About once a year I like to check out what paid sources exist out in the market. I google to find some free samples and may also do a trial. With regard to research, I highly recommend Value Line, Morningstar and S&P Outlook. However until recently I had not found even one newsletter that I liked or found provided insight or potential leads. And despite looking at so-called award winning letters, these too are largely disappointing. For example, one such “top” letters with a multi-year record recommended stocks that ended up at zero (eg. Wet Seal) and didn’t pay much attention at all to company stewardship. Or course with deeper value plays you don’t run into the best management, however there is a line all investors need to draw.
This all changed when I did a trial of Value Investor Insight (VII). I found out about VII when I was reading a forum about another newsletter that was recommended by Greenblatt in one of his books. Unlike other newsletters, VII was created by a real fund manager (Whitney Titman) who manages real money. In it, they interview two fund/portfolio managers in a publication that runs at around 25 pages. The managers (eg. Jeff Smith, Bill Ackman) discuss their investment approach and ideas they find interesting. Every manager has their twist on value. I found these interviews very insightful, and the ideas they discuss are truly value. I know this as a fact because a few of the ideas are companies that have appeared on my radar as well. The letter though doesn’t stop there but also provide a few more articles. I understand these are not fixed but cover a variety of topics such strategy, investor letters, reviews, and other investment topics.
In addition, there is a bonus content which is sent via e-mail. During my trial I received two such e-mails. These contained links to other articles, letters, and commentaries. All of these were again insightful, helpful and educational. So when it comes to amount and quality of content I judge it a 10/10. When it comes to value ideas, I’ll tell you my story: I had received one of the trial letters but did not had time to read it. That day, I put on two trades. It was late so I printed out the letter to read it at home. Before throwing it into my bag, I quickly scanned the ideas managers were talking about. And bam! There was one of the companies I had just put a trade on! VII is the ONLY newsletter I have found worth paying for, and will soon subscribe to it myself. It is a true service to investors. If you want to find out how fund managers really think and invest then check it out at www.valueinvestorinsight.com. Free trials are available. It costs $349 a year.