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2014 Fairfax AGM Week & Events


Parsad
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Hi Folks,

 

I'm pretty much recovered from the flu now, so I thought I would finally give a synopsis of this year's events.  It was quite a stellar week (or 3 days essentially) and all I heard were rave reviews from everyone on virtually all of the events.

 

The week started with "The Ben Graham Dinner" hosted by Norm on Monday night at Joe Badali's.  We had about 50-55 people or so attend, and Fairfax was generous enough to send a bunch of gift bags and gift cards ahead of time for all of the attendees, so that they had an extra couple of days to use them.  Everyone finally met Gio...the man everyone was waiting to meet in person!  All I kept being asked during the various events is "Where is Gio?  Which one is he?"  Sorry they were all boardmembers and guys Gio...we'll get you a couple of nice ladies next year!

 

Dr. George Athanssakos' Ivey Value Investing Conference on Tuesday morning was a big hit this year.  A lot of people told me the speakers were great this year, especially Wilbur Ross!  From what I hear, Ivey won the stock-picking contest the day before as well!

 

Norm's Pre-Dinner Gathering was quite packed again in the York Station Bar.  This year, Francis surprised the attendees with Brian Bradstreet and Mohnish Pabrai.  Although Mohnish had to leave shortly thereafter for his daily nap!  The man has a routine...don't fu*k it up!  ;D 

 

The attendees unfortunately did not spend the minimum $500 at the bar, so unfortunately I was stuck with a $250 bill at the end.  We are going to open up the Fairfax Financial Shareholder's Dinner from 3pm on next year, so the Pre-Dinner Gathering will actually end up being in the same room as the Dinner from 3-6pm and the dinner from 6pm on.  That way, we'll have plenty of space plus the cash bar over there will easily meet its quota for the hotel.

 

The 2014 Fairfax Financial Shareholder's Dinner was a rousing success again!  We had about 150 people in attendance, and raised $19,358, with $2,536 coming from Templeton book and Fairfax Brasil soccer jersey sales at the Fairfax AGM.  Prem told me he is meeting the difference and getting us to $20,000 exactly for Crohn's & Colitis Canada (CCC) in memory of JoAnn!  Thanks very much to all of you, including the silent auction donors, Templeton Foundation and Fairfax!  We had some very interesting silent auction items this year including two boardmembers winning a bid on a Lunch or Dinner With Bob Robotti of Robotti & Company!

 

We had four terrific speakers this year: 

 

- First, Mark Ram, formerly of Northbridge and now a National Director with CCC, had a very emotional and stirring speech about how the disease has affected his family and forced him to do everything he can to find a cure! 

- Second, we had Craig Graham speak bluntly about his time and efforts as CEO of Rainmaker Entertainment.  Some of the best one-liners and observations about business came from Craig's speech.  I think the crowd was very taken with Craig...amazing individual! 

- Then we had Andrew Berger and Dave Polonitza from AB Value Management LLC speak about their holding Mastech...very expansive and detailed.  I don't think we had enough time for them!  Also would like to thank AB Value Management for donating the photographer for the evening.  Very generous and I'll share the pictures on here once ready!

- Lastly, we had Bob Robotti speak.  He gave a terrific, detailed explanation of what value investing is and how it is applied by him when searching for ideas.  Unfortunately, Bob's slideshow had not arrived, but I received a copy and I'll put it on here in a separate post!

 

After a short break, Prem arrived with about 10-12 executives.  Going from memory...hopefully I don't miss any...we had Richie Boucher, Paul Rivett, Sam Mitchell, David Aisenstat, Peter Furlan, Madhaven Menon, Anne Stevenston-Yang, Francis Chou, Ramaswamy Athappan and George Chryssikos up on the head table, as well as a number in the back of the house and spread throughout the room!  Thanks very much to Fairfax's team for taking the time to attend and answer questions.  Prem left after about half an hour.  The rest of the team stayed for about another hour and a half.  Paul Rivett left around 11:45pm and Francis escaped by midnight this year!  Amazing people...love them!  My heartfelt thanks to Rea and Courtney from the CCC, who volunteered their time and efforts this year for the dinner.  It would not have worked out so well without them!

