Everyone’s looking for an edge. How can you be sure that you have one?
There are three paths to performance: working harder, working smarter, and working calmer. Working harder is simple: do more research and apply what you know to what you own. It’s simple but not easy. It requires more reading, phone calls, meetings, and everything. It’s physically exhausting.
Working smarter requires a deeper understanding of the way the world works. Competing this way requires you to consider how and why people behave as they do. These investors are more like financial philosopher;, philosophical concepts dominate their thinking. They can often see a trend before it emerges. It’s intellectually hard.
Working calmer means you keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs. Often you have to get away from the financial centers like New York—or just not answer the phone. And you often do the opposite of everyone else, selling when markets are exuberant and buying when they seem depressed. It’s emotionally difficult.
Hard work, smart insight, and a wise temperament aren’t easy. But they’re the only way I know to maintain a competitive edge.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer