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Fishermen depend on luck, and the Vegetable Farmer depends on tending to the investment continuously to bear some result. Both have short-term perspectives and require continuous engagement. But here’s the catch – It has been proved that the probability of earning returns in the short-term is more like tossing a coin with 50-50 chance of getting the positive result. This is more like a computer picking up a stock for you.
The efficient market hypothesis (EMH) was developed by Eugene Fama who argued that stocks always trade at their fair value, making it impossible for investors to either purchase undervalued stocks or sell stocks for inflated prices. So it is better to buy and hold broad index fund rather than picking individual stocks. Fama believed that returns earned above the index are an outcome of pure luck. However, research indicated that there are sources of Alpha (excess returns over benchmark) in plain sight because of behavioural biases of market participants, or structural/liquidity issues of the market. These factors are acknowledged by Eugene Fama who went on to publish 5 factor model.
The biggest challenge for anyone with a day job and wanting to invest in stocks directly is lack of time. The chief culprit, which makes Retail Investors feel that they have lost even before they begin, is the large and ever-changing amount of information.
Listening to experts is almost like an addiction for most stock investors. While many don’t even realize that they are addicted to this, others who have experienced that experts don’t win for them, are wondering how they can ever get out of it.
Worldwide, there is a lot of hue and cry over high expense ratio that investment management firms charge for generating better than market return. Globally, funds are moving out of active strategies to low cost passive investing. The logic for these flows is often cited that value addition done by active mutual funds is small and uncertain vs the fees charged by them.
Talking in the Indian Context, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) wants to review whether Indian mutual funds are overcharging their customers by imposing a high total expense ratio (TER).