Anurag is very negative on Ron Gross and MDP. I am also, for somewhat different reasons. Sometimes a person of undoubted intelligence and knowledge can reveal a character that is just too “small” – for lack of a better word – to handle great responsibility, such as the responsibility of investing other people’s money. For example, I was an early subscriber (as BrokeInTheBurgh) to MF’s The Big Short until the lead advisor’s reactions to early troubles and criticisms showed me that he was the wrong size to handle my money. It takes more than brains and experience, it takes a certain maturity and flexibility -- a brittle or inflexible person is all too likely to make wrong decisions under pressure. So I canceled my Big Short subscription with nary a look back.About a year ago, my young daughters were members of MDP (as Captain Haiku) and mentioned to me that MDP was a bit weird about things like options. For example, it adopted a policy, in response to a vocal member, that options could only be discussed on a special options board, and not on any other board. When I looked at the MDP boards, I was unimpressed – in particular, I felt that Ron Gross was probably the wrong size for his job. Also, I felt the whole MDP idea – the best of the best – was flawed. (For example, after Tim Hanson’s very careful guidance here on the GG boards to limit one’s position in CGA and YONG to small amounts, MDP invested 5% of its portfolio in those companies! )Anyway, I quickly canceled my daughters’ MDP subscription (admittedly, one step before I was booted out for being very rude to Ron, inexcusably), and have never regretted it. I felt MDP was, apart from the Big Short, the least helpful of the eleven (!) MF paid services I have used over time.Of course, the generous MF refund policy means that you do not have to try to figure out what to do based on other peoples’ opinions. You can try MDP for a while and cancel if you do not like it. If you are on the fence, that would probably be the sensible thing to do.As an aside, in this time of MF turmoil, do you remember the scene in the movie Animal House where the nerdy guys try to rush the cool fraternity? No matter where they wander in the fraternity house, they are quickly rounded up and brought back into one particular room – the losers’ room -- where they are introduced over and over again to the same set of other nerdy guys. Do you see where I am heading with this?I have suddenly had a vision – a flash of insight. I see a process beginning where, one by one, the fringe MF services – GG, HG, IV, II – are closed and their members are rounded up and taken to MDP. Wherever we go, they find us and redirect us to MDP.Folks, we are not the cool guys, the Supernova and Alpha and Pro subscribers; we are the nerds, and MDP is our special room. RichTriangleAnomalyWho will post one or two more times, but finds that investing with MF in this time of transition is too difficult, and will soon cancel this, his last subscription . . . .
Just had a peek into the Animal House. MDP sold big time winners early and left a lot of money on the table:Stock. Sold. TodaySbux. 21. 57Bbby. 24. 70UA. 33. 98BWLD. 40. 85CMG. 85-173. 420DWSN. 15. 26Recent sells that will look bad in future (already started)- KO and UNHAll firms above are superstars in their respective newsletters with multiple recs and BBN list.And there is no end to closed bad purchases - so many of GG losers and so hardly any winners from SA, HG, RBS. They have only one success ipgp (rbs) and rest just match or lose to market or few exceptions where they modestly beat market. Beating spy by 1.5% in 5 years when all money started as SPY is exceedingly poor show. I made a killing of my lifetime in 2008 crash with the stocks that MDP. The best TMF could have done is to roll GG sub into SA sub where people can at least make some money. TMF may want to block my viewing access to MDP lest they kick me out for upsetting MDP's apple cart. I have no idea how MDP has a single subscriber. If I perform a 10th this bad in my day job under favorable conditions I would be unemployed today.AnuragPs: Rich, I am not cool and I am at SN, SA etc. please don't quit TMF.
RichIn spite of your dislike of MDP's performance and lead advisor, I want you to consider Special Opportunties with Tom Jacobs, an intelligent, passionate investor. Lots of experience in his own investing company and interesting, novel ideas in the Joel Greenblatt way of investing.You probably considered SPOPS. However, in light of your strong thoughts on the MF services, I wanted to provide my insight, rather than a MF PR blurb (although it may sound that way).Tom is solely responsible for ALL investing decisions in Special Opportunities (what we like to call SPOPS) and stands by his convictions. The SPOPS real money portfolio is, amazingly, Tom's money! Holy guacomole (invented by the most interesting man in the world)!Also, there are truly intelligent, informative, in-depth and spirited members providing discussions about the recommendations. Pretty much what you'd expect of a thriving membership. For a small community, the boards are popping!Here is the real novel part of the service. The investments are varied. Distressed companies, turnarounds, special situations (!) such as a near term large dividend, IPO spinoffs, options of many stripes, jockey plays and activist plays. All picks have clear catalysts identified and reviewed often. And a little different measuring stick to an investment - a risk/reward ratio minimum which determines the numerical worthiness of our investment.I'm done. Come over to SPOPS and join the conversation. You can be a nerd here if you want.Mark, cheerleading for SPOPS
Come over to SPOPS and join the conversationCan't do it. It's closed to new members. The choices are SA, RB, II, IV, RYR, and MDP.Then there are the free portfolios, and there is not much to them. An article when a stock is first bought, and then a single message board for any follow up. I can't find a message board that has any substantial discussion on it. There aren't any weekly updates or anything like that.
Oops, and HG.
I have to admit that I have been pretty shocked by the level of vitriol that seems to exist here for MDP.I am a charter member of MDP and have been through thick and thin with that service. Ron Gross came on board in one of that service's darkest times and, like a fresh breeze, brought a whole new vibe to the service.Now, I cannot attest to how much of that is simply because the market has been on a strong upswing since around the time Ron took over vs. how much of it is specific to Ron's presence, but I have found him to be a strong leader and an incredibly calming influence. He never seems to get rattled and does a great job keeping the service focused on what is important.Sure, the MDP is beating the S&P by "only" 1.5%. As lead advisor, Ron Gross takes the blame/credit for that. From my perspective, Ron made a brilliant decision in bringing Tim Hanson, lead advisor of Global Gains, into the fold and gave him the authority to create an international exposure for MDP. Good leaders pick good managers and let them do their job. For the most part, Tim's picks did not work out for us and the MDP's performance has suffered because of that. CGA: down 66.4%, YONG: down 55.9%, AIB: (data missing, oddly) but down big (98% in my portfolio as I am still holding). There have been a few good picks, certainly, CHL up 10.8%, BLX up 35.7% but they aren't good enough to cover the losses from the bad ones. Then, sadly, Tim left us (both) for the Fool's Funds service before any of his picks had a chance to be fulfilled, for better or worse, and we were left holding the bag.I am an accountant by trade and particularly strong in math, but I knew diddly about what being an investor was all about until I joined MDP. The last 4.5 years there has molded me into the investor I am today and I know that my life took the correct turn at that fork in my life's road. Ron Gross has been a big part of that. Yes, the service has been quick to pull the trigger and sell their winners: CMG for example, but they have openly talked about those mistakes and, I believe, learned a lesson that should help their decision-making in the future.I do not understand the comment that Ron is "too small" to run a service like MDP. Before joining TMF, he was a successful hedge fund manager. He was managing other people's money well before joining MDP. His bio on MDP states: Ron Gross (TMFGreedandFear), lead advisor for Million Dollar Portfolio, first landed at the Fool as co-advisor of Inside Value after managing value-focused hedge funds for almost nine years. Prior to entering the world of money management, Ron spent 10 years as an equity analyst for several investment firms and financial services companies.Ron has always been transparent with his methods and analysis and I have learned a lot from him. I can understand if someone doesn't agree with his investing style or perspective or methods, but these seemingly personal attacks suggesting he is "too small" to manage other people's money is, frankly, petty.I would like nothing more than to see a large number of GG subscribers joining MDP and strengthening our collective knowledge. If you are not interested for whatever reason, fine. But don't attack Ron Gross, it is my opinion that he saved MDP from getting shut down like GG is getting shut down.Cheers,Jeremy
