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By Jeremy Glaser and Greggory Warren, CFA | 04-28-2014 03:00 PM

Burning Questions for Buffett

Coke's compensation package and Berkshire's new specialty insurance business are just some of the topics that will come up at this year's Woodstock for Capitalists.

Jeremy Glaser: For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. At this year's Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, our analyst Gregg Warren will be on a panel asking questions to Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. I'm here with him today to talk about some big topics that he thinks are going to be discussed.

Gregg, thanks for joining me today.

Gregg Warren: Thanks for having me.

Glaser: Unlike the past couple of years, it doesn't seem to be a one big topic that's dominating the preconference conversation. What do you think will be some of the issues that are going to be discussed. What's one that you think will be on people's minds?

Warren: I think you're absolutely right. I think if we go back the past couple of years, [MidAmerican Energy Holdings chairman David Sokol's resignation] three years ago cropped up and really kind of dominated the meeting overall. We also had some election year stuff going on in 2012.

But when we look at this year, the past year, there really hasn't been much that cropped up that screams out, "This is going to be a big topic of discussion." And I think the one that does stand out more recently has been the issue with the Coca-Cola compensation plan. Buffett has stated that he wasn't very happy with the plan; he thought it was excessive. But at the same time, Berkshire voted to abstain instead of voting against the plan, which to us doesn't really hold true with a lot of the standards that Berkshire has put in place historically. I'm not really sure that saying that "Voting against Coke is like voting against America," is really the right answer here. So, I think in some sense this issue is going to come up. There are going to be some questions about it.

The thing is in some circles an abstain is a no vote, but if you really want to send a message, if you're really saying, "I don't like this plan, I think it's excessive, I think it dilutes shareholders," then the obvious vote is against. And it's not saying something negative against management; it's not saying something negative against Coke. It's just saying, "Listen, we want to make sure that we're protecting shareholders' interests," which is ultimately the board's job.

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