Investing is not a win-win experience, said Bruce Greenwald, a distinguished Columbia University Business School professor, to an audience of Gabelli School value-investing students during a guest lecture on November 2, 2015.
Contrary to what basic finance theory says, the stock market is not efficient, which makes it possible to successfully invest by exploiting the inefficiencies.
“This is a zero-sum game,” Greenwald told the students. “If you outperform, someone else has to underperform.”
Every transaction has two sides to it: someone who is buying and someone who is selling, he said. The object is to be on the right side of that transaction as much as possible. The analysis process helps determine why one method and what security put an investor on the right side of the transaction.
Two methods, Greenwald suggested, are having a good search strategy and being specialized in a specific industry.