In my book, Avantage Bourse, I wrote this about time arbitration: “When the majority of investors have a short-term horizon and most of them prefer immediate gratification, it becomes even more profitable to adopt a strategy that truly focuses on the long term in one’s investments.”

In a few words:

  • Long-term investing becomes even more profitable in a market where the majority of investors are looking for quick gains, thus favouring undervalued securities that have long-term potential, as illustrated in the example of the Hershey company.
  • A long-term perspective also gives companies a competitive advantage, as Copart points out in its letter to shareholders, highlighting the value of its ownership mentality and 30-year investment horizon.
  • The example of Copart demonstrates the success of a long-term strategy, with a compound annual return of 21.6% since its IPO 30 years ago.
  • Whether you are a stock market investor or a business manager, long-term vision allows you to stand out and can pay off.


When most investors are aiming for high and quick, or even immediate, returns, it becomes even more profitable, in my opinion, to focus our attention on stocks that are likely to enrich us in the long term, even if their immediate prospects are mediocre. These stocks are often ignored by hordes of speculators and therefore display reasonable valuations.

An example: we acquired the stock of the Hershey Company last March. In my opinion, it is difficult to find a less “spectacular” business model than that of this confectionery manufacturer – the company is the North American leader in chocolate bars. But the company is very profitable (return on invested capital of 24% for ten years), in excellent financial health and its stock was trading at around 18 times expected profits when we bought it. I suspect this assessment was because the company will not experience strong growth in the coming years, unlike some technology or artificial intelligence companies. At the same time, I am convinced that we will still be eating chocolate in 25 years and that Hershey will probably still be a leader in its industry. Can the same be said of most tech companies?

In short, I believe that the investor who truly thinks in the long term enjoys a significant competitive advantage over most others who think primarily in the short term.

Incidentally, this same long-term strategy provides a significant advantage to companies.

In their letter to shareholders in the 2023 annual report of the Copart company, of which we are shareholders, the two co-CEOs wrote this:

“From time to time, we are asked by prospective shareholders to describe our principal competitive advantages. They invariably expect us to cite the land we own, our international buyer base, and our best-in-class technology platform. And that reasoning has merit. But it mistakes cause and effect. Our critical competitive advantage is our ownership mindset and, by extension, our investment horizon. We live and codify ‘Be an Owner’ as one of our core Copart values. As modelled by our Founder and Executive Chairman Willis Johnson, we make business decisions with the 30-year prosperity of our clients and ourselves as the ultimate objective. As a result, we are empowered to invest in land, technology, capital equipment, auction liquidity, and our people. For example, at any given moment, it is ‘cheaper’ to lease than to buy the facilities through which we serve our customers. We know, however, given how difficult it is to permit and develop new facilities, facility ownership is essential to ensuring the long-run sustainability of our service offerings… In countless other ways, large and small, our long-run orientation creates distinctive advantages for Copart, particularly as other industry participants are forced to optimize for short-term considerations.”

This very long-term orientation seems to be paying off, at least for Copart and its shareholders. Since going public 30 years ago, the stock has delivered a compound annual return of 21.6% (from an adjusted price of $0.15 per share to $54.50).

I believe this is a message that applies as much to stock market investors as to all business leaders: thinking long-term sets you apart from others and can be very rewarding.



Philippe Le Blanc’s Blog is published in