Richard Salsman exposes the falsehoods behind the active vs passive false alternative in The Daily Capitalist.
Writes Salsman in “Buffett Won the Bet – and Missed the Point”:
Mr. Buffett writes, “Investors, on average and over time, will do better with a low-cost index fund than with a group of funds of funds.” Well, that’s surely true for capital whose owners are willing to forgo potentially higher returns in exchange for lower risk and the guaranteed mediocrity of average gains and losses. For all other capital, however, the opposite is true. It takes outsized gains like Mr. Buffett’s to inspire and arm us to make progress. Similarly it can take outsized gains and losses to expose the truth, promote the outperformers, and keep yesterday’s under-performing strategies and managers from interfering with a better tomorrow.
Active-passive is thus a false choice. All investing success depends on active thinking, buying and selling.
Still, Buffett concludes with cynicism:
“Human behavior won’t change. Wealthy individuals, pension funds, endowments and the like will continue to feel they deserve something ‘extra’ in investment advice. Those advisors who cleverly play to this expectation will get very rich. This year the magic potion may be hedge funds, next year something else. The likely result from this parade of promises is predicted in an adage: ‘When a person with money meets a person with experience, the one with experience ends up with the money and the one with money leaves with experience.’”
It’s true that human nature is constant, but our natural capacity for reason and infinite progress is precisely what makes such cynicism naïve. In all cases, better inputs make consistent outperformance possible. Berkshire Hathaway’s track record proves this for stock picking and allocating. Our track record proves this for using price relationships to forecast headwinds, tailwinds and inflection points, and to profitably allocate within one or more of the 5 major asset classes and subclasses.
Read the rest at The Daily Capitalist.