The Motley Fool

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Foolish Four)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Motley Fool
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Financial advisory services
FoundedJuly 1993
HeadquartersAlexandria, Virginia, United States
Area servedUS, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong
Founder(s)David Gardner and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm

The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial services company that provides financial advice for investors through various stock, investing, and personal finance services. The Alexandria, Virginia-based private company was founded in July 1993 by co-chairmen and brothers David Gardner and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm, who has since left the company. The company employs over 300 people.


The Motley Fool, LLC offers a wide range of free stock news and analysis at its flagship website,[1] In April 2002, the company launched the first of its premium subscription services, Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Since then, they’ve maintained a consistent buy-and-hold style, tending to let their winning stocks compound returns over longer periods of time.

The services, which provide online stock analysis and research with interactive discussion boards and other tools, cover a range of styles from small caps to international stocks, to options, to shorting.[1] The Motley Fool has operations in the UK,[2] Australia,[3] Canada,[4] Germany,[5] Singapore,[6] Hong Kong,[7] and Japan[8] In 2013, the Hulbert Financial Digest ranked the performance of 200-plus investment-advisory services over the last five years. Three Motley Fool services ranked in the top 3 positions.[9] In 2017, Motley Fool Asset Management launched its first exchange traded fund Fool100 (TMFC).[10] The Fool100 Index tracks the largest, most liquid U.S. companies that have been recommended by The Motley Fool LLC's analysts.[11] The Motley Fool's sister company, Motley Fool Asset Management, LLC is the investment advisor to three mutual funds.[12][13]

Podcasts & Newspaper Column[edit]

  • The Motley Fool runs the Motley Fool Money radio show and four other podcasts,[14] including:
    • Rule Breaking Investing hosted by David Gardner
    • Motley Fool Answers
    • Industry Focus
    • Market Foolery

The Motley Fool newspaper column is syndicated by Universal Uclick.[15]


The name "Motley Fool" is taken from Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It.[16][17]

In August 1994, brothers David and Tom Gardner parlayed their one-year-old investment newsletter into a content partnership with America Online.[18] An April Fool's joke designed to teach an investing lesson would put The Motley Fool on the map, and in The Wall Street Journal, for the first time.[19] Tom and David became the talk of the town (literally) after they were profiled in the New Yorker “Talk of the Town” section.[20] The story caught the attention of a talent agent in Manhattan who helped Tom and David land a book deal. The Motley Fool Investment Guide would go on to become a New York Times and Business Week bestseller.[21] Bloomberg wrote about The Motley Fool's "Fanatical following."[22] In Time Magazine, David declared: "This is a revolution."[23] Tom and David found themselves the cover story for the April 15, 1996 edition of Fortune Magazine.[24] In a PBS Frontline episode from January 14, 1997, a skeptical reporter digs deep into the stock market frenzy that is taking over in America...including those who are going online and "getting lots of so-called advice" from a bunch of "20-somethings".[25] In April 1997, the site was moved from AOL to the website.[26]

In 1999, Motley Fool ran into controversy with its eventually discredited Foolish Four investment theory, which had been marketed as a way to "crush mutual funds [in] only 15 minutes a year" by using a simple mathematical formula to find stocks likely to grow much more than average.[27][28] This stock-picking technique was referred to as "investment hogwash in its purest form" by Money writer Jason Zweig in an August 1999 article titled "False Profits." [29] Zweig also called it "one of the most cockamamie stock-picking formulas ever concocted" in his 2003 commentary in the revised edition of Benjamin Graham's acclaimed Value investing book, The Intelligent Investor.

Motley Fool writer Ann Coleman admitted in 2000 that the Foolish Four method "turned out to be not nearly as wonderful a strategy as we thought."[30]

During the financial crisis and the dot-com bubble collapse in 2001, the company ran into trouble, resulting in the loss of 80% of the staff in a series of three layoffs and the closure of its operations in Germany and Japan.[31]

Following the 2000–2002 stock market downturn, Motley Fool shifted from an advertising-based business model to a subscription-based business model. In April 2002, the company launched the first of its premium subscription services. David and Tom Gardner pick one stock each month in a brotherly competition to best each other and the S&P 500. They maintain a consistent buy-and-hold style, tending to let their winning stocks compound returns over longer periods of time.

