The Quest for Alpha
The Holy Grail of InvestingBook - 2011
The final word on passive vs. active investing
The debate on active investing-stock picking and market timing-versus passive investing-markets are highly efficient and almost impossible to outperform-has raged for decades. Which side is right? In The Quest for Alpha: The Holy Grail of Investing, author Larry E. Swedroe puts an end to the debate, proving once and for all that active investing is likely to prove futile as the associated expenses-costs, fees, and time spent analyzing individual stocks and the overall market-are likely to exceed any benefits gained. The book
- Presents research, data, and quotations that reveal it's extremely difficult to outperform the market
- Explains why investors should focus on asset allocation, fund construction, costs, tax efficiency, and the building of a globally diversified portfolio that minimizes, if not eliminates, the taking of idiosyncratic, uncompensated risks
- Other titles by Swedroe: The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You'll Ever Need and The Only Guide You'll Ever Need for the Right Financial Plan
Investors are on a never-ending search for a money manager who will deliver returns above the appropriate risk-adjusted benchmark, aka the "Holy Grail of Investing." The Quest for Alpha demonstrates that it's a loser's game-while it's possible to win, it's so unlikely that you shouldn't try.
Baker & Taylor
Describes passive and active investing through research, data and quotations that reveal how difficult it is to outperform the market and explains why investors should focus on asset allocation, fund construction and costs to build a globally diversified and profitable portfolio.
King Arthur and his court pursued the Holy Grail, the mythical cup or dish used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The financial equivalent of the pursuit of the Holy Grail is the quest for the money managers who will deliver alpha---returns above the appropriate risk-adjusted benchmark. The quest for alpha is based on the theory that the markets are inefficient, and smart people working diligently can discover pricing errors the market makes. But there is a competing theory based on about sixty years of academic research. Its premise is that markets are highly efficient---the market price of a security is the best estimate of the right price. If markets are highly efficient, efforts to outperform are unlikely to prove productive after the expenses of the efforts. So which theory is correct?
In The Quest for Alpha, Larry Swedroe presents research, data, and advice from some legendary market gurus to show that it is extremely difficult to outperform the market. Examining the evidence from academic studies on mutual funds, pension plans, hedge funds, private equity/venture capital, individual investors, and behavioral finance, he demonstrates that the markets are indeed highly efficient. Swedroe then explains why investors should instead focus on asset allocation, fund construction, costs, tax efficiency, and the building of a globally diversified portfolio that minimizes, if not eliminates, the taking of idiosyncratic, uncompensated risks.
And to those who ask, "But how do you explain Warren Buffett?" Swedroe's answer is simple. "I tell them if they see Warren Buffett when they look in the mirror, go ahead and seek the holy grail of alpha," he says. "If they don't, give up the quest and play the winner's game."