Although small investors have drawn criticism from Wall Street professionals for being “hyperactive traders,” a recent MarketWatch article by columnist Mark Hulbert reveals new research that finds they have outperformed the market.
“Yes, you read that right,” writes Hulbert, adding that the researchers—who examined all trade from mid-2018 to August 2020 on the Robinhood trading platform— constructed a hypothetical portfolio that “weighted each stock according to the number of Robinhood accounts that owned it.” Over the three-year period, it showed that the hypothetical portfolio beat the market both before and after risk-adjustment.
To test for the possibility that the results were a fluke, Hulbert explained that the researchers built an algorithm to replicate the actual composition of the Robinhood portfolio and back tested the results to 1980.
The study findings, Hulbert notes, “are an illustration that, while not every investor is rational, the collective wisdom of the crowd is often superior.” He concludes, “Keep that in mind the next time you hear a Wall Street guru insist that small investors who frequent platforms such as Robinhood don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s a distinct possibility that, as a group, those small investors are doing better than the guru.”