|Headquarters||301 East Colorado Boulevard
|Key people||Charles T. Munger, Former Chairman/CEO|
|Revenue||$765 million USD (FY 2010)|
|Employees||2291 (14 at KBS, 2100 at CORT, 172 at Precision Steel, 5 at Wesco) (as of 2010)|
Wesco Financial Corporation is a diversified financial corporation headquartered in Pasadena, California.
Wesco was originally a savings and loan association. It was for a long time 80.1% owned by Blue Chip Stamps, which is wholly owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which is controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffett. Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett's business partner, served as CEO and Chairman of Wesco from 1984 to 2011. Munger, formerly a practicing attorney, is known for his straight-shooting style and his conduct at the now discontinued Wesco shareholder meetings in Pasadena, where he used to interact with the outside investors at considerable length. In June 2011 Berkshire Hathaway acquired the approximately 20% of Wesco that it did not already own.
Wesco Financial was previously likened to a miniature version of Berkshire Hathaway by certain observers, although Buffett and Munger cautioned investors that this was not an appropriate comparison. Like its parent company, Wesco provides insurance and reinsurance; it does so through subsidiaries Wesco-Financial Insurance Company and Kansas Bankers Surety. It also holds shares in some of the same companies as Berkshire, like Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, and Wells Fargo. Controlling interests include CORT Business Services and Precision Steel Warehouse, which has steel service centers in Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wesco does business in three major categories; insurance, furniture rental, and steel service. The following wholly owned subsidiaries handle most of Wesco's business:
- Wesco-Financial Insurance, which was incorporated in 1985 and engages in the property and casualty insurance business.
- Kansas Bankers Surety Company, which was incorporated in 1909, purchased by Wesco in 1996 and provides specialized insurance coverages for banks.
- CORT Business Services Corporation, furniture rental.
- Precision Steel Warehouse, Inc., a chain of steel service centers. Precision Steel was founded in 1940 and acquired by Wesco in 1979.
- MS Property Company, which owns commercial real estate in Pasadena.