Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has accused Wall Street of promoting speculative behavior in the stock market, effectively turning one of America’s largest financial institutions into a “gambling parlor.”
On Saturday, 91-year-old Buffett spoke at his firm’s annual shareholder meeting and slammed investment banks and brokerages as “wild beasts that must be tamed.” CNBC reported that the major targets of his remarks were investment banks and brokerages.
“Wall Street makes money no matter what, catching the crumbs of capitalism. They do not make any money unless people do things; they get a piece of it. When individuals gamble, they make significantly more money than when they invest.”
According to Buffett, American businesses have evolved into “poker chips” for market speculation, owing to the substantial rise in call options since dealers profit more from employing them instead of basic investing methods.
Buffett went on to suggest that the current situation may lead to market dislocations, which would ultimately benefit Berkshire Hathaway by providing them new possibilities. Buffett said his firm poured $41 billion of cash into stocks in the first three months of 2022.
“Markets do crazy things, and Berkshire occasionally gets a chance to do something,” Buffett added.
It’s almost like a mania of speculation, according to Charlie Munger, Buffett’s 98-year-old partner and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman.
“We have individuals who know nothing about stocks being advised by stockbrokers that know even less,” Munger said. “It’s a fascinating and remarkable situation. I don’t believe any wise nation would want this to happen. Why would you want your country’s stock to trade in a gambling establishment?”
The two executives targeted the apparent overabundance of retail traders, many of whom had acquired their first experience in the stock market during the early phases of the COVID-19 epidemic, when prices rose. Their spending frenzy was accompanied by meme-inspired purchasing trends observed on Reddit and other internet discussion forums.
However, as the stock market is presently standing many individuals in the red with a dramatic downturn, it appears that these investors’ beginner’s luck has run out. So far in 2022, the Nasdaq Composite index has dropped 21%, the S&P 500 fell by 13%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 9%.