Why You Can Beat the Investment Professionals (a Wall Street story) | Summary and Q&A

April 14, 2023
The Swedish Investor
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Why You Can Beat the Investment Professionals (a Wall Street story)


A fund manager, Goliath, faces challenges with managing his portfolio as he navigates strict rules, market transformations, client demands, and ethical considerations.

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Key Insights

  • ✡ī¸ Goliath and David have contrasting investment strategies, with Goliath being bound by fund rules and client demands, while David embraces a more independent approach.
  • đŸĨē Portfolio management can be heavily influenced by factors such as fund size, restrictions, and market conditions, leading to challenging decision-making processes.
  • 🍉 Fund managers face pressure to deliver consistent performance, sometimes resorting to short-term strategies such as window dressing, which might not align with long-term investment goals.
  • ❓ Ethical considerations, such as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, can impact investment decisions, highlighting the evolving priorities of fund managers and clients.
  • 🛩ī¸ The growth of funds can hinder investment opportunities in smaller companies, forcing fund managers to shift their focus to larger, well-known companies.


Goliath Griffin woke up in his luxurious 4-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Before his wife and kids were up, he had his morning coffee and a shot of freshly pressed orange juice with a splash of ginger as he slipped into his dark blue suit and was out the door. Goliath got his copy of The Wall Street Journal from the newsstand by the gate... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why did Goliath need to trim his position in Microsoft?

Goliath had violated the 5% limit set by his fund's rules when Microsoft's value exceeded that threshold. To mitigate risk and adhere to the rule, he had to reduce his position.

Q: What was David's approach to investing in Microsoft?

David, unlike Goliath, did not have a restriction on the percentage of a company he could hold in his portfolio. He believed in Microsoft's growth potential and continued to add to his position.

Q: Why did Goliath find it challenging to invest in small-cap stocks?

Goliath's fund, "Small Cap Alpha Pro," had grown significantly, making it difficult for small-cap stocks to impact the overall fund performance. As a result, he prioritized larger, Fortune 500 companies.

Q: What was Goliath's boss's response to Sven's complaint?

Goliath's boss emphasized the importance of marketing and instructed Goliath to engage in "window dressing" by replacing underperforming stocks with popular picks to impress clients and improve quarterly performance.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Goliath faces pressure due to a 5% rule violation caused by his position in Microsoft, leading him to trim his position while a private investor, David, adds to his.

  • Goliath is limited in investing in small-cap stocks due to his growing fund size, inhibiting his ability to find under-analyzed opportunities.

  • Goliath and David have different approaches to investing, with Goliath being forced into portfolio reshuffling for quarterly performance updates while David practices a "sit-on-your-ass investing" strategy.

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