I run a small hedge fund.
Most people that do that want to use their (lack of) size to find (and exploit) value-priced small cap stocks.
The problem is that almost any company with a market cap of $200 million to $5 billion has teams of private equity (PE) buyers looking at it.
The competition is fierce.
The PE guys have two advantages I do not. They have access to cheap loan funds in quantity. And when they do a transaction they can get inside the company, look at the books and do proper due diligence.
Those are winning advantages – advantages that I would not want to compete against.
One arguable offset to those advantages is that many PE executives are surprisingly inept. They look good in their suits – but I have met a few along the way who really are empty suits. You know the type – straight out of their big-name business schools but without the depth of experience and the humility to know that business can be difficult. For the purposes of investing they are stupid.
Their stupidity however is masked because mistakes are not marked-to-market. A bad transaction can be buried a long time and a few good ones (with lots of leverage) can offset a lot of ills.
I don’t understand why so-called “value investors” are drawn to small caps. Trying to find cheap stocks against stupid people backed by seemingly limitless cheap funds and no market discipline does not seem like a good way to construct a value portfolio.
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