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Earthquake Fallout: All good except the mail!

 

After the big earthquake by Kaikoura very early in the morning of Monday November 14th the office was closed for two days while the building was checked and cleared. We are all back at work and no damage was sustained.

The one big issue we are having is that our mail service has been interrupted. A Molesworth Street building is at risk of collapse and our Post Office Box is within the cordon.

We believe we have all the mail that was already in the mailbox, but there may have been other mail already delivered by bag to be sorted at Thorndon for collection Monday morning.

All other mail has been redirected by NZ Post to their Kaiwharawara courier depot, and we are arranging to collect it from there "regularly". This arrangement has only really surfaced today, Tuesday 22 November, and we only collected five pieces of mail.

Unfortunately we are in the last stages of the GST refund cycle and one or two large cheques have been caught up in the disruption. We have diverted our IRD mail to another mailbox until our usual mailbox is once again open for service.

We are sorry that this problem has occurred, and will be pleased to work with you if you have any specific issues around it.

At the same time we need to keep the issues in perspective and wish all our clients, friends and relative in the quake stricken area best wishes with their issues.

Warren Buffet on Managing Your Money

 

If there was one guy in the world you would be happy to take financial advice from it would have to be Warren Buffet. Warren's nickname is the Sage of Omaha, and he is certainly one of the richest men in the world. Happily Warren is also very generous with his advice.

I'd like to pass on Warren's advice on managing your money.

Most of you will know I had the privilege of going to see the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting last year. Watching Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger speak off the cuff for four or five hours on a range of topics presented to them was a joy. Equally the group from the Wellington Branch of the Shareholders Association were great fun to travel with.

This year Warren put his AGM on the internet with a live broadcast on yahoo finance so we didn't need to travel to see him. We did enjoy travelling as a group though and may go somewhere "financial" again next year. This year's AGM was live and remains available for replay.  A few of last year's travellers watched this year's AGM from the comfort of our respective lounges while sharing a skype call. We chose the replay to avoid being up all night. It certainly wasn't the whole Omaha CenturyLink Centre experience but we could talk to each other more during the presentation.

Warren was full of advice and observations on a range of topics and included a big spiel on managing your money. The URL for the Yahoo finance replay is https://finance.yahoo.com/brklivestream/ and Warrens advice on managing your money starts at 2 hours 42 minutes. Click along the time bar to the correct hours and minutes to watch what he says. It could be the best 13 minutes of investment advice you ever get. I personally guarantee it is worth every cent you have paid for it.

If you think we can help you better manage your business please give us a call.

I've attached the screenshot from www.longbets.org that Warren presents during his advice.


If you enjoyed that I made some rough notes as I watched around a few other topics, feel free to road test the references if any of the topics appeal to you.

BRK AGM Index

Time index

Subject found there.

0.00

CNBC likelihood Cyber, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical

0:54

Happy in life, best self employed

1.08

Barbershop $1m guarantee re storm

1.15

Tell me about coke and sugar…

1.28

Socialisation of the costs of solar power… and cross border price differences

1:32

Derivatives, dangerous…

1:40

Question on float… in a low interest rate environment, a quarter of a percent is about the same if positive or negative.

1:44

Q on railways and exposure to economic growth… Coal secular, stocking issues, loves BNSF, would buy a second thing at that price… maybe for more…

1:47

At 44 seconds, I got nothing to add…

1:57

Solar power, and cross subsidies

2.02

Effect of Oil price drop…

2.04

Question around higher education

2.24

Defensive pills for BRK?

2:28

On leasing…

2:36

On the Sequoia Fund

Note great quote on "integrity intelligence and energetic"

If they don't have the first one hope they don't have the other two… Valiant Fund

 

 

2:42

Fund Managers: The Protégé Partners Wager Results

Listen to the money management advice from 2:42

What I would like you to do is imagine that in this room we have the entire who own all of America, all the stocks in America are owned by this group…. Catch the rest of this quote…

4.14

Buybacks

4:40

Personal 13G

4:45

Conflict of interest

4:50

The outlook for free cashflow Net income plus incr in float…

4:58

Due Diligence

5.15

 

5:15

Purchase of Van Tile…

5:30

AMEX forecasts…

5:45

Positive Train Control

6:00

"Reported Earnings"

6:01

Fixed income and Credit Default Swaps…

6:05

The worth of Ajit…

6:15

Amount of cash held…

6:30

Rerun of buybacks


 

Great Lengths of Customer Service

 

We pride ourselves in being prepared to go to great lengths to help our clients.

We also like to think we work with the best technology to keep things simple.

We also like to do the right things for long term positive outcomes.

We were reflecting on something we did recently and thought it reflects well on how easy it is to do business in New Zealand…

 

Our client is in a country where they are not able to get an international fax line. We don't know why that is, and it wasn't within our grasp to solve their problem by changing things at their end.

They are quietly getting their new New Zealand banking arrangements underway and were at a stage where they were relying on faxed instructions. These would then be followed up by a phone call from the Bank. No, we weren't involved in setting that up.

We were asked if we could help by receiving the clients faxes and sending them on to the bank in question. We know and trust our client and happily ruled out that this might be a scam.

When we set the new office up recently we went totally VOIP and Cell and there is no fax machine / fax line in the office. We did however put in a fax service with the VOIP provider where they catch the faxes and email a file to us. We suspect that at the price this is all electronic and there is no manual intervention. We used to have a fax card bolted to our server, back in the day when we had a server.

So how could we help?  That fell into three parts:

1.       How could we help, if at all? and,

2.       How could we help in a way that took us out of the rather lengthy manual chain.

3.       How could we talk them around to a better business process in the longer term.

After a quick team discussion Zach leapt into action and asked our VOIP guys, 2talk, about an outwards fax service, something we hadn't bothered with to date.  No problem, send an email with specific headers and an attached file and the image would be faxed onwards. Only "our" registered email addresses would work for this.

Zach carefully set up and then tested this outward fax. Zach was very pleased with himself although when pushed he did agree we had basically found a difficult way to get an image from us to us, slowly and with image degradation.

Ok, we can help at all, step one passed.

How can we make this really work for the client? We added their addresses to our "VOIP" account and then they were able to use the service directly and have their emails converted into faxes delivered to NZ.

So that was two out of three and not bad. We all felt pretty good about getting a strange set of constraints solved and a customer solution implemented.

The overall difficulty of their banking arrangements wasn't lost on us and we are now working on the third part of the equation, getting the client on to Xero, and then having a bank that interfaces to Xero nicely. Won't the client reflect back on today as the bad old days once they can load their bills directly to Xero, attach the invoices as a PDF, batch pay them in Xero, and log on to their Kiwibank internet banking to approve the payments without fiddling with a file. Are the other banks there yet?

Experiences like this remind you that doing business in New Zealand really is easy. Always happy to help! Thanks too to Martin and Bill for their guidance and help with our VOIP setup.




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