Everything in a world moves toward an extreme direction from average and come back to average. This is known as a regression to mean. Sometimes we get more happy or sad and as time passes, we start coming back to our normal feelings. We tend to be nice to other people when they please us and nasty when they do not, we are statistically punished for being nice and rewarded for being nasty.
Poor performance was typically followed by improvement and good performance by deterioration, without any help from either praise or punishment. Our performance has an average point, sometimes we perform very better than average and sometimes perform below average and sometimes reach back to mean performance. So that when performance is above or below average, then it has a higher probability to meet the average which is known as a regression to the mean.
Investment – The price of the companies sometimes go either extreme to fundamental points but as time passes stock prices start moving towards fundamental performance and at some point fundamental performance and stock prices marched. The stock price cannot be sustained at either extreme. We have seen various cyclical events, business cycle and many more are responsible for the regression to the mean. We have experienced that market always walk away from averages for a period but it comes near to mean by its self-correcting nature. So that when anything moves at the extreme side of the mean then we must have to be ready for self-correction of it. Value investing mainly focus on reversion to mean theory. It believes that if the stock price is well below its fundamental value then now or later it will catch up with its fundamental value.
We have seen that the best performance in equities has come after the worst performance and vice-versa. So that we should not focus on a smaller period of outcome to make any conclusion. Rather should focus on a decently long period to understand mean reversion. But when fundamental performance is improving then we should compare market price with improving fundamental performance rather should wait to fall in price as it has risen in past. Also, we need to study thoroughly about fundamental of any business, its prospects, challenges faced by the business. Rather believing that if the business has performed well in past then it will repeat it in future. It may or may not repeat the same performance but that we have to conclude from a detail study of business.
People respond to incentives by doing what is in their best interests. What is noteworthy is, first, how quickly and radically people’s behaviour changes when incentives come into play or are altered and, second, the fact that people respond to the incentives themselves and not the grander intentions behind them.
We all seek self-interest; our efforts get changed with incentives. We act for getting back something. Proper incentives can improve performance but improper incentives can spoil the performance. We assess the risks and the associated rewards and respond in a way that seems to best serve us.
Business – For example, incentives for selling every single loan will spoil credit quality but if we keep negatives incentives on every NPAs then performance will get improves with safety in nature. The sub-prime housing crisis in the US is one example of incentive bias.
Investment – There will be incentives on different products to marketing personnel and due to that incentives, they sell products where they get higher incentives. The same happens with the stock market products. We have experienced Franklin mutual fund debt scheme example where distributors have decent commission available. And distributors have aggressively sold scheme to the investors.
Many a time, management focus on their performance incentive over an above of long-term benefits of shareholders. That is the reason to provide ESOP to top management (aggressive ESOP has its disadvantage, which we will discuss later on).
When we study pieces of advice given to us by others than 90% of cases having incentive effects hidden into it. We need to study the given pieces of advice thoroughly before accepting it. If we work on anyone’s advised without putting our efforts then that will become our fault.
There are two types of knowledge. First, we have real knowledge. We see it in people who have committed a large amount of time and effort to understand a topic.
The second type is chauffeur knowledge – knowledge from people who have learned to put on a show. These people just make show that they know everything but they just speak what they have heard from the source. They speak as per the predefined script ready for them.
Any fool can know. The point is to understand. – A. Einstein
Investment – It is difficult to judge who is an expert and who has just a bird view of knowledge.
In 1998 Wesco meeting, Charlie Munger Quoted –
I try to get rid of people who always confidently answer questions about which they don’t have any real knowledge. To me, they are like the bee dancing its incoherent dance. They are just screwing up the hive.
Mr Warren Buffett suggests us to decide what we know and stay with it, what he calls a circle of competence. Mr Munger suggests that the size of the circle is not important but important is, we stay within its limit well. If we do not know anything, we should simply say we don’t know rather act as an expert. I also faced such problems during the initial days of my career. I considered people with Chauffeur knowledge as an expert until I do not meet real experts.
In the stock market, we meet many people who act as an expert but the majority of them not. We have to carefully check their knowledge before trust on them. We have to understand their investment philosophy and process before making a judgement of them. True experts recognize the limits of what they know and what they do not know. If they find themselves outside their circle of competence, they keep quiet or simply say, ‘I don’t know.’ We also have to perform the same for becoming an expert in our field.
Subjective confidence in a judgment is not a reasoned evaluation of the probability that this judgment is correct. Confidence is a feeling, which reflects the coherence of the information and the cognitive ease of processing it. It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.
Business – When the business personal preparing blueprint for a particular project and the narrative of the project seems good then he starts believing that this project is very good. Thus, they have to execute that project. But this confidence can turn out as overconfidence.
Investment – When we study a particular company and its narrative looks so good then we start getting confidence in the future performance of the company. But this confidence has created a story in our mind and that does not necessarily to be proven as true so that we also should work on writing down what can kill this idea. This helps us to make wise and rational decision.
The Illusion of Stock-Picking Skill
What made one person buy and the other sell? What did the sellers think they knew that the buyers did not?
Buyers think the price will increase and sellers think that price will fall.
Individual investors try to react to each news but institutions are selected about the reaction on the news which also proves their label of Smart money.
The majority of people have an illusion of skills. The majority of people believes that picking stocks and getting a return on them is mostly responsible for their skills and does not appreciate the role of luck.
But it is not the ultimate truth. There is a role of luck that should be appreciated. Not believing the role of luck will lead to overconfidence in their skill. And that will tend to make any irrational decision. So that after buying or selling, we will think that stock price will move as per our expectation because we have completed with all necessary study and confident about movement.
We should always think that the seller/buyer has much more insights than us which make him selling/buying a particular stock. This thought process helps us with widening our thoughts process.