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Author: NoFate Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Global Fool Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 151  
Subject: Re: Basket cases? Date: 5/11/2011 5:22 AM
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Hi Sean

See my other post. Part of my work is quant stuff so I'm really just trying to help. Most people are not very good at probabilities (me included) and whether a psychological tool or not ... we just need to be clear on what's being done and why. If it's a tool like that then it should be stated as such. It hasn't really been. I'm not trying to accuse anyone of ill intentions here and I'm not trying to show up the Fool for being wrong (in their stock selection or in their math).

I simply think that with the information provided I can back out what assessments were made and I can point to why those assessment were inconsistent/imprudent/whatever you want to call them.

To your points:
- It's not so much opacity as that it may give little value beyond the psychological ('moving the needle')
- No issue with small/micro caps, I have both long and short positions in them (though heavily long based on MF, the shorts are 'gambles' on stuff I read on the internet and consequently very small).
I don't believe the 'moving the needle' question is one of personal risk preference as such. It's simply that one needs to understand what one gets into - it has been advocated to label these 'ultra high risk' - presumably this implies for many that they would take a very small position. Nothing wrong with this, but we should all be clear that - in a basket, or the portfolio overall, it also means that we may get a psychological kick out of an 'xx bagger' but we won't have ended up with much of a return overall. That's all.

I think where I am also critical in this area is that I believe for all the value MF adds, it is a marketing machine that misrepresents performance to the outside world. Say YONG does 500% over the next 3 years. I am virtually willing to bet my hat that there'll be an email after that advertising the services that had YONG very loudly, irrespective of the fact that for most subscribers that weighted it according to risk it would've been 500% standalone, but maybe 500%*0.01 in the portfolio. It's very selective advertisement that I abhor. Now I can't do anything about that, but at least I can help both advisors and members to think through what's implied in their assumptions and choices, which by human nature, they will not always have done themselves.
Cheers C.
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