Buffett’s style can’t be implemented by Mutual funds fully, but it does not matter

It is structurally not possible for mutual funds to implement value investing, in its completeness.

Mutual funds are essentially slaves of their investors and their temperament. Simply because of the structure of mutual funds and the need to beat an index on a monthly, quarterly, annual basis, it is almost impossible for mutual funds to replicate the ‘buy value and hold long term as long as the business stays great’ approach of Buffett in toto. And there is no reason honestly for individual investors to put their money in actively managed mutual funds if they cannot beat the index. That in itself is a structural constraint on why mutual funds will never be able to fully implement Buffett’s value investing style.

But nevertheless, I think individual investors may be in a position of advantage here, if they manage their portfolio well,  simply because of the situation that mutual funds find themselves structurally in.

One option for value oriented individual investors is clearly by not investing using mutual funds and doing value investing in a full fledged manner by directly buying stocks of great businesses at good prices and holding them, aka Buffett. But that may work for only a select few who want to do investing full-time, and may not be feasible for most individual investors. But even though most individual investors may not be able to do this, the second option for value-oriented individual investors may actually be to treat mutual funds as ‘diversified value buckets’, use them as useful stock selection mechanisms, and buy (more or less) mutual fund units based on their general assessment of value existing the market at various times.

That’s one way that individual investors can perhaps be value investors in a partial sense, without having to dabble directly in stocks – but by using funds as proxy value buckets. The need of funds to constantly beat indexes will make sure that they get at least reasonable performance (else use index funds), and treating funds as value buckets will ensure that investors can practice value investing, though to a lesser extent than Buffett, and buy general market value by timing their purchase of fund units.

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