xitian wrote:[I suppose I'm not necessarily looking for automated. I'd just be looking for relatively hands-off or unmanaged. Basically I don't want to have to be on the button ready to sell within seconds if some kind of news breaks which I need to react to. However I'd still like to have a sizeable portfolio (in value regardless of what it's formed of) with close to zero risk.
I think the only way to achieve low risk but maintain any sort of return is to either: have massive diversification (i.e. stat arb) with automation, or be manually trading and sitting at the computer all day.
I would say it sounds like you want long term investing not automation and/or sitting at the computer all day. Both of those sound very short term and high risk - the opposite of what you think they currently are.
xitian wrote:Isn't long term investment fairly risky too if you're not carefully watching the portfolio?
Long term investing is the least risky imo. I would suggest the opposite of watching the portfolio carefully for long term investing - the idea is to buy and hold not buy and constantly be checking and reacting to every bit of news. Doing that is likely to damage your portfolio very badly over the long term.
xitian wrote:Is an activist investor a bit like private equity then? I suppose an activist investor isn't buying purely to look for an exit plan but for the long term returns?
Activists from my experience tend to be looking more short/medium term than long term. They see something they think isn't being done correctly and look to get it corrected and make their money that way. One of the most well known being Carl Icahn.
This episode of the Bottom Line was on just last night:
Are activist investors good or bad for the firms they target? They hunt down companies they think are underperforming. They buy a stake in the business, then lobby for change. Critics say activists want to make a fast buck and then head for the exit. But you could regard these investors as doing a valuable service - challenging poorly performing company boards and making more profit for shareholders. Top UK names like Rolls Royce and John Menzies have been affected. Explore the world of activist investors with Evan Davis. Joining him will be: activist investor, Harlan Zimmerman, senior partner at Cevian Capital; Chris Walton, a company chairman and non-executive director; and Sacha Sadan, director of corporate governance at Legal and General Investment Management.
I also listen to all the Motley Fool Podcasts - highly recommend them if you are interested in long term investing: