Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Fleet Street Letter : An Independent Review

Okay, time for a shock confession.

A few years ago, I made the foolish mistake of thinking outside my normal realms of Investment Trusts on huge discounts and low-fee ETFs and started thinking of direct share investments.

Taken in by the "longest published newsletter in the UK...since 1937", I made the big mistake of signing up to the "Fleet Street Letter", or FSL.

While some of the articles on world politics and finances are interesting, the "letter" is basically a 4 page scrap of paper and their direct share tips are the biggest load of rubbish I have ever seen. This for three main reasons :-

1) The tips are recycled from other Agora publications, so by the time they make it to FSL they are no longer fresh or hot.

2) The articles subsequently get recycled into a variety of other publications, so you'll normally get to read them in the end - normally a week or two later in the free email advertising circular "The Daily Reckoning".

3) The letter comes out on a Friday, giving the thousands of subscribers a chance to know what the hot tip of the week is. Consequently, the market makers price up the shares on Monday, knowing that a load of Fleet Street Lemmings will pile in regardless.

Obviously the FSL performance figures are based on prices before this Monday, so there's no way investors can get in at the same price, but hey, it helps the performance figure look good when trying to sell it to new subscribers.

Please let this serve as a warning to anyone thinking of subscribing.

Just check out some of their tips in recent years : Widney, Wagon, Drax, Global Energy Development, Star Energy, Retail Decisions.

I admit to being taken in by the last one. I held the shares anyway, but their article made me think it was time to sell. It wasn't. They advised investors to sell at 140p just before the takeover at 200p!

Back to the world of ITs for me and the occasional direct share of my own choice. (Let the discount be your guide and don't be influenced by others, EVER!)


George Smiley said...

Great article mate!
I too was tempted to join the Fleet Street Letter today. But have decided not to after reading your excellent review.
Thank you!

Fordy said...

Great article. I'm always weary of any tipster. Like you said, the market makers are well aware of the hot tip providers and just up the price accordingly.

And lets face it the guy writing the "tip" is in a win-win situation as it's self fulfilling. i.e. the tipster recommends buy x, the readers buy x, which cause the price to rise and then the tip writer can say "told you so".

I personal do try and keep one eye on the tips though - just so I know if a share is falsely overpriced simply because it was tipped.

Excellent review.

VikingRaider said...

sam said...

Thanks for a...GREAT REVIEW!

Have you seen there latest, scare mongering:

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