The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions 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 and Tom Gardner; and Erik Rydholm, who has since left. The company employs more than 300 people.
The Motley Fool offers a wide range of stock news and analysis at its free website, www.fool.com, as well as through a variety of paid investment advice services. The services, many of which combine a traditional paper newsletter with interactive electronic discussion boards and other tools, cover a range of styles from small caps to international stocks, to options, to shorting.
Motley Fool Culture
In June 2009, Motley Fool Funds launched its first mutual fund, Motley Fool Independence Fund. As of mid-December 2014, the fund (FOOLX) had outperformed the Russell 2000 index by almost 20 percentage points and earned 3 out of 5 stars from Morningstar.
In November 2010, Motley Fool funds launched Motley Fool Great America Fund. As of mid-December 2014, the fund (TMFGX) had outperformed the Russell 2000 and the most popular low-cost ETF tracking the Russell 2000, the iShares Russell 2000 (IWM), by almost 20 percentage points and earned a 3-star rating from Morningstar.
In August 1994, brothers David and Tom Gardner parlayed their one-year-old investment newsletter into a content partnership with America Online. The Motley Fool gained renown for its early recommendations of stocks, such as Amazon.com, America Online (AOL), Amgen, eBay, PayPal, and Starbucks, and was featured in a cover story for Fortune magazine (1996) about the emergence of online interactive discussion as a new form of investment research. In April 1997, the site was moved from AOL to the Fool.com website, and a UK site, Fool.co.uk, was established.
Motley Fool content is available to the public on Fool.com and fool.co.uk, and in its Motley Fool Money podcast and nationally syndicated newspaper column. The Gardners have written several bestselling books on investing, most recently the New York Times Best Seller Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio, published in December 2008. Their third book, Rule Makers and Rule Breakers, was published in 2000. Their best-known book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide, was in 2003 called the "#1 All-Time Classic" by investment club members of the NAIC.
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. Following the 2000–2002 stock market downturn, Motley Fool started to cover more strategies, such as a range of investment styles from small cap stock investing to growth and technology stocks, to dividend investing.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor
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.
- Motley Fool Hidden Gems - Small cap stocks
- Motley Fool Hidden Winners (UK) - UK small cap stocks
- Motley Fool Income Investor - A newsletter focusing on high yield stocks
- Motley Fool Inside Value - A newsletter for value investors
- Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio - A managed portfolio of $1 million of The Motley Fool's own money
- Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio 360 - A service that combines access to the Million Dollar Portfolio with access to most other newsletters
- Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio Deep Value - Concentrated portfolio for Value investors
- Motley Fool One - Allows subscribers to view all the newsletters in one place
- Motley Fool Options - An options recommendation service used in conjunction with investments in securities
- Motley Fool Pro
- Motley Fool Pro (UK) - £100,000 real-money portfolio
- Motley Fool Rule Breakers - David Gardner and a team of analysts choose mid-cap companies they see as using disruptive innovation to change the marketplace
- Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement - Retirement planning advice
- Motley Fool Share Advisor (Australia)
- Motley Fool Share Advisor (UK) - UK growth and income shares
- Motley Fool Special Ops
- Motley Fool Supernova - Gives subscribers access to a team of analysts building a portfolio of David Gardner's stocks. This service consists of three portfolios: one for regular wage earners, another for people nearing retirement, and a third portfolio which pits baskets of stocks against each other in a battle to see the "best of the bunch". Returns on the Odyssey portfolio were 67.1% growth after 28 months (as of October 2014)[not in citation given]
Community discussion boards
The Motley Fool hosts online discussion boards. Registered users can get access to all non-newsletter boards that cover a variety of stock, personal finance, and investing concepts. The discussion boards are used heavily to recruit future Motley Fool staffers; frequent posters are first awarded free subscriptions to their favorite Motley Fool newsletters then eventually receive a small stipend and "TMF" username moniker to patrol the boards.
The Foolish Four
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". This stock-picking technique was referred to as "investment hogwash in its purest form" by Money (magazine) writer Jason Zweig in an August 1999 article titled "False Profits." 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."
The Motley Fool Blog Network was a stock analysis and news site that provided a platform for non-Motley Fool staff writers to submit articles. They received compensation ranging from $50–$100 for each article submitted and additional compensation for how many recommendations or "editors picks" they received. Eventually the company merged the Blog Network with its primary site, syndicating bloggers' articles alongside those written by in-house staff and making the beta.fool.com blogging platform defunct. In July 2014, after Yahoo announced its new Yahoo Finance Contributors platform, Motley Fool was negatively impacted, as a significant percentage of traffic to its website relied on syndication of articles via Yahoo Finance. This led the company to sever relationships with the majority of its freelance contributors and former bloggers.
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- Harold Bloom & Pamela Loos (2007). As You Like It. p. 10. "Indeed, after meeting Touchstone, Jaques wants to change his own life, to take on the life of a motley fool himself."
- William Shakespeare (2004). As You Like It. Sparklesoup Classics. p. 23.
DUKE SENIOR. Why, how now, monsieur! what a life is this, That your poor friends must woo your company? What, you look merrily! JAQUES. A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' th' forest, A motley fool.
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