2012 Feste Award Winner Announced!
The results are in, and thanks to all who nominated and voted for the 2012 Feste Award!
This year's festivities were a bit subdued, no doubt due to the passing of a long-time Fool stalwart and greatest champion of the Feste Award, MichaelRead. Time after time he was nominated and championed robustly (most energetically by himself), only to fall at the last moment and fail to grasp the prize. But finally, he was over the top for the 2007 Feste Award. Michael was a rapier wit, an unparallelled humorist, and a generous educator; the very embodiment of a true Fool. We still miss him in myriad ways. Rest easy, Michael.
This year's winner is no less an educator; working tirelessly to express opinions and generate discussion of complex subjects and investing information. A worthy holder of the title indeed!
My claim to fame is being the most conservative investor on the METAR and REIT boards. I am not exactly sure it is something to be proud of, but it is hardwired into my genetic code these days. I manage a number of portfolios for “widows and orphans.” OK, so the widow part is accurate, but the orphan part is slightly exaggerated. For me personally, I rely on investment returns to feed the Yoda family. There is no other source of income like salary, social security, pension or handouts from benevolent big brother. Since the Yoda family is not fond of eating Alpo, having consistent positive returns is somewhat critical. Most investors benchmark themselves against some index, for example, the S&P 500. Their goal is to have a better return than the benchmark. If the S&P loses 20% in a year, such investors would be happy if their portfolio only lost 18%. An 18% loss in any of our accounts would have me looking for a tall building to jump off of.
Accordingly, my investing goal is very different: it is to have a positive return each and every year. One of the challenges is strong up years for the market; I sit back watching when everyone else is printing money. It is a real challenge to maintain your discipline and NOT chase performance in times like those. In down years, everyone worships at the church of “absolute returns” and market timing. In up years, many investors switch to the church of go-go momentum. I attend the church of absolute returns, year in and year out. It is NOT for everyone, which I why I do NOT evangelize or attempt to convert other Fools.
One other point. We have all heard investment pundits that are “Often wrong, but never in doubt.” My philosophy is “Occasionally right, and always in doubt.” Other than living in a cave and training Jedi warriors, I claim no divine powers. I have found it advantageous to always be “humble on Wall Street.”
I was blessed to have a wonderful investment mentor, now deceased. This man took me by his side for many years and explained the ins and outs of investing. This was several decades ago but I still rely on the approach and methodology that he taught me. He was the original Yoda. BTW, he retired and lived off of investment returns at the age of 35, so there was some credibility in his words.
Long ago, in a distant galaxy, I took a few classes in math, physics, computer science and engineering. On the way to law school, I took a position at a Fortune 5 company, then went to a Fortune 500 company, then was part of a group that started a company. The last company grew from zero to $500 million in revenue over the years. I hired and supervised a few people, about 1,000, over the years.
Runner Up: Dfish
From the Nomination:
This note nominates Dave Fish -- who goes by the name "dfish" on the boards -- for the Feste award. One of the more prolific posters on the Dividend Growth Investing board, Dave maintains the list of Dividend Champions, companies with long track records of paying and raising their dividends.
His work is incredibly valuable for any dividend-growth oriented investor, as not only does he maintain the list, but he's always willing to answer questions on the list and on other dividend-related topics as well.
As is Feste custom, here are three of his 2012 posts:
http://boards.fool.com/updated-dividend-champions-30408151.aspx (the Dividend Champions update through November 2012)
http://boards.fool.com/the-announcement-of-the-special-dividend-came-on-30402450.aspx (Talking about a special dividend & the Mayan end of the world prophecy)
http://boards.fool.com/it-was-the-first-champion-to-reduce-its-dividend-30183150.aspx (talking about how a company got pulled off the Dividend Champions list for a dividend cut.
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