Today I attended the annual meeting of Leucadia National Corporation, and again Ben Claremon produced awesome notes.
I was intrigued by how strongly Cumming and Steinberg rued their failed program of investing in outside managers, which they're currently working hard to undo. Their basic mistake, they said, was thinking other people were smarter than they were and giving them money.
It's amazing that the Leucadia guys, who've had success over the years identifying operating managers for their various ventures, and who are great investment managers themselves, nontheless failed at identifying outside investment managers. It's further evidence for the proposition that skill at investing and skill at investing in investors are two separate things.
Ironically, the best investors in investors in the room today were the old-time Leucadia shareholders (you could tell who they were), who long ago gave money to people they thought were smarter than themselves, and turned out to be very right, and very rich.