Since inception, The Motley Fool has championed a level-playing field for individual investors. Over the years, they have testified against mutual fund fees,[32] in support of fair financial disclosure,[33] on the collapse of Enron,[34] and the IPO process.[35]

In 1999, the SEC proposed Regulation Fair Disclosure, which would require companies to simultaneously give important information to Wall Street analysts and the public at large. In December 1999, Bill Barker wrote an article titled "SEC Levels Playing Field" on and told readers to go to the SEC's site and post a comment.[36] In the July 2, 2001 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Arthur Levitt former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman is quoted saying “Two thirds of our letters came from Fools. Without them, Reg FD would not have happened.” [37]

Company Culture[edit]

The company received the 2014 and 2015 nationwide honor for being "the No. 1 Medium-Sized Company to Work for in the United States" from[38][39][40] In 2017, Washingtonian named The Motley Fool in their 50 Greatest Places to Work in DC.[41] In that same year, DC Inno named The Motley Fool one of the "coolest" places to work in Washington, D.C. Its employees are given significant flexibility, for example, unlimited vacation time,[42] in addition to numerous benefits, including traditional benefits such as health insurance as well as unique benefits such as haircuts and money specifically earmarked for investing in publicly traded companies.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Motley Fool". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  2. ^ "Home". The Motley Fool UK. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  3. ^ "Home". Motley Fool Australia. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  4. ^ "Home". The Motley Fool Canada. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  5. ^ "Home". The Motley Fool Deutschland (in German). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  6. ^ "Home". The Motley Fool Singapore. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  7. ^ "The Motley Fool Hong Kong | Helping the world invest. Better". (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  8. ^ "The Motley Fool Japan, K.K." (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  9. ^ Hulbert, Mark (2013-08-03). "Look Who's on Top Now". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  10. ^ "TMFC Motley Fool 100 ETF ETF Quote | Morningstar". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  11. ^ "Announcing the Fool 100: A new way to follow The Fool's top stocks". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  12. ^ "Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund Overview | Motley Fool Funds". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  13. ^ "Global Opportunities Fund Overview | Motley Fool Funds". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  14. ^ "Motley Fool Podcasts". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  15. ^ "Andrews McMeel Syndication", Wikipedia, 2018-08-24, retrieved 2018-10-01
  16. ^ "As You Like It", Wikipedia, 2018-10-01, retrieved 2018-10-01
  17. ^ "About The Motley Fool". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  18. ^ "Who Needs America Online?". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  19. ^ Doward, Jamie (2000-04-29). "If the jester's cap fits ..." the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  20. ^ "What a (Motley) Fool Believes". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  21. ^ "The Motley Fool Investment Guide". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  22. ^ "Terms of Service Violation". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  23. ^ ABBEY, JONATHAN A. (2001-06-24). "FOOLS AND THEIR MONEY". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  24. ^ "The Motley Fool on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  25. ^ Alpha Judge (2014-10-21), Betting on the Market (1997), retrieved 2018-10-01
  26. ^ "About The Motley Fool". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  27. ^ Graham, Benjamin (2003). The Intelligent Investor. Harper Collins. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-06-055566-1.
  28. ^ "Investor Home - Dow 10, Foolish Four and other Dow Dividend Strategies". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  29. ^, info AT (2015-06-24). "False Profits". Jason Zweig. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  30. ^ " Fool Four Moves On [Foolish Four] December 29, 2000". 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  31. ^ "A Wake for the Motley Fools". Washington Post. 2001-02-10. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  32. ^ " Mutual Funds -- Costs -- Mr. Gardner Goes to Washington". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  33. ^ "Testimony, Sept. 13 Hearing on Auditor Independence Proposal". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  34. ^ "Financial Collapse of Enron". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  35. ^ "Initial Public Offering Process". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  36. ^ Barker, Bill. " The SEC Needs Your Help (Special) March 21, 2000". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  37. ^ Journal, Ianthe Jeanne DuganStaff Reporter of The Wall Street. "Followers of the Motley Fool Are Suffering, and Not Gladly". WSJ. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  38. ^ "The Motley Fool Named the Best Medium-Sized Company To Work For in the US". The Motley Fool. December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  39. ^ Nycz-Conner, Jennifer (December 10, 2014), "The Motley Fool Tops Glassdoor's List of Best Places to Work", Washington Business Journal Morning Edition, retrieved December 12, 2014
  40. ^ Glassdoor (2014-12-09), Glassdoor: Motley Fool Repeats as #1 Best Small & Medium Company to Work For 2015, retrieved 2018-10-01
  41. ^ "50 Great Places to Work in Washington, DC | Washingtonian". Washingtonian. 2017-03-07. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  42. ^ "How a "Foolish" Culture Became a Recruiting Powerhouse for This Finance Company". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  43. ^ "Compensations & Benefits". Careers - The Motley Fool. Retrieved 10 July 2018.

External links[edit]