Alpha Theory hosted its first ever book club on July 12th with over 40 portfolio managers, analysts, and allocators coming together to discuss “Superforecasting” by Phil Tetlock. We were lucky enough to have two Superforecasters, Warren Hatch and Steve Roth, moderate and perform forecasting exercises with the group. We spent 2 ½ hours together and only scratched the surface on applying Superforecasting to investing.
Here are a few key takeaways:
1. RAW TALENT: On average, our group had the attributes of Superforecasters with high Active Open-Mindedness (3.99 out of 5) and high Fluid Intelligence (8 out of 10 – this is the highest score that the Good Judgement folks have seen).
Active Open Mindedness
2. IDENTIFYING TALENT: There are identifiable attributes that can be used in hiring and have a profound impact on forecasting skill (40% - see chart below).
3. DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Firms should appoint a Devil’s Advocate for each investment to expand critical thinking (someone to ask the question, “I see your downside is $40. How is that if the 52-Week Low is $22 and the trough multiple would put it at $25?”)
4. OUTSIDE VIEW: Firms should require an Outside View for every investment idea (“While everyone I’ve spoken to says this deal will close, only 20% of deals with one party under SEC investigation close.”)
5. REFINEMENT: New information should always be incorporated in forecast (think Bayesian).
6. POSTMORTEM: An Accuracy Score should be calculated for every investment and should frame the conversation of “what did we do well?” and “what did we do poorly?”.
7. TEAMS MAKE BETTER FORECASTS: Team dialog generally improves forecasting accuracy.
8. FORECAST CULTURE: Firms should embrace “forecast” as part of their vernacular and conversations should revolve around how information impacts the forecast.
9. MEASURE TO BE BETTER: We all forecast, but we rarely measure. That fact needs to change if we really want to improve.
10. BOOK CLUBS ARE COOL!!!
The October Alpha Theory Book Club topic will be “Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck” by Michael Mauboussin. Mr. Mauboussin will moderate and highlight the book’s application to investing. Contact your Alpha Theory representative if interested in attending.