Belfast Telegraph

Buffet trading places as he unveils $3.2bn profit

By Stephen Foley

Warren Buffett joked that his secretary has become more famous and important than he is, at his annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, as he strayed from investments and into politics.

After years of pointing out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, the investment legend has become a lightning rod for Democrats pushing for higher taxes on the rich. President Barack Obama invited Mr Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek, to the State of the Union address this year, when he unveiled the "Buffett Rule" tax plan.

The almost 40,000 shareholders who converged on the CenturyLink convention centre were treated to a comic video in which Mr Buffett is forced to answer the phones at Berkshire Hathaway, his giant conglomerate, while Ms Bosanek plans TV appearances and pontificates on the state of the world economy.

The comedic role reversal was short-lived, as shareholders at the annual meeting, known as the Woodstock of Capitalism, peppered Mr Buffett and vice-chairman Charlie Munger with questions on the investment landscape. Late on Friday, the conglomerate said it made a profit of $3.2bn, more than double the same period last year, when its insurance businesses had been hit by the costs of the Japanese tsunami.