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I'm completely unconvinced by this. I would argue that institutional investors are chiefly short-term oriented (by which I mean that they hold shares for short periods of time) because their incentives are (at least perceived as) short-term - they get a bonus/fired based on short term returns, and the funds grow/shrink based on short term results. The philosophy of the successful, long-term investors that I've known has acknowledged that you can't really tell what's going to happen with any accuracy, but you stack the odds in your favour by buying what is cheap (i.e. value stocks, although 'growth at the right price' is also in there), and being patient. Calling investing in perceived high growth stocks a long-term strategy is a bit of a sleight of hand, since few of these investors are buying and holding the stocks for the long run. Rather they are buying what is perceived as having good prospects (usually because of good short term performance) without regard for the fact that this growth is usually priced into the stock (so the weight of expectations lies on the downside). This triumph of popularity over price is precisely what I would consider short-termist.
Commented Mar 6, 2013 on
Stumbling and Mumbling
The Labour-commissioned Cox report (pdf) argues that short-termism is widespread, and a disincentive to invest and develop new products.However, I fear it under-rates the possibility that short-termism is often rational. The problem here is one of uncertainty, in the sense of unknown unknowns.Th...
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