READERS SAY ...
have been an IRS reader for many years, and have valued your
contributions........thank you for contributing to my investment
Mr. J.W., Stroud
and to the point, particularly John Snowden. Profitable recommendations:
Hitachi Credit, British Land, Alphameric, Mayborn Group, Marks
& Spencer, Darby Group, Sibir Energy.
Mr. G.C., Scunthorpe
Report is easily comprehensible even to a financial ignoramus like
Mr. F.C., Salford
am an IFA by profession - I find the articles very helpful.
Mr. B.H., Surrey
IRS Report has been published
since 1991 and is edited by Chris
is not just another "tipsheet" but covers
all styles of investing. There are four regular contributors.
Gilchrist is the editor of The IRS Report and
has been since it was launched in 1991. Chris is an experienced
investor and has been writing about finance for over 30
years. During this time he has been a lecturer, TV and
radio broadcaster and financial commentator. As well as
editing The IRS Report, he has also written for
many of the national newspapers including The Sunday Times,
The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph and worked on financial
programmes for Channel 4, BBC 1 and BBC Radio 4. He is
a director of investment advisers Churchill Investments
investment funds including investment trusts, exchange
traded funds, covered warrants and structured products,
all areas where innovations have created opportunities
that few investors understand. Chris has been running
his own SIPP for a decade and believes most people can
achieve superior results by taking charge of their own
pension fund as well as other investments.
financial services industry in the UK is enormously profitable.
It is your money they turn into profits. Charges on most
financial products are way too high and - unlike the US
- there is no serious price competition. That means it
really is important to find value for money. I no longer
find many conventional funds that meet this criterion
and instead find investment trusts, covered warrants and
Exchange Traded Funds more useful.
into retirement are today concerned about limiting downside
risk and the best way to do this is by applying asset
allocation methods to non-correlated investments. I suspect
many investors don’t spend enough time on this aspect
of portfolio management.”
Snowden is a specialist in finding outstanding smaller
company investment opportunities. He has been writing
for The IRS Report since 1992. Most of his recommended
companies are traded on the Alternative Investment Market
(AIM), but occasionally he will also find opportunities
on PLUS and the LSE.
his main career nearly 40 years ago at J. Henry Schroder
Wagg. Starting at the bottom, John worked his way up,
becoming a member of the investment management team. He
later got to know Nigel Wray and started writing for the
Fleet Street Letter, Britain's oldest financial newsletter.
He started writing for the Penny Share Guide at its inception
and was editor for some five years as it grew to become
the UK’s largest subscription newsletter.
stint with Fleet Street Publications, he also started
the New Issue Share Guide. Other writing credits included
editor of Penny Share Focus and an AIM newsletter specialising
in smaller companies
John now relies
on profits from his investments to supplement his pension
income, and has painstakingly acquired the skills to use
the data available on the internet, charting tools and
so forth. While he is fairly active in trading on the
Footsie and in major index companies, his main focus is
in searching and finding small company shares capable
of delivering big profits to investors over a period of
stop-losses to all his recommendations, since long experience
has convinced him that taking a small loss often saves
you from a much larger loss, especially when investing
in smaller companies. His record shows that the big gains
on winning stocks far outweigh these small losses, which
are simply part of the price you pay to secure those big
With his peripatetic
lifestyle including Norway, Surrey and Thailand largely
financed by investing, John has become a "silver
surfer", but as subscribers know, his nose for profitable
small-cap opportunities remains as sharp as ever.
“Even as I start a new life as a pensioner, I remain
an avid fan of smaller companies and enjoy reading about
the new emerging businesses of today. I still kick myself
for abandoning some successful companies too early as
one is always tempted by new ideas. There are lots of
average and poor businesses out there and I have built
up a fairly sensitive antenna over the years creating
my own methods of finding good ones.
volatility in the markets creates havoc with my stop losses
at times but on balance, good value usually wins the day.
Shearlock applies value investing principles to selecting
UK companies for investors who aim to buy and hold for
several years. Academic studies confirm that the value
approach consistently beats the market.over the long term,
making this an ideal way of managing the core of your
IRS Report, Peter researches companies that meet
his own stringent value tests. These are companies that
he considers undervalued by the wider stockmarket or which
have potential for recovery from some form of setback.
He normally restricts his search to the top 350 UK companies
by market capitalisation.
can arise because investors focus on the ‘old’
rather than the new aspects of a business
-- and larger companies usually have several divisions
or business areas, so a dull old business can often contain
a rising star. Sentiment can turn against an entire sector
-- as with banks or REITs recently. Or investors can simply
become too pessimistic about a company’s prospects.
In line with
value investors generally, Peter has adapted Benjamin
Graham's original principles to suit modern conditions,
but still emphasises the fundamental virtues – a
sound business model, strong finances and firm management
– as a guide to finding quality investments that
can often be held for many years while providing rising
dividends and steady capital appreciation.
Peter has been
researching companies for over 30 years. He is the former
City Editor of the Sunday Times, for which he writes an
me, value investment is about fundamentals over fashion.
