There’s no shortage of investment advice on the internet. Everyone seems to have their own ideas about the best places to invest, whether it’s student housing in the U.K. or stocks in Japan.
It’s no coincidence that those giving the advice often stand to gain from people following their recommendations. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should listen to me above anyone else. But hear me out for a bit.
There’s over 190 countries in the world. Most of them are places you’ve probably never even heard of, let alone considered investing your money in.
We all know about China and Germany. Their markets are easily accessed by anyone with an internet connection and a brokerage account. But their accessibility isn’t a good thing. It makes them convenient yet oversaturated.
Markets Might be Efficient… But You’re Not
There’s a theory in finance called the efficient market hypothesis. Experts still disagree over the extent it’s actually true. However, in the most basic sense, the theory states that the price of an asset reflects all available information about it.
A direct result is that you can’t beat the market – at least according to the theory. For example, a stock can’t sell at a discount if all available information is already priced into it. The stock will always sell at its fair value.
Efficient market hypothesis is more applicable to publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange. Large financial institutions, along with their highly paid analysts and complex algorithms, will immediately buy a stock when it becomes a bargain.
They’ll also do it faster than you or I ever could. Hedge funds and other institutional investors can make the determination and the trade in less than a second.
As a result, any asset mathematically proven to be undervalued doesn’t stay that way for long. Wall Street jumps on these split-second opportunities before smaller investors even know they exist.
How to Compete with Wall Street
Individual investors are simply outgunned by the resources of big-money. You’re looking at Google Finance and waiting for the page on your online brokerage to load. Meanwhile, hedge funds in New York are running algorithms and making dozens of trades per second.
But what about places which aren’t yet overrun with large investors?
Goldman Sachs and Blackstone don’t have offices in Cambodia. Vietnam has hundreds of listed companies with little to no analyst coverage. Wall Street isn’t out looking for real estate in the suburbs of Manila.
Major stock exchanges don’t have any “hidden gems” or “secrets”. Places like Kazakhstan and Mongolia have plenty though.
The only caveat is that you’ll need to put forth more effort. Google Finance can’t help you in frontier markets, so you’ll probably have to find the deals on your own. It’s difficult but rewarding.
You can beat the market. However, the only way is to invest in countries where you still have a competitive advantage. As such, the best places to invest are often where no one else is going.
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