4 Things to Know About Warren Buffett’s 29-Year-Old Adviser

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Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortunelivemedia/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortunelivemedia/

On the surface, the over-arching strategy of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA)(NYSE:BRKB) — the $427 billion multinational holding company run by Chairman, President, and CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger — is pretty straightforward: Buy great companies (or stakes of those companies) at good prices. The value investing paradigm, first championed by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd at the Columbia Business School, which Buffett attended, saturates the company’s decision-making process.

The philosophy and process has served as an elegant weapon to help civilize investing. Berkshire Hathaway boasts a compounded annual gain of 19.7 percent since 1965, compared to 9.4 percent for the S&P 500 over the same period. Far from achieving these returns through the kind of dubious stopgap investment tactics used by people like Jordan Belfort — the former stockbroker whose story was used for the recent film  The Wolf of Wall Street – Berkshire has effectively achieved the Holy Grail of investing: high returns with low risk, maintained over a long period of time.

But the nuances of the process at Berkshire are, in reality, somewhat mysterious. Like the businesses it acquires, much of its success hinges on the people. Buffett, Munger, and Berkshire’s other principals have earned themselves legendary reputations, but the guard inevitably changes.

One of the rising stars — perhaps the rising star — at Berkshire right now is a 29-year-old woman named Tracy Britt Cool. Buffett hired her right out of Harvard Business School, and over the course of five years, she has become one of the most interesting and increasingly important people in the business world. Here are a few things to know about Cool.

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