Hi Jeremy,You wrote:I have to admit that I have been pretty shocked by the level of vitriol that seems to exist here for MDP.[...]I do not understand the comment that Ron is "too small" to run a service like MDP.[...]these seemingly personal attacks suggesting he is "too small" to manage other people's money is, frankly, petty.[...]But don't attack Ron Gross, it is my opinion that he saved MDP from getting shut downJust to be clear, I have nothing against Ron Gross or even against MDP. But I believe that MDP is quite far from being an adequate substitute to GG, given Ron Gross's stance about international stocks.I think that TMF should have given us a choice between several services, none of which being a good substitute, but at least a choice. Anyway I always have the choice to unsubscribe and that's what I'll do.Saarkhx
I have to admit that I have been pretty shocked by the level of vitriol that seems to exist here for MDP.Hi Jeremy,So much for ending my MF posting career with a substantive, thoughtful post (not the Animal House post, one I did over on the MDP boards). . . .I can understand if someone doesn't agree with his investing style or perspective or methods, but these seemingly personal attacks suggesting he is "too small" to manage other people's money is, frankly, petty.Wow, I felt that my post was pretty mild and balanced – including the idea that people should feel free to try MDP and see what they think. Certainly it was not intended to be personal at all – the comment that bothers you is negative, true, but reflects directly on how Ron will perform his duties. And, he has already fulfilled my “too small” expectations! Faced with an influx of talent and knowledge about foreign stocks, and with a large group of new members whose primary goal is to invest in a diversified bundle of foreign stocks, does Ron say, “Wow, with all this knowledge and interest, let’s look at the universe of GG stocks, maybe ask the GG members for suggestions, maybe do a poll about their favorites, and then consider them? If we find some great ideas, fine; if not, well, we just do something else!”Does Ron say that – as a flexible, large thinker would? Or does Ron react to an influx of new members who are eager to invest in foreign stocks by saying, “I've asked Charly to focus primarily on multinational companies such as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) that derive revenue from all over the globe. I expect Charly will occasionally sprinkle in pure-play international investments . . . but I think focusing our international allocation on global companies will give us the exposure we desire along with the proper risk/reward balance.”Well, of course, you know the answer; the preceding paragraph is Ron’s direct quote.My brief, one phrase comment is a legitimate criticism about how an advisor will behave, and in fact has already been borne out. Other advisors would look to expand their universe; faced with a number of new members seeking to use his service to replace a foreign-stock service, Ron immediately narrows his focus. I commend his honesty, and have nothing at all to say about him as a person, father, neighbor, human being, etc. – but as an advisor he is, IMO, inflexible and limited in his perspective. I would like nothing more than to see a large number of GG subscribers joining MDP and strengthening our collective knowledge. If you are not interested for whatever reason, fine. But don't attack Ron Gross, it is my opinion that he saved MDP from getting shut down like GG is getting shut down.In other words, if I disagree with you and the opinions you so freely express on these boards, I should just be quiet so that your opinion stands unopposed? I know that is how you like things, and I have seen that attitude in the past on the MDP boards –weird rules constraining discussion (like with the options point I mentioned earlier), set by “community leaders.” In fact, since you have made me waste another post on this silliness, let me go ahead and be as clear as possible: (i) I think MDP is one of MF’s weakest services ever, as a general matter;(ii) I think part of that weakness comes from a flawed concept, and part from a less-than-great chief advisor;(iii) I think MDP – a portfolio service that deemphasizes investing in foreign stocks as an announced policy – is an absurd replacement for GG, an idea-based service specializing in a diverse array of international stocks. There is almost no connection between the two services.Now, my guess is that you would prefer this not be said, and I was not going to be so emphatic, but I do not like being told to keep my opinions to myself. Have a nice day!RichTriangleAnomaly
TriangleAnomaly,If I had known you would be writing that post, I would have saved time by not posting what you posted much better than me.Thanks,Saarkhx
Hi Jeremy,We are attacking Ron Gross's and MDP's performance and potentially methods. This is a fair as MDP has been put up for discussion due to GG transition the community to MDP. Based on your posts, it appears to me that you are quite young (< 30 years of age) and not substantial savings so far. Forgive me if I am totally offbase on that assessment. For serious investors of age 35+ with substantial savings, performance is foremost. Higher the age and savings, the more important performance gets. Ron Gross and MDP have little to show on that front. It does not matter how great of communication, individual or life save Ron Gross is. The fact is Ron and Charly have been involved in selling mega winner stocks early and especially those firms that happened to be exceptionally well managed, great brands and market leaders such as CMG, SBUX, UA