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Professor Buffett's Dark Side

This is not the first time that Buffett has expressed his support for the troubled ratings agency. Previously, at the annual Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) shareholders meeting in Nebraska, the oracle of Omaha had sung the firm's praises.

In recent weeks Buffett has also offered his support for Goldman Sachs (GS). Like Moody's, Goldman has been the recipient of plenty of criticism stemming from its actions leading up to and in response to the global economic meltdown. The reigning king of Wall Street was even slapped with fraud charges courtesy of the Securities Exchange Commission for its involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Buffett has also drawn scrutiny recently for his hypocritical stance on derivatives. Although he has been quoted as saying that these instruments were financial weapons of mass destruction, he is also known to manage a multi-billion dollar derivative portfolio.

Buffett is no saint. As highlighted in a Fox Business interview after his appearance in front of the FCIC, sometimes he is forced to make unpopular decisions in his quest to turn a profit. For instance, the investor explained that, although he knows that smoking can kill you, it has not stopped him from owning cigarette bonds.

Over the years, countless Buffett watchers have been drawn to this financier not only for his investing prowess but also his warm, grandfatherly image and down-home humor. It is important, however, not to be disillusioned by this fa├žade. Ultimately, Buffett is a businessman looking to make money.

In recent weeks, Buffett's less popular business decisions have been highlighted. Has your view of the investor been altered as a result? Feel free to leave a comment below.

-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

At the time of publication, Dion Money Management was not long in any of the equities mentioned.

Don Dion is president and founder of Dion Money Management, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.

Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.

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