A quick point of clarification to subscribers of my newsletter: Some of you have written specific questions to me asking what percentage of a portfolio should go into a specific recommendation, what price is the ideal point to buy, and what holding structure would be the most important for the investment.
Unfortunately, I have ignored responding to all of these e-mails, and that will always be the case. It is not out of my desire to be rude, but out of a recognition of the bounds of my legal authority. Before launching my subscription service, I met with the Missouri Secretary of State to discuss the regulations pertaining to newsletter services.
After e-mails, phone conversations, and analysis of the law, the bounds of legal authority became clear: The First Amendment grants me the unrestricted write to give me opinions on all investment topics, whether that be through a paid investment service or through a blog entry that is freely accessible throughout the internet. The only restriction the Supreme Court has ever found was this: deliberately misstating financial performance and engaging in opposite action for personal enrichment. Absent a high-hurdle intentional tort, there is no restriction on specific stock advocacy.
That changes when individual investors contact me with questions about recommendations. That becomes the unlicensed practice of investment services, and that is why I cannot respond to many of the e-mails that I receive from my blog and newly formed subscription audience. If I write a blog post titled “Sell Church & Dwight and Buy Chevron”, no big deal, I am entitled to the exercise of my opinion. That applies with equal force to a paid newsletter. That does not apply, however, to an investor that writes in to me explaining his investment shape and then asks, “Should I sell Church & Dwight because it’s overvalued? What should I do with it? Should I buy Chevron?” I cannot legally answer that question, for it be the unlicensed practice of investment services.
I have addressed this topic indirectly in previous writings, but I wanted to take it on head-first as my subscription service develops: I will not be able to answer any follow-up questions that you may have about specific recommendation. It is not a desire to be rude. It is not a desire to be mean. It is not a desire to make a buck and run. Instead, it is a recognition of the legal bounds of my authority when it comes to investment writing. If you write to me a question seeking specific actionable investment information, I will not return a reply. You should know that before you waste your electronic energy sending me an e-mail.
On a topic of more exciting news, the launch of the subscription has been a nice success, and once the subscription level reaches a certain amount, I imagine that I will start sending my best ideas (in addition to the small-cap per month article that investors currently receive) through the newsletter. I feel a greater obligation to give my best ideas to people who pay for them than those who do not. If I learn the details of a strategy regarding a silent trust that enables the passage of wealth on to children in a legal way that facilitates receiving college financial aid for high-income families, I am going to pass that information on to the subscription audience because they deserve my most value-added, high impact ideas.
I do, however, have a desire to continue the free portion of this blog that you can access through www.theconservativeincomeinvestor.com. It will be at a slow-down pace; I imagine targeting five or so articles on the site per month going forward. Meanwhile, the focus of my attention will go towards keeping subscribers satisfied and delving into small-cap research for companies that have a high probability of beating the S&P 500 over the long haul but currently receive next to no media attention at present. That is a difficult task, but one I welcome because I believe helping people find stocks that compound in the 12% to 17% range can be life-changing. And therefore, my energy will focus there.
The ability to become a subscriber to The Conservative Investor Digest is still open. An issue will come out on the first of the month, and it will reveal the best research I can conduct on a stock that has a high probability of beating the S&P 500 over the coming 10+ years. If you become a subscriber, you will likely find the research highly unique. I have received excellent subscribers from buyers of the first edition that couldn’t believe I found a stock delivering 26% annual returns since the late 1990s that is sitting on fat stacks of cash with only $1 million in debt that is not showing up in current stock screeners because of a one-time licensing fee payoff. It’s hard finding great companies that can’t be found by an auto-search, and that is why I am excited about this method of delivering value.
If you would like to become a subscriber, click here to get access to the subscription for only $9.99 per month: The Conservative Investor Digest.
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