 

The next day was the main event...The Fairfax Financial Annual General Meeting!  Crowds were huge this year...1,255 people in total.  The bottom levels were full this year at Roy Thomson Hall and people had to go to the mezzanine level.  Lots of booths and terrific takeaways for shareholders.  One of the big hits was a personal manicure set from one of the Fairfax companies, as well as plenty of gift cards to Cara Restaurants, The Keg, William Ashley and Sportinglife!  Tons of food for shareholders as well, all prepared in front of them by a battalion of Fairfax restaurant company chefs!  Prem had a wonderful presentation as usual, and for those that say to ignore the macro...based on the slides shown, just like before the Financial Crisis of 2008...it's so hard to ignore!  Unfortunately, I missed the Q&A, as I had to man the Templeton book table.  We had some Fairfax Brasil World Cup jerseys that were a huge hit that Fairfax had donated to raise money for CCC...they went like hotcakes!  Again, for anyone attending, it was a fantastic AGM with Prem mingling and trying to greet everyone during the cocktail!  He would be the perfect Berkshire CEO!

 

MPIC Funds AGM went quite well this year too!  We had about 65 people attend and the room was jam-packed.  I brought some Russell Breweries t-shirts to hand out, and they disappeared in seconds!  I wasn't feeling particularly well, and we turned the meeting more into a Q&A.  Very pleased by the attendance and it was a pleasure meeting everyone!

 

Thanks very much for making this such a successful three days of value investing!  We've got something very special here and I really enjoy putting it together.  Truly my honor and privilege, and I'm glad the events have a three-fold effect...attention to Value Investing and Fairfax...attention to Corner of Berkshire & Fairfax boardmembers...and attention to Crohn's & Colitis Canada!  Thanks once again!

 

Sanjeev

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Thanks again for everything you do surrounding the annual meeting each year Sanjeev!  You are truly responsible for a lot of what makes it such a worthwhile experience.

 

I apologize for only ordering iced tea at Norm's event.  Please let me know where to PayPal you and I would be happy to help defray the cost of the tab.

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Thanks again for everything you do surrounding the annual meeting each year Sanjeev!  You are truly responsible for a lot of what makes it such a worthwhile experience.

 

I apologize for only ordering iced tea at Norm's event.  Please let me know where to PayPal you and I would be happy to help defray the cost of the tab.

 

No, no...don't worry about that at all.  I consider that a donation from my part!  But it is also a reason to combine the pre-dinner event with the actual dinner.  Cheers!

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You should have followed SD's example with buying fine wine at a discount and bought $250 Scotch for zero net cost!

 

I look forward to the day you hold an event in Vancouver. Every year I get jealous of the great event I am missing.

 

I wonder if they would have let me buy a bottle?  If so, I should have done that!  Cheers!

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Everyone finally met Gio...the man everyone was waiting to meet in person!  All I kept being asked during the various events is "Where is Gio?  Which one is he?"  Sorry they were all boardmembers and guys Gio...we'll get you a couple of nice ladies next year!

 

;D ;D ;D

 

Sanjeev,

You know those gorgeous models hired by The Keg? When one of them handed me the gift card with $25 bucks for free, I didn’t have the readiness to address her this way: “Wow! Now that I have $25 bucks for free, I must surely offer you a dinner!!” … I would have made Kraven proud of me, but I miserably failed the test … I tortured myself for days after the meeting! ::)

 

Cheers,

 

Gio

 

PS

Truth be told, I am dating Ginevra right now, and she is gorgeous too! ;)

 

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Again, for anyone attending, it was a fantastic AGM with Prem mingling and trying to greet everyone during the cocktail! He would be the perfect Berkshire CEO!

 

No!!!! Please … I know you are joking, but I am a bit touchy about such a thing right now … After Mr. Brindle’s departure from LRE, if Mr. Watsa were to leave FFH too … I guess I would start playing golf and devoting the rest of my life to that wonderful sport!! ;D ;D

 

Gio

 

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Everyone finally met Gio...the man everyone was waiting to meet in person!  All I kept being asked during the various events is "Where is Gio?  Which one is he?"  Sorry they were all boardmembers and guys Gio...we'll get you a couple of nice ladies next year!

 

;D ;D ;D

 

Sanjeev,

You know those gorgeous models hired by The Keg? When one of them handed me the gift card with $25 bucks for free, I didn’t have the readiness to address her this way: “Wow! Now that I have $25 bucks for free, I must surely offer you a dinner!!” … I would have made Kraven proud of me, but I miserably failed the test … I tortured me for days after the meeting! ::)

 

Cheers,

 

Gio

 

PS

Truth be told, I am dating Ginevra right now, and she is gorgeous too! ;)

 

Say that you at least winked.

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One regret I have is I was not able to meet with Kraven … Hey, my friend, where were you?

 

Cheers,

 

Gio

 

I was there and was sorry not to meet up. Next year for sure, my friend. I will wear a light blue polyester tux with ruffles on it so you can find me.

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