As the investment world mourns the passing of Charlie Munger, Burgundy’s Co-Founder Richard Rooney pays tribute to the business titan.
The portrait featured of Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett can be found in Burgundy’s office in Toronto. It was created using individual employee fingerprints at an offsite gathering in 2017.
Charlie Munger died yesterday.
It’s odd to be surprised that a 99-year-old should pass, but for us, his admirers, there was always a powerful desire that he might always be up on that stage in Omaha, a bespectacled Buddha next to the professorial Warren Buffett, either growling “nothing to add” when Buffett finished a crystalline explanation or dealing out a perfectly appropriate (and usually barbed) comment on a subject that had piqued his interest.
Alas, it cannot be, except in our memories. But it’s hard to picture the scene without him.
Munger was credited by Buffett as the colleague who completed his investment philosophy, and that seems credible. The eventual combination of concentrated positions, detailed knowledge of the economics of a business, careful assessment of management, and long holding periods (“preferably forever”) was a potent one for long-term returns. And he was at least as good as Buffett at explaining it to the public.
The deference and respect Buffett showed Munger was always on display at Omaha, and even Buffett’s occasional jibes about his partner’s crusty nature seemed designed to build Munger’s legend.
Munger got a great deal of joy from investing and as anyone who has found a true, symbiotic investment partnership can attest, investing is twice the fun when that exists. He never lost his sense of proportion though, musing once that he was the prisoner of his talents and encouraging young people to enter occupations other than investing.
With his death, humanity as a whole is a little less wise, and a little less humorous. Charlie Munger once said the only thing he really wanted to know was where he was going to die, so he could avoid going there.
We are sorry you went there, Charlie, but sooner or later we all do.
Thanks for everything. Rest in peace.
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