Michael Mauboussin – The Four Sources of Alpha – [Invest Like the Best, EP.126]

My guest this week for the third time is Michael Mauboussin. If there is a major question about markets and investing, Michael has usually written one of the best pieces of research on that topic. Today’s conversation is a mix of several of his research pieces, but focuses on the sources of alpha.

The framing of the conversation is the brilliant question “who is on the other side” of a given trade. If you are buying, who is selling, and why? Knowing the answer to this question is one key to understanding where excess return comes from. As is usual with Michael, we also explore tons of other interesting ideas that will serve as food for thought. Please enjoy.

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Show Notes

1:23 – (First Question) – An outline of the syllabus for the course he teaches

4:02 – What are smart people missing when it comes to decision making

5:33 – Why Michael went down the path of defining major investing concepts

            7:41 – On the impossibility of informational inefficient markets

9:14 – Beware behavioral finance

12:03 – What are the behavioral errors that people can take advantage of in a trade

15:14 – Timing opportunities

            17:25 – Modest Proposal Podcast Episode

17:47 – Where the analytical edge comes from

21:16 – Is there an advantage to exhibit time arbitrage

23:53 – Technical arbitrage

29:34 – What impact do flows into ETFs play on the market

32:25 – Informational edge and how you source that edge

36:39 – Biggest changes that he has seen on the buy side

43:18 –  How would Michael apply this as a sports GM

48:35 – His views on stock buybacks

            51:02 – The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

52:55 – EBIT to EBITDA paper

            54:43 – What Does a PE Multiple Mean?

59:28 – The concept of benign myths

1:02:06 – What the future holds of Michael

            1:04:17 – The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition