In a great interview with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg View, Michael Maboussin of Credit Suisse and Columbia University offered some intriguing insights into the role of luck in investing, and the qualities of successful investors.
Mauboussin says that investment performance is a result of some combination of skill and luck. And, today, investment managers are more skilled than ever, which has leveled the playing field in that regard. But that means the other piece — luck — becomes a greater factor in the difference between the performance of investors, he says.
But Mauboussin says luck isn’t everything, and performance isn’t random. He says there is clearly a subset of investors who are skillful — the trick is identifying which of the strong performers is doing well because of skill and which are just lucky. How can you tell the difference? He says great investors focus on process, and not on outcomes. They also look for some type of “edge” — not inside information, but something unique in their approach that gives them a different view than others. They also tend to have a patient, disciplined temperament and think long-term, and often have the fortitude to look at beaten down plays.
Mauboussin offers some extremely interesting comparisons between the sports world and the investing world. To listen to the full interview click here.