Markets

Buffett assails Wells Fargo, defends 3G at wide-ranging meeting

Buffett assails Wells Fargo, defends 3G at wide-ranging meeting

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway hosted its annual meeting on Saturday.

"If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we're ready to do it", he said.

"The 3G people do it very fast, and they're very good at making a business productive with fewer people", he said.

"They actually have to do something", Buffett said. In a March presentation, the firm said captial expenditure forecasts for the next two years have increased $4.6 billion from the prior year, primarily due to wind and solar energy projects.

"We agree with Mr. Buffett's comments and value Berkshire Hathaway as a long-term shareholder and customer", said Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk.

"They measured the seriousness of the problem by the dimensions of the fine and they thought it signaled a less offensive practice", he said.

Berkshire also owns the Burlington Northern railroad company.

Buffett often calls on the U.S. to do more to help the working class and has said the tax system is tilted to benefit rich people like him, a point he pressed on Saturday.




Warren Buffett blames the fraud scandal at Wells Fargo on a case of misplaced incentives, compounded by the "huge, huge error" of ignoring whistleblowers.

Shares of Bank of America closed Friday at $23.74.

"That is a different world than what existed in the past", he added, comparing the "capital-light" nature of Internet and cloud computing companies to the capital-intensive industrial and steel businesses that he invested in earlier in his career.

Bogle attended Berkshire's meeting Saturday after Buffett praised him in his annual letter to shareholders this year.

Buffett's remarks came a day after thousands of documents were released online targeting French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, before the second round of voting on Sunday. But he still didn't buy the stock. Buffett joked that if Bogle holds out for just a couple more years, he'll be old enough to qualify for an executive job at Berkshire.

Buffett also challenged, as he has in previous shareholder meetings, the 2-and-20 compensation model for hedge fund managers.

Buffett's business partner and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger regrets that decision even more. At the meeting, Buffett disclosed that, as Kraft Heinz worked on its now-dead takeover bid for the consumer products giant Unilever, Berkshire was prepared to invest $15 billion in the potential deal.

Shareholder Jerry Meyer said the exhibits are a neat way to learn about Berkshire and boost investor enthusiasm.


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