4 investing mantras by Joel Greenblatt’s for small retail investors

Joel Greenblatt is a household name in the investing world. Anyone unaware of how to make good money from the market may first study this successful fund manager’s investing style or best emulate his strategies to navigate a choppy market.

Abeer Ray
First Published22 Oct 2023, 12:02 PM IST
Joel Greenblatt’s investing mantras have stood the test of time.
Joel Greenblatt’s investing mantras have stood the test of time.

Small investors often complain about how they find it difficult to beat the market. One reason can be sheer ignorance regarding how to pick the right stocks while the other reason can be the inability to focus more on qualitative aspects of companies than quantitative aspects. 

Joel Greenblatt, a prominent investor and the managing principal and co-chief investment officer of Gotham Asset Management, is widely regarded as one of the most respected figures in the world of investing. His book, “You Can Be a Stock Market Genius”, has garnered significant attention and serves as a valuable resource for investors. The remarkable achievement of his fund, which delivered an astounding 50 per cent annual return in the decade following its establishment, offers a compelling case study for both seasoned and novice investors aspiring to succeed in the market.

The individual, who held the dual role of being an educator in value investing at the University of Columbia and a seasoned investor, possesses a substantial net worth of $1 billion. 

Focus on quality, and not numbers

If you observe Greenblatt’s investing style, you will observe how this successful fund manager relies on value investing, unlike many other investors who depend on fancy ratios to make their investment decisions. His perspective on value investing aligns with the principles of Benjamin Graham, a pioneer in the field. Graham held the belief that the stock market frequently exhibited volatility and irrational behaviour, presenting opportunities for investors to generate returns by acquiring stocks trading below their intrinsic worth. Intrinsic value, in this context, represents the fundamental value of a company, determined by its underlying factors like assets, earnings, and cash flow.

Greenblatt’s statement, “A stock is not merely a sheet of paper subject to wild fluctuations; it’s essentially a stake in a business that I’m attempting to appraise” serves as a poignant reflection that value investing transcends the mere analysis of financial ratios. It underscores the importance of comprehending the companies in which you invest and acquiring their shares when they are undervalued relative to their intrinsic worth.

Preserve your capital

Greenblatt’s emphasis on risk mitigation stands out as a pivotal factor behind his achievements as a value investor. He recognizes the inherent volatility of the stock market and acknowledges that even the most skilled investors can err. Nevertheless, his consistent success over the long run is attributable to his strategy of purchasing companies at a price below their intrinsic value and steering clear of substantial wagers on high-risk investments.

His investment strategy stands in sharp contrast to that of numerous other fund managers, many of whom often prioritize achieving elevated returns regardless of the consequences. This approach can result in their willingness to undertake excessive risks, potentially culminating in substantial losses.

Greenblatt’s dedication to loss prevention imparts a crucial lesson to investors of all levels. It’s imperative to keep in mind that the stock market carries inherent risks, with no assurance of profit. Nevertheless, by concentrating on acquiring solid businesses at discounted rates and refraining from substantial wagers on high-risk assets, investors can mitigate their risk of incurring losses and enhance their prospects for long-term success.

Verify who manages the business

The assessment of a company’s management team ranks among the paramount factors when appraising an investment. Competent leadership is capable of judiciously deploying capital, fostering sustained profitability for the organization. Conversely, inept management tends to make ill-advised choices in capital allocation, ultimately resulting in financial setbacks.

Investors can employ several indicators to gauge the competence of a company’s leadership team. To begin, scrutinize the company’s historical performance. Have they consistently made prudent capital allocations and delivered profits over an extended period?

Next, examine the management team’s compensation structure. Do their incentives align with shareholder interests? For instance, if the management team receives a significant portion of their compensation in the form of stock options, they are more likely to make decisions that benefit shareholders, as their personal wealth is directly linked to the company’s stock performance.

Do you possess knowledge about the company’s ownership particulars? Is the management team in possession of a substantial stake in the company? If they do, it serves as a positive signal, signifying their alignment with the concerns of shareholders. Are you acquainted with the company’s cultural values? Does it foster an atmosphere of innovation and risk tolerance, or does it lean towards a more conservative culture? A company that nurtures an innovative and risk-embracing culture is generally better positioned for long-term success.

Equate equity investments to a business acquisition 

Greenblatt’s approach of regarding equity investments as business acquisitions, rather than mere market instruments, is commendable. It’s crucial to bear in mind that stocks are more than just paper; they symbolize ownership in a company. When you invest in a stock, you are essentially acquiring a share of that business.

Greenblatt's other guiding principles hold significant importance for achieving success in investment. While your investment approach may vary, Greenblatt's teachings undeniably provide valuable insights for navigating the stock market effectively.

His emphasis on value investing, rather than fixating on arbitrary financial ratios, has empowered many to yield returns even during bearish market conditions. Patience is a fundamental virtue, as it often requires time for the market to acknowledge the true worth of an undervalued stock.

Furthermore, the willingness to invest in less popular stocks can lead to exceptional opportunities for value-oriented investors. Establishing a margin of safety is imperative; never acquire a stock at its intrinsic value. Always aim for a purchase at a discount to ensure a margin of safety, safeguarding your investment in case the market doesn't immediately recognize the stock's value.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.MoreLess
First Published:22 Oct 2023, 12:02 PM IST
HomeMoneyPersonal Finance4 investing mantras by Joel Greenblatt’s for small retail investors

Most Active Stocks

Indian Oil Corporation

03:58 PM | 12 JUL 2024
-7.6 (-4.36%)

Tata Steel

03:58 PM | 12 JUL 2024
-0.3 (-0.18%)

Bharat Electronics

03:59 PM | 12 JUL 2024
-2.25 (-0.67%)


03:56 PM | 12 JUL 2024
25.7 (4.81%)
More Active Stocks

Market Snapshot

  • Top Gainers
  • Top Losers
  • 52 Week High

KPIT Technologies

03:57 PM | 12 JUL 2024
154.25 (9.02%)

Inox Wind

03:59 PM | 12 JUL 2024
13.85 (8.76%)

Zensar Technologies

03:29 PM | 12 JUL 2024
50.45 (7.03%)


03:29 PM | 12 JUL 2024
386.65 (6.95%)
More from Top Gainers

Recommended For You

    More Recommendations

    Gold Prices

    • 24K
    • 22K

    Fuel Price

    • Petrol
    • Diesel
    New Delhi
    HomeMarketsCibilPremiumMint Shorts