Meet the Experts: Benj Gallander

07/28/2017 2:49 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Benj Gallander

President, Contra the Heard

In this special "Meet the Experts" series, we asked our investing experts to speak directly with our readers, discussing their backgrounds, investment strategies, and reviewing their presentations at the upcoming The MoneyShow Toronto.

I'm Benj Gallander, of the Contra the Heard investment letter. I've written three bestselling books, two about the stock market, one on how to start and operate a business; myself and my business partner, Ben Stadelmann, we write for the Globe and Mayo.

We've been