The Peter Lynch Approach

No modern-day investment “sage” is better known than Peter Lynch. Not only has his investment approach successfully passed the real-world performance test, but he strongly believes that individual investors have a distinct advantage over Wall Street and large money managers when using his approach. Individual investors, he feels, have more flexibility in following this basic approach because they are unencumbered by bureaucratic rules and short-term performance concerns.

Mr. Lynch developed his investment philosophy at Fidelity Management and Research, and gained his considerable fame managing Fidelity’s Magellan Fund. The fund was among the highest-ranking stock funds throughout Mr. Lynch’s tenure, which began in 1977 at the fund’s launching, and ended in 1990, when Mr.Lynch retired.

Peter Lynch’s approach is strictly bottom-up, with selection from among companies with which the investor is familiar, and then through fundamental analysis that emphasizes a thorough understanding of the company, its prospects, its competitive environment, and whether the stock can be purchased at a reasonable price. His basic strategy is detailed in his best-selling book “One Up on Wall Street” [Penguin Books paperback, 1989], which provides individual investors with numerous guidelines for adapting and implementing his approach. His most recent book, “Beating the Street” [Fireside/Simon & Schuster paperback, 1994], amplifies the theme of his first book, providing examples of his approach to specific companies and industries in which he has invested. These are the primary sources for this article.