We’re currently in the midst of companies releasing their Q2 2018 shareholder letters. During these times one of the questions we often get asked is, which are the best shareholder letters for investors to read? Some of the letters we recommend investors read include:
- Warren Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway
- Howard Marks – Oaktree Capital Memos
- Seth Klarman – The Baupost Group
- Jamie Dimon – JPMorgan Chase
- Prem Watsa – Fairfax Financial
- Dan Loeb – Third Point Management
- Jeremy Grantham – GMO
Plus, there’s one other shareholder letter that we recommend investors read from Tom Gayner and the team at Markel Corp. One example is their 2016 letter which illustrates what makes their letters great. While providing all of the necessary information required by shareholders, they also manage to have some fun.
Here’s an except from that letter:
As Bruce Springsteen wrote in his recent autobiography, “Rock and roll bands that last have to come to one basic human realization. It is: the guy standing next to you is more important than you think he is. And that man or woman must come to the same realization about the man or woman standing next to him or her, about you. Or everyone must be broke, living far beyond their means and in need of hard currency. Or: both.”
Vince Lombardi, pointed to the same sort of thing when he said, “Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
We mean to continue to build Markel (read Green Bay Packers or E Street band, whatever you prefer) into one of the world’s great companies and we mean it to last. We’ve successfully sustained and grown this business through 3 generations of family leadership and now our first generation of non-family management.
We’ve done that by following the Springsteen principle of understanding that the people next to us in this organization are more important than we think they are and in Lombardi fashion, we as individuals pour ourselves out completely in order to be worthy of mutual respect from others. This “band” of Markel includes all of our associates as well as our customers, channel partners, communities, and shareholders.
The challenges of the future (and there are always challenges) involve technology, speed, and hyper competition. Those factors will never go away. In fact they will probably accelerate and intensify as time goes by. That said, our secret weapon will continue to be the humane trust and interconnectedness that allows each of us to operate as a group that will accomplish far more than what we could as individuals.
Our long term financial performance reflects the underlying reality of personal relationships and business excellence that motivate us to continue to dedicate ourselves to each other.
Thank you for your longstanding support and partnership of this unique organization. We look forward to the years to come.
You can find a copy of the 2016 shareholder letter here.
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