and BBBY. And now UNH and KO. As far as comment like "smallness" is concerned, I have great respect for Rich who is probably the wisest (education, stature, experience, intellectually and professionally) of all of us here at GG. I take his comment seriously. To me it means that the needed maturity level is missing.As far a Ron's past "impressive" career is concerned, it is even more concerning that he could not make money hand over fist in volatile times like this. This was the haul of the lifetime for me. My portfolio has 250+ stocks and I managed to more than triple my entire portfolio from the 2008 abyss. Except for my mortgage, all debts (2 cars, credit cards, other loans etc) were paid off and a solid cash safety net was set up. It was a life changing event for me. I did not get lucky with one or two stocks. I did it with 250+ stocks. For someone with Ron Gross's experience to not even near than performance doesn't encourage me. The reason MDP could not make it big is because it sold a bunch of winners so early and piled on a far greater number of bad losers. I checked the MDP boards and saw discussion on not selling "racehorses" based on valuation. It took 14 years for Ron Gross and other advisors to reach that conclusion?I would not discourage you from trying to put a positive spin MDP and its advisors. I even wish you success but don't get upset if it doesn't stick or mercilessly scraped off.Anurag
Now, my guess is that you would prefer this not be said, and I was not going to be so emphatic, but I do not like being told to keep my opinions to myself.Never said anything of the sort. I said calling Ron Gross a small thinker was petty, you heard shut up. I cannot help that.I think MDP is one of MF’s weakest services ever, as a general matter;Per the information on fool.com:MDP: +2.3% vs. S&P: +0.30% (beating by 2.00%)GG: +7.96% vs. S&P: +13.83% (trailing by 5.87%)The facts disagree with your opinion.I think MDP – a portfolio service that deemphasizes investing in foreign stocks as an announced policy – is an absurd replacement for GGMDP is not a replacement, it is a consolation. I think your suggestion of polling GG members new to MDP for suggestions to look at is a good one, but I would become highly critical of Ron Gross & MDP if he were to make a bunch of changes to the MDP as a reaction to GG's closing. It should not be the members who force action from the manager, he is the boss for a reason.It is unfortunate that you have perceived my post as an attack. I believe I was simply trying to defend a leader I know & trust from what I felt was an unjustified attack. There are a lot of GG subscribers who haven't made up their minds on MDP yet. You posted a bear case, I countered with a bull case.Cheers,Jeremy
The facts disagree with your opinion. GG scorecard is not a portfolio and secondly SPY is not an appropriate index for GG (there is none in fact). So no comparison between GG scorecard numbers and MDP numbers is valid. Even if was, the comparison you are making is akin to one school kid claiming to be smarter than the other since he scored 8 out of 100 as compared to the other who scored 4 out of 100. GG newsletter was meant to provide foreign equity ideas and it did that but ironically that was not enough as people are looking to beat major indices that includes SPY. Strength is not determined by numbers alone because if it did, I can point you out dozen of mutual funds with better performance than MDP and claim those teams are better than Ron Gross. The level (quantity, quality and timeliness) of response by GG advisors has been world class and that has been true since Bill Mann started the service. It should not be the members who force action from the manager, he is the boss for a reason. If a community portfolio service does not value the opinions of its members to the point where it can morph it is doomed to fail. HG is starting to have that problem today. Among those of us who have been for a while with GG have specific needs on stock research and MDP clearly does not meet that need.Anurag
Hi, Rich. I hadn't noticed that you had changed your Fool name again.Just wanted to let you know that you're very welcome at RB or SA. You have a lot of valuable insights..... and in a better situation.....a great sense of humor to boot. So, when tempted to just pack it in completely, take another breath and I hope you'll entertain the idea to visit us.Rob
Amen to Rob's post. The Fool community will be far poorer if Rich drops out altogether.Anurag
Hi, Rich. I hadn't noticed that you had changed your Fool name again.Hi Rob, good to hear from you! Yeah, the name change bit is becoming a bad habit, and I find that I am now sorely tempted by "OffTopicTim" . . . .Just wanted to let you know that you're very welcome at RB or SA.Thank you, Rob. BTW, my daughters are enthusiastic subscribers to SA (as Captain Haiku), and will certainly continue as such for the foreseeable future. (And, they are far less irritable than I . . . .)Best regards,Rich
Thanks, Anurag. Best regards,Rich
