Too Many Investment Choices?

I received a letter form a long-time customer yesterday that was concerned about the number of new publications being put forth by Port Phillip Publishing. He was referring to Phil Anderson’s Cycles, Trends, and Forecasts and the New Frontier Investor project by Kris Sayce. The note was intended as constructive criticism, I think, and I’ve received it as such.

And to the point, I’m afraid this note suggested our motives for new publications were entirely cynical: hawking another new product to make a quick buck from worn-out subscribers. He said he was tired of each new product being advertised as ‘the greatest thing since sliced bread’ and said that if a reader tried to subscribe to everything we published, he’d go broke.

I’ve always been as transparent as possible about how and why we bring new products on board. But I’ll do so again in case you haven’t seen it before. And as always, please feel free to send any comments, suggestions or complaints to

First off, we now have an Alliance subscription which allows you to receive everything we publish now, and ever will publish, at one price, with an annual maintenance fee. The Alliance only excludes trading services, which may not be suitable for all investors. But other than that, if it’s price you’re worried about, we’ve tried to address that with Alliance. For example, existing Alliance members got Phil’s new publication at no additional cost. And on its launch they’ll be getting New Frontier Investor as well.

But not everyone wants every publication. I understand that. Time is limited for all of us. And in point of fact, not every publication is designed for every investor. When I started Port Phillip Publishing in 2005, we wanted to publish investment advisories where we thought we could give you an advantage over other Australian investors with better insight, better ideas, and better (more candid, and not conflicted) analysis.

We started with small caps (Australian Small Cap Investigator) and resources (Diggers and Drillers). Those are speculative, share-tipping products intended for investors who have discretionary income they’re prepared to lose on a recommendation, in exchange for the chance to make a big gain. It was also a bull market. And in a bull market, you make money buying stocks. They’re certainly not financial planning products.

As we’ve grown I’ve tried to identify weaknesses in our research, or opportunities to give you an advantage in some other sector. For example, right now I’m looking at a very basic new, low-cost publication for new investors, and an options trading service for high-net worth investors. The former would sell for as low as $49 and the latter for as much $1,500 because they have different goals and will appeal to readers with different levels of time, experience, and money.

I started my own ‘big picture’ newsletter in 2008 to look at geopolitics and global investments. We brought long-time DR reader Greg Canavan on board to talk about sound money, value investing, and macroeconomics (Sound Money. Sound Investments.) a few years later. Nick Hubble joined us as an intellectual bomb-throwing anarchist who wanted to provide alternative ways to think about retirement (The Money for Life Letter). And when DR reader Vern Gowdie approached me with his experience in financial planning and superannuation, it was an area of expertise we clearly didn’t have. Gowdie Family Wealth was born last year.

Kris brought in Sam Volkering last year as a technology analyst for Revolutionary Tech Investor. He’s looking at global risk opportunities in New Frontier Investor, and has a new emerging market analyst, Ken Wangdong, on board who knows a thing or two about it. And I’ve obviously brought Phil into the fold as someone whose spent decades researching property prices and market cycles. He’s doing work no one at PPP (or anywhere else, really) is doing for Australian investors.

Now, there’s probably a limit to the number of categories or sectors where a single publication can give you a significant investing advantage, or at least try to. I personally think we’re close to that limit. But we’ll keep looking. And if we find something we think can help you make money, we’ll back it.

Yes. That is a lot of different and unrelated ideas. And yes, they don’t all fit into one neat package. But that doesn’t matter. Kris and I have tried to hire people who know things that we don’t, who have unconventional ideas and skills, and who want to publish those ideas for your benefit. I’d like to think we’ve built a diverse portfolio of investment ideas and strategies for the Australian public.

Diversification is supposed to help you reduce your risk in investing. But that doesn’t mean you have to subscribe to everything we publish to benefit from the diversity of ideas. That’s why we have free e-letters and the Insider. I do apologise if it’s a lot to take on board. But here’s some advice…

Tune out the stuff you’re not interested in. If something has no value to you, ignore it. Invest in the ideas that help you reach your own financial goals. Exercise your freedom of choice. Don’t be burdened by it.

And please bear with us if you see advertisements for services you don’t want or need. You don’t have to buy them. But somebody else out there might benefit from them. Somebody else might enjoy them.

Finally, all these specialist analysts don’t work for free. Selling subscriptions is our sole method of paying the bills. We don’t take trailing commissions on financial products we’ve sold on behalf of a third party.

I hope that explains the flurry of new publications in recent months.


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Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

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