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Charlie Munger’s Enduring Legacy Among Nordic Investors

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Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – Charlie Munger will leave a legacy; his wit and wisdom will resonate across generations of investors, continuing to influence and benefit them, just as it has in the past. Beyond being a mentor, closest business partner and longtime friend to Warren Buffett, Munger has played a role in shaping the perspectives of numerous money managers in the Nordic region.

“Charlie has been a really big idol for me, as well as for many other people,” agrees Aalborg-based portfolio manager Andreas Aaen of Symmetry Invest. Munger has built a vast repository of investing lessons, quotes, tips and pieces of wisdom that other investors have embraced in different parts of their investment approaches. Aaen underscores one of Munger’s key teachings of being able to look long-term and understand deferred gratification. “And it’s also about just not doing stupid things; then, basically, the rest will take of itself,” according to Aaen. “This is something we have also learned over the years at Symmetry,” says Aaen. “It’s not going after the home runs in investing that makes you rich, it’s just avoiding losers, and then everything else takes care of itself.”

“It’s waiting that helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.”

Andreas Aaen’s favourite quote from Munger

For Finnish portfolio manager Ernst Grönblom, Charlie Munger has been a guiding light and an example before entering the investment arena. “Charlie Munger changed my life! Twice!,” says Grönblom. After giving up on his dream of a career in investments after reading too much financial theory that preached “all active investment must be a fool’s errand,” it was Charlie’s texts that “finally convinced me that markets are not perfectly efficient and that a career in investments might not be a waste of time after all,” recalls Grönblom. Charlie Munger also encouraged Grönblom to transition his career from law to investing. “Career switchers are often met with deep suspicion, and a lawyer that dreams of switching to investments is quickly labelled a failed lawyer,” says Grönblom. “Realizing that Charlie, arguably the second-best investor in the world (after Warren), had started his career as a lawyer and switched to investments gave me the fortitude to ignore the nay-sayers and dare the jump!,” according to Grönblom. “If it wasn’t for Charlie, I would probably still be slaving for billable legal hours, waiting for death or retirement…Thanks Charlie! I owe you one! (Or actually two).”

“A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price.”

Jonathan Copplestone’s favourite quote from Munger

Mikael Petersson, a portfolio manager based in Malmö, praises Munger for his sharpness, directness, and phenomenal insights, even in his advanced age. “He has for sure given me and many other people lots of inspiration. Absolutely phenomenal,” says Petersson. As an attendee of one of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual general meetings in Omaha, “I enjoyed listening to the annual meeting, where Munger sat for five hours spreading oceans of wisdom to everybody,” recalls Petersson. “The big money is not in buying the selling, but in the waiting,” is one of the quotes that influenced Petersson’s investment philosophy. “It’s amazing how intelligent it is just to spend some time sitting. A lot of people are way too active,” is another guiding quote for Petersson.

“There’s only one way to the top: hard work.”

Mikael Petersson’s favourite quote from Munger

“Charlie Munger has inspired many, including the quick-thinking and stubborn Oracle of Omaha,” highlights Stefan Roos of Origo Fonder. “And that alone says something.” Munger persuaded Warren Buffett to embrace a different approach to investing, resulting in a shift “from “Everything Deep Value” to “Focused Quality” even though Warren’s value-focused approach already had super nice performance and lots of fans,” reminds Roos. “Munger was an incredibly interesting person. Besides the fact that he was an extremely skilled investor, I find it interesting how he often reasoned,” adds Roos. “He weighed the pros and cons in an elegant way and always tried to keep his eyes on the horizon so as not to be affected by the noise. His analytical ability was something very special, and he often chose to count low to avoid unpleasant surprises.”

“Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.”

One of Staffan Östlin’s favourite quotes from Munger

Staffan Östlin acknowledges the impact of Charlie Munger’s wisdom on his investment approach. “When you know you have an edge, you should bet heavily. They don’t teach most people that in business school,” once said Munger. To Östlin, this reminds him of what Stan Druckenmiller, another of his heroes, has said. “Soros has taught me that when you have tremendous conviction in a trade, you have to go for the jugular. It takes courage to be a pig. It takes courage to ride a profit with huge leverage.” Östlin emphasizes that his “investment philosophy is based on high conviction. Having a big position with high conviction makes me sleep good at night.”

“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.”

Johan Bynelius’s favourite quote from Munger

Johan Bynelius of Fair Investments in Stockholm says “Charlie Munger didn’t just teach me how to invest. He taught me how to think.” Having attended six of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings to listen to Munger’s wisdom, Bynelius notes, “I have seen and read everything that is publicly published by him. I don’t think there is anyone who’s been more of a mentor to me than Charlie.” According to Bynelius, “If you haven’t had Charlie as a mentor, there’s still a chance. Don’t miss it. He is still there for me in everything he has written and published.”

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Eugeniu Guzun
Eugeniu Guzun
Eugeniu Guzun serves as a data analyst responsible for maintaining and gatekeeping the Nordic Hedge Index, and as a journalist covering the Nordic hedge fund industry for HedgeNordic. Eugeniu completed his Master’s degree at the Stockholm School of Economics in 2018. Write to Eugeniu Guzun at eugene@hedgenordic.com

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