Rich, I remember when your daughter's were members of MDP and you were involved in the discussions on options. I realize it became very heated and to say the least I am ashamed in how I acted. In my defense I did not like the idea of options and was afraid that is would take over the boards that I had become to rely on. I know this was a very small attitude. After seeing how things worked out, with Ron making a place for options, it became an easier place for everyone to become comfortable with a new idea. This is the first sign of a great leader, to make room for new ideas. Now, what did you do? You shut down your membership and left. Well within your rights but also a very small attitude. Maybe you thought that a man of your intellect did not need to be associated with people that were such morons that they could not see your side of an issue. Or maybe you didnt want to pay to be part of a community that you thought couldnt change. Well what you do not realize is that alot of the people did not have your "expertise" in investing. ( The reason I put expertise in quotes is that I havent seen any of your ideas or write ups on any stocks or companies. The only thing I have to go on is Anurag, who I respect.) I would have had respect for you if you would have stood up for what you believe or at least tried to teach people to be bigger and to allow other peoples ideas. The funny thing is that after you left the majority of people that remained, talking about options, have been welcomed and taught many of us that were afraid. This is what the fool is about, the teaching of different ideas. Now that this has happened I am less inclined to start a fight or hold strong ideas against anyone else's ideas. The only reason I am getting involved here is because I see Jeremy trying to bring people into MDP. Jeremy, IMHO, is moving in the right direction on investing. He has contributed to the MDP world and has enriched the community. Along with many others that try to move different ideas within the MDP world. I am not a genius but one thing that I have learned in my many years of living is that most people aren't. I do believe that Ron and the MDP team are trying to develop and some of the things that they are doing are positive and I also believe that they do want people that are willing to teach and enrich other investor's lives. From what I have heard couldn't you be one of those people. Stand up and teach instead of being bitter.AndyWho isnt happy GG is closing but is very happy to have known alot of people on MDP that have made my investing life better.
You shut down your membership and left. Well within your rights but also a very small attitude. Maybe you thought that a man of your intellect did not need to be associated with people that were such morons that they could not see your side of an issue. Or maybe you didnt want to pay to be part of a community that you thought couldnt change. Hi Andy,Gee, you put a lot of nasty words in my mouth that I would never have thought or said in a million years. You MDP guys seem bound and determined to make sure that I do not leave MF on a high note – a positive post. Oh well . . . .Here are the reasons I left MDP, as I posted on the MDP boards:“I have been subscribing to seven MF services, including MDP and almost all of its “feeder” services. I only added MDP to give my daughters a chance to run a small portfolio based on its advice and recommendations. Putting everything together, I agreed with Ron and canceled my subscription to MDP.”http://boards.fool.com/1128/consider-turning-the-lemons-on-t...I do believe that Ron and the MDP team are trying to develop and some of the things that they are doing are positive and I also believe that they do want people that are willing to teach and enrich other investor's lives. From what I have heard couldn't you be one of those people. Stand up and teach instead of being bitter.I put hundreds of hours and many tens of thousands of dollars every year into the charity I started for reading and math education of young children. If you are interested in judging my allocation of my time, check it out here:www.pittsburghplan.comI do not accept contributions – I fund the entire effort myself – but if you are interested in being a positive force for young children, tell your friends with young children about the Pittsburgh Plan. We ask for a $15 donation for the materials, which covers about 40% of my cost, but happily provide them for free, no questions asked, to anyone who is short of funds.Thanks for giving me an opportunity to advertise my charity without being pushy!And good luck with your investing.Rich
Hi TriangleAnomaly,I utterly fail to understand why some people are picking at you. You have every right to disagree, to unsuscribe and to express yourself respectfully as you did. Perhaps the ones who pick at you would need some Homer in their lives.Best,Saarkhx
Gee, you put a lot of nasty words in my mouth that I would never have thought or said in a million years. You MDP guys seem bound and determined to make sure that I do not leave MF on a high note – a positive post. Oh well . . . . Rich, I think maybe you need to go back and read your typed words again. Sometimes a person of undoubted intelligence and knowledge can reveal a character that is just too “small” – for lack of a better word – to handle great responsibility, such as the responsibility of investing other people’s money. I was unimpressed – in particular, I felt that Ron Gross was probably the wrong size for his job. I dont think I need to stand up for Ron or for any of the other analysts. But I think you could have chosen your words better.I gave you a wreck over on MDP because I found that post to be a superior post and I gave you a wreck on your last post here only for your charity work.Have a peaceful life Rich.Andy
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