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No. of Recommendations: 19
A little bit about myself to provide some context: I have been with TMF now since 2004 and have made at least 18% annual average returns based on my conservative estimate and with 250+ stocks and 150+ options positions. I have rarely sold complete position and am mostly a collector of good firms. At least over the last 11 years buy and holding good firms tenaciously has worked extremely well. I put 18% as a conservative estimate on my returns as my cash flow has been rather lumpy and I have used occasional deep leverage. Correct calculation is too tedious. But the best metric of success perhaps is determining how far one is from the financial aspect of retirement and from that perspective I am already there at 42 provided I move out of bay area into a cheaper town.

I am a big fan of David Gardner (and Tom Gardner too) and have benefited immensely from their picks but now over the last few years, I have started benefiting in a big way from Jim Gillies picks as well. For the last 1-2 years, Jim Royal's impact has started to show up as well. The difference in styles among various advisors is big in some areas but common in some others. The common part is business focus investment thesis and the difference is foresight based (David Gardner) vs. quality of operations based (Jim G) and insight based (Jim Royal). I am seeing all these individual styles win. It is nevertheless astounding to me to see the level of success of David though. His precise foresight into business minds and concepts and his tenacity to hold onto those alone has witnesses unusual success so far. I think it has helped him quite a bit to stay well withing his circle of competence on many stocks (entertainment and media specifically).

So what has all of this got to do with SPOPs?

It is Jim Royal and Jim Gillies together combining insight and precision in evaluation of operations leading to highest possible quality of business valuation. I have seen Jim G protect me from some nasty surprises in WATG and hand over amazing success stories with the likes of ALV, PRAA and many others with a > 90% precision in making business based calls (not his options based success) and I see similar talent with Jim R as I intently followed his special situations rising star portfolio where most of his high conviction picks did very well for me. They did not all beat the market but the risk level was quite low. I am quite sure that over a full market cycle their results will outshine. I had thought that the SPOPs picks will be risky as usually that is the case with such services where the tendency is to go after paydirts but I am not finding that to be the case with the new SPOPs here. These are truly special situations that promise potentially high rewards at substantially below market risk. Such investments are very hard to find and to analyze and especially so in this kind of sustained bull market.

So those folks wanting to quit SPoPs now may want to reconsider and stick around for another 3 years. My 2 cents of course...

Anurag
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