7 Takeaways from Berkshire Hathaway’s 2024 Annual Meeting

7 Takeaways from Berkshire Hathaway’s 2024 Annual Meeting

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway recently hosted its 2024 annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Your trusty BBAE team was on the ground and shot spades of video but I wanted to provide a written recap of my main takeaways from the meeting.

Berkshire Hathaway’s 2024 Annual Meeting

First, a quick (and possibly trick) question: What’s been the fastest-appreciating Berkshire Hathaway investment of all time? The answer is at the bottom. 

James’ 2024 Berkshire Hathaway meeting takeaways:

  1. The meeting will be a shadow of its former self without Buffett. This is more praise than ding. Charlie Munger was irreplaceable, and so is Warren Buffett. How do you replace the irreplaceable? You don’t.
  1. Relatedly, energy and private business head Greg Abel and insurance head Ajit Jain will never be able to get 45,000 people to Omaha. Begging. Anticipating. Rationalizing. You may have done these in some of your more strained relationships. I found myself doing them with Berkshire Hathaway’s lieutenants at the 2024 annual meeting – wanting them to be people they just weren’t.

Case in point: A polite but slightly combative question came from a Nevada woman awkwardly reading a script about why Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s operations in sunny Nevada didn’t use more solar.

Buffett handed off the question to Abel, who ran sideways with it, mumbling some unmemorable corporate-speak, before Buffett stepped in to salvage things with a Buffett-y zinger (paraphrased only slightly):

“We’d love to do more solar, but the sun doesn’t shine at night.”

Munger spoke in sound bytes. Buffett has his fair share. The others are corporate types. Not arena-filling personalities.

  1. Todd and Ted who? Co-CIOs-in-the-making Todd Combs and Ted Weschler were nowhere to be seen. Maybe they aren’t co-CIOs in the making anymore? One of my pet theories was that with Charlie Munger (sadly) no longer in attendance, more spotlight would be afforded to the lieutenants – who, perhaps like Charlie supposedly did, had been staying low key as to not outshine Messrs Buffett and Munger. Ergo, they might get a little incremental spotlight this year. In fact, after hearing Todd speak so intelligently on a podcast, I was becoming confident about this. 

Didn’t happen. In fact, the reverse seems to have happened: Todd and Ted were nowhere to be seen at the meeting.

  1. Greg Abel’s star got brighter. Instead, Buffett fingered Greg Abel – a business operator, and not a career investor, and definitely not a witty question answerer – as head of Berkshire’s capital allocation. Presumably, Abel will delegate to Todd and Ted on public equity picks, but it strikes me and other investors as curious that an operator was given so much strategic investing control instead of one or both investors. Backroom drama, anyone?
  1. Buffett discussed selling 13% of Berkshire’s Apple holdings – with Tim Cook in the audience. It was semi-awkward. And Buffett partially blamed potentially higher US tax rates coming soon, which was “sus” – to use the most popular slang word from last year – because Buffett isn’t one to let the tax tail wag the investment dog. His actions show that he seems to think Apple has gotten a bit rich. And I would be surprised if 13% is all he sells of Berkshire’s Apple holdings this year. (Apple incidentally, is nearly half of Berkshire’s public equity portfolio.)
  1. The mystery financial stock was not revealed. Berkshire has been buying some mysterious financial stock – mysterious both because the company has been granted special permission by the SEC to not disclose the name despite standard disclosure requirements, and because with interest rates set to fall and commercial real estate loans looking bad, it seems like a contrary-to-prevailing-wisdom time to buy financials. Some hoped for a big reveal at the meeting. No dice. 
Berkshire Hathaway

Or not. Image: CNBC.com

  1. Berkshire bought $2.7 billion in stock in the first quarter of 2024, and sold $20 billion. Being a net seller to the tune of $17.3 billion tells you how Warren Buffett is feeling about stock valuations generally.

This last point really subsumes many others.

But overall, even without Charlie, the Berkshire meeting was tremendously fun. The crowd seemed comparable to last year, and Omaha is bustling with value investing side events throughout the weekend – the biggest being the 2,500-person Markel brunch on Sunday. 

Markel’s annual meeting is next. Is Markel the next Berkshire?

Markel is often called a “Baby Berkshire” for being led by a famous investor (CEO Tom Gayner) and for being an investment conglomerate under the guise of an insurance company. Buffett became famous for investing Berkshire’s “float” – money paid in premiums that sits around waiting to be paid out as claims get filed – in stocks, rather than just in Treasuries, and Markel has followed suit.

Markel’s stock has largely outperformed Berkshire’s in recent years, and as a much smaller company, Markel presumably has more potential upside. Markel is similar to, yet much less known than Berkshire, so we’re happy to help you learn more about it. 

In fact, BBAE will be on the ground at Markel’s annual meeting in Richmond, Virginia next week, so stay tuned!

And what’s that fastest appreciating Berkshire investment?

If we take the liberty of including investments made at the Berkshire meeting, it’s very likely the Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Squishmallows. 

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger Squishmallows.

Selling for $10 a pop last year, they were quickly fetching $450 on eBay. 

This year, we tried to strike early on the Friday before the actual meeting, only to find they were already sold out of Buffetts. They said more would arrive the next day, but on Saturday they were sold out of both Buffett and Munger. We were able to score a Buffett off a friend (who bought 28 the next morning to auction for charity), but it appears that Squishmallow reselling is turning into a legitimate side hustle for some attendees.

Screenshot: eBay

This article is for informational purposes only and is neither investment advice nor a solicitation to buy or sell securities. All investment involves inherent risks, including the total loss of principal, and past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Always conduct thorough research or consult with a financial expert before making any investment decisions. James owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Apple. BBAE has no position in any investment mentioned.


BBAE CIO James plants the BBAE flag – or at least holds it up – on the summit of Black Elk Peak, the highest mountain in South Dakota, and within a day’s drive of Omaha as well. 

BBAE Investing Reimagined
Related Posts
BBAE Blueprint

Join BBAE: Unlock Up to $400 Bonus!

Tailored insights, powerful tools. Automatic bonus at signup.
Get Started with BBAE Now!