Segment of an interview by CNBC:
Melissa Lee (CNBC): Mr. Buffett, if I can just jump in. It's Melissa Lee. I'm just curious. Have you been approached by a major financial institution in terms of whether or not you would be interested in buying a stake?
Buffett: Yeah. Yeah.
Melissa: You have been? You turned them down?
Buffett: They sometimes do it indirectly because they don't like to hear 'no' directly. (Laughter)
The reason Buffett gave for not investing in the financials was:
Buffett: No, I mean, there have been some mistakes made in banking. As (CEO) John Stumpf of Wells Fargo said, he said, 'I don't know why the banks had to find new ways to lose money when the old ones were working so well.' And they managed to do so. And you don't get all those, you don't get all the problems behind you in a short period of time. So I would say that there are a number of banks that may do as well or better than they did in 2007, because they already started getting hit then. But, there were some sources of income that were kind-of illusionary but nevertheless got reported as income over the last few years. They won't have those. They'll have the clean-up of those. So it's certainly possible some of the big banks aren't going to hit their highs on earnings for a few years.
Oh Warren Buffett is such a whimpy indecisive investor. He failed to spot the value that our GIC & Temasek saw in UBS and Merrill Lynch. You can tell from what he said that he is also not as far sighted as the people running our GIC and Temasek. I guess Ho Ching must have picked up investing skills more advanced than Buffett to be able to see so much value in these trouble entities.
Warren Buffett has been beaten by GIC & Temasek to these deals. As Singaporeans, we should feel very proud of this.
Here's a Singaporean who appreciate what has been accomplished by our very own GIC & Temasek. (click on image it to read).