Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, is the most followed investor in the world. Every year, thousands of investors and shareholders flock to the board of the company he chairs, Berkshire Hathaway. And every time he makes a move, the market looks at him closely. This Monday, in the midst of the storm that is hitting the markets, Buffett has recounted his latest movements before the supervisor. There are several, but one stands out above all: Buffett leaves Wells Fargo and arrives at Citigroup. The investor is also a prominent shareholder of Bank of America.
It is not just any step. Berkshire Hathaway had resisted for three decades against all odds in the ownership of Wells Fargo. He didn’t even abandon ship when some customer abuse scandals rocked the entity in 2016. That’s why that change of horse takes on additional symbolism. Wells Fargo continues to drag some problems from past scandals and its current boss, Charlie Scharf, is considering selling part of the business. The entity accumulates a fall of 12% on the stock market this year.
The entity is based in San Francisco, but Scharf had decided to run it from New York, a decision that the vice president of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett’s main business partner, Charlie Munger, had described as “scandalous”. Buffett, in fact, had already been reducing his stake in the company for some time. His main financial bets are Bank of America in commercial banking and American Express in means of payment.
buffett has communicated his movements to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC), the supervisory agency based in Washington. Bloomberg has counted those movements. Buffett has invested about $2.9 billion in Citigroup, the world’s largest bank run by a woman, Jane Frasier.
Among the rest of the movements that had not yet transpired, the 2,600 million dollars of investment in Paramount, the 390 million in Ally Financial (a car finance company, a competitor of Santander) and minor participations in the health company McKesson, in the insurance company Markel and in Celanese chemistry. He also raises his positions at General Motors and the RH furniture company.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
In a very active quarter for which some movements had already been anticipated, Berkshire Hathaway reduced its participation in Verizon to a minimum and said goodbye to Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie.
The document registered with the SEC confirms Buffett’s bets on Activision, HP, Chevron and Occidental, already advanced at the shareholders’ meeting.