The key is to stay focused on factors such as long-term
cash generation, management quality, dividend-paying capacity,
financial strength and asset-backing and ignore the vagaries
of shifting sentiment. As Benjamin Graham, the Godfather
of value investment, pointed out, if you can buy a share
at a discount to what it is inherently worth you are cushioned
for whatever the world may throw at you.
shares are often found in unfashionable sectors. Those
sectors can remain unfashionable for months or, sometimes,
years. The value investor must be patient, prepared to
take a long-term view of his or her investments. But experience
shows this approach pays off in the end.
value investment is about discipline. Warren Buffett,
the fabulously successful US value investor, famously
refused to join in the dotcom boom on the grounds that
he wouldn’t buy what he couldn’t understand.
It stood him in good stead. Too often, investors are more
worried about missing out on the New Big Thing than finding
an underpriced bargain. As Christopher Browne of Tweedie
Browne puts it: ‘Risk is more often in the price
you pay than the stock itself’. Remembering that
is the key to successful value investing.”
Owen is one of the UK's foremost technical analysts. She
is managing director of Investment Research of Cambridge,
publishers of technical services, and edits the journal
of The Society of Technical Analysts. She has written
extensively about technical analysis and regularly presents
seminars on its application by non-technical investors.
her extensive knowledge of technical analysis to write
about market trends and identify potentially profitable
availability of a huge mass of data on the internet means
almost all traders use technical analysis- some do so
almost exclusively- in setting entry and exit points from
short-term positions. That means even investors using
mainly fundamental factors to buy investments need to
take account of technical factors. And in fast-traded
markets like gold, commodities and foreign exchange, technical
factors often drive markets for long periods during which
the fundamentals remain unchanged.
Unlike many technical analysts, though, Deborah backs
her analysis with reference to the underlying fundamentals.
For IRS Report subscribers, she focuses mainly
on identifying turning points in major trends in the major
stockmarkets, gold, exchange rates and commodities.
the day-to-day fluctuations of the markets there are clear
cycles that repeat themselves more frequently than the
laws of chance would allow. Understanding the causes of
these underlying trends allows both long-term investors
and short-term traders to improve their chances of investment
technical analysis acts like a radar screen, picking up
on the forces of supply and demand that create the trends
that we see the markets. Whether they realise it or not,
almost all investors adopt some form of trend following
or momentum techniques -- even if it is just letting their
winning trades run and cutting their losses quickly. In
a recent study using data going back 100 years Elroy Dimson,
Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton of the London Business School
conclude that “momentum has been a feature of the
UK stock market for over a century. It is persistent and
pervasive, and it is not subsumed by other market-wide
is, therefore, the key to successful investing.”
Moffitt is, like The IRS Report’s other contributors,
a successful investor in his own right. For nearly two decades
he has also been Editor-in-Chief of the Successful Personal
Investing course run by the publishers of The IRS
Parallel to his successful career as financial editor
at London’s premier talk radio station LBC, followed
by a term as Sky News’s financial commentator, Douglas
built up a private business, which he sold in 2006. This
has provided substantial capital, which Douglas aims to
invest along lines that he successfully applied to his
mother’s investments in her retirement.
Essentially, Douglas’s approach is to secure a
rising stream of dividends and not to rely on capital
gains to provide his retirement income. This will often
involve buying shares in well-run businesses in unfashionable
sectors. The main proof that they are well-run that Douglas
looks for is a record of steady growth in dividend payments
over a period of many years. Surprisingly few companies
meet this quality test, but it provides convincing evidence
that a business can withstand all the vagaries of the
Some of his shares will be out of fashion companies where
negative factors may have pushed its price down to the
level where the initial dividend yield is well above the
market average. Others may have low starting yields but
prospects for above average dividend growth. Long term
Douglas believes dividend growth will be matched by capital
growth, but this is an entirely secondary investment aim.
Douglas’s approach is eminently suited to those
aiming to hold shares to provide retirement income - including
those using drawdown schemes in Self Invested Personal
“ I think I have learned only four things over
my 40-plus years of investing and writing about investing.
But they are things I believe many investors would do
well to apply to their portfolios.
Firstly, time is more important than timing. Secondly,
no one has as much incentive to manage my money properly
as I have. Thirdly, markets always over-react and I am
not clever enough to call tops and bottoms. Fourthly,
the City is full of mostly overpaid lemmings.
I conclude from this is that I must be my own investment
manager for the years when my standard of living will
be funded by my skill in creating a rising investment
well as these contributors, several other financial experts
regularly write for The IRS Report. These include
Roy Tipping, who reports on companies
on the basis of his own momentum-based mathematical program
"Tipping's Mathematical Ratio", and John Mulligan,
who uses his STAR program to screen companies in the FTSE
350 Index to find high-yielding shares with sound fundamentals.
Warren Perry and Mark Dampier regularly write about collective
investment schemes in The IRS Report, identifying
top-performing unit trusts, OEICs and investment trusts
with a sound management team to continually deliver outstanding
results. Chris Gilchrist also contributes incisive features
on investment strategy and tax planning.
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IRS Report has been published since 1991. It is currently
published by Successful
Personal Investing Ltd. Registered office: Abbots Corner,
The Avenue, BOURNE END, SL8 5RD. Registered in England No.