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Can you buy Berkshire Hathaway shares directly from the company?


Aberhound
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I did not see this option on the owners manual and I remember we used to be able to order the street form of certificates. This would be a great service for Berkshire to offer to better protect us all from derivative and other risks arising from leverage used by brokerages. I want to own shares directly on the company's share register without any middle man. I do not want to own any shares held at brokerages while we await the monetary crisis combined with a financial crisis as central banks transition to central bank digital currencies.

 

Has anyone done this or do many have the same thoughts?

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Well, in the shareholder letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, included in the 2019 Berkshire Annual Report, I find the following on p. 14 [mentioned by gfp earlier here on CoBF]:

 

Shareholders having at least $20 million in value of A or B shares and an inclination to sell shares to Berkshire may wish to have their broker contact Berkshire’s Mark Millard at 402-346-1400. We request that you phone Mark between 8:00-8:30 a.m. or 3:00-3:30 p.m. Central Time, calling only if you are ready to sell.

 

So, I assume, no trading desk available at Berkshire, for buyers.

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Basically any brokerage should be able to register the shares in your name. There would be a fee.

We did that ages ago.  Shares were bought and then registered with certificates being couriered to us by Wells Fargo who is the trustee.  They were held as collateral for a collaterialized loan that we put in place.  The value of the shares dwarfed the initial loan amount after a few years.

 

If you hold shares that split, then the trustee has to mail out new certificates.  The banks get a bit jumpy as the collateral suddenly goes down by the factor of the split.  One time, we were away for the weekend and Purolator helpfully left $250K in share certificates under our front doormat late on Friday afternoon.  Sunday night when we returned home, there they were...heartstopper!

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Basically any brokerage should be able to register the shares in your name. There would be a fee.

We did that ages ago.  Shares were bought and then registered with certificates being couriered to us by Wells Fargo who is the trustee.  They were held as collateral for a collaterialized loan that we put in place.  The value of the shares dwarfed the initial loan amount after a few years.

 

If you hold shares that split, then the trustee has to mail out new certificates.  The banks get a bit jumpy as the collateral suddenly goes down by the factor of the split.  One time, we were away for the weekend and Purolator helpfully left $250K in share certificates under our front doormat late on Friday afternoon.  Sunday night when we returned home, there they were...heartstopper!

 

Would the stolen certificates not be worthless or are they not numbered in anyway like bearer bonds?

 

Were you able to get favorable terms on a loan using the shares as collateral? Was it with a mainstream lender?

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Basically any brokerage should be able to register the shares in your name. There would be a fee.

We did that ages ago.  Shares were bought and then registered with certificates being couriered to us by Wells Fargo who is the trustee.  They were held as collateral for a collaterialized loan that we put in place.  The value of the shares dwarfed the initial loan amount after a few years.

 

If you hold shares that split, then the trustee has to mail out new certificates.  The banks get a bit jumpy as the collateral suddenly goes down by the factor of the split.  One time, we were away for the weekend and Purolator helpfully left $250K in share certificates under our front doormat late on Friday afternoon.  Sunday night when we returned home, there they were...heartstopper!

 

Would the stolen certificates not be worthless or are they not numbered in anyway like bearer bonds?

 

Were you able to get favorable terms on a loan using the shares as collateral? Was it with a mainstream lender?

So, yes, they are numbered and electronically registered, but it's a good story to tell after a couple of drinks.  There's a narrow case where a forged signature can 'transfer' the shares between owners, so best not to let them wander too far.  On the back of the certificates, there is wording for conducting a sale or transfer.

 

For the collateral, it depends on the lender.  If I recall, the rate was prime or prime+1% and the borrowable amount was 50% which kept climbing as the bank did an annual revaluation of the collateralized shares.  Most banks discourage it because of the handling costs (vault storage, tracking, etc), but you may still be able to find a lender willing to do it.  We used blue-chip stocks and kept the actual borrowings at low levels.  It could be a useful low-cost way to raise tax-free funds when the amounts are substantial and let the heirs figure it out later.

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