends,” Mr. Buffett said. “And I’ve known plenty of people with money that have died without friends.”

Mr. Munger said that success comes from steering clear of toxic people.

“The great lesson of life is get them the hell out of your life—and do it fast,” Mr. Munger said.

When hiring some of his top leaders over the years, Mr. Buffett said he has tried to suss out someone’s talents and not focus on whether they attended a prestigious institution.

“I have never looked at where anybody went to school in terms of hiring,” Mr. Buffett said. “If somebody mails me a résumé or something, I don’t care where they went to school.”

One of Mr. Buffett’s top lieutenants, Ajit Jain, studied at Harvard Business School, “but he isn’t Ajit because he went to those schools,” Mr. Buffett said.

Mr. Buffett graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and later studied under the legendary value investor Benjamin Graham at Columbia University. Mr. Munger, who is 99 years old, studied mathematics at the University of Michigan and meteorology at the California Institute of Technology, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard University.

On artificial intelligence, Mr. Buffett said he had been impressed at generative AI’s abilities to summarise legal opinions and potentially take on other tasks, though he said he also worried about its potential consequences. “It can do all kinds of things, and when something can do all kinds of things, I get a little bit worried because I know we won’t be able to uninvent it,” Mr. Buffett said.

Mr. Munger said he was skeptical of some of the hype around artificial intelligence. “I think old-fashioned intelligence works pretty well,” he said.

Near the end of the meeting, an audience member asked the two billionaires to weigh in on Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO who took control of the social-media platform Twitter last year.

Mr. Buffett called Mr. Musk a “brilliant, brilliant guy,” who had a much different approach in dreaming about the future than the Berkshire executives. Mr. Buffett has often said he takes a hands-off approach to managing Berkshire’s subsidiaries, which range from the insurer Geico to the restaurant chain Dairy Queen. Mr. Musk is known for weighing in on the details at his companies.

“He would not have achieved what he has in life if he hadn’t tried for unreasonably extreme objectives,” Mr. Munger said of Mr. Musk. “He likes taking on the impossible job and doing it. We’re different: Warren and I are looking for the easy job.”

Mr. Buffett said he didn’t want to compete against Mr. Musk, to which Mr. Munger added: “We don’t want that much failure.”

Mr. Musk tweeted Saturday that he appreciated the “kind words from Warren & Charlie.”



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The CEOs of the ASX 200 were paid a little less in FY23 compared to the year before, but bonuses appear to have become the norm rather than a reward for outstanding results, according to the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). ACSI has released its 23rd annual report documenting the CEOs’ realised pay, which combines base salaries, bonuses and other incentives.

The highest-paid CEO among Australian-domiciled ASX 200 companies in FY23 was Greg Goodman of Goodman Group, with realised pay of $27.34 million. Goodman Group is the ASX 200’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT) with a global portfolio of $80.5 billion in assets. The highest-paid CEO among foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies was Mick Farrell of ResMed with realised pay of $47.58 million. ResMed manufactures CPAP machines to treat sleep apnoea.

The realised pay for the CEOs of the largest 100 companies by market capitalisation fell marginally from a median of $3.93 million in FY22 to $3.87 million in FY23. This is the lowest median in the 10 years since ACSI began basing its report on realised pay data. The median realised pay for the CEOs of the next largest 100 companies also fell from $2.1million to $1.95 million.

However, 192 of the ASX 200 CEOs took home a bonus, and Ed John, ACSI’s executive manager of stewardship, is concerned that bonuses are becoming “a given”.

“At a time when companies are focused on productivity and performance, it is critical that bonuses are only paid for exceptional outcomes,” Mr John said. He added that boards should set performance thresholds for CEO bonuses at appropriate levels.

ACSI said the slightly lower median realised pay of ASX 200 CEOs indicated greater scrutiny from shareholders was having an impact. There was a record 41 strike votes against executive pay at ASX 300 annual general meetings (AGMs) in 2023. This indicated an increasing number of shareholders were feeling unhappy with the executive pay levels at the companies in which they were invested.

A strike vote means 25 percent or more of shareholders voted against a company’s remuneration report. If a second strike vote is recorded at the next AGM, shareholders can vote to force the directors to stand for re-election.

10 highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs in FY23

1. Mick Farrell, ResMed, $47.58 million*
2. Robert Thomson, News Corporation, $41.53 million*
3. Greg Goodman, Goodman Group, $27.34 million
4. Shemara Wikramanayake, Macquarie Group, $25.32 million
5. Mike Henry, BHP Group, $19.68 million
6. Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank, $10.52 million
7. Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto, $10.47 million
8. Rob Scott, Wesfarmers, $9.57 million
9. Ron Delia, Amcor, $9.33 million*
10. Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare, $8.35 million

Source: ACSI. Foreign-domiciled ASX 200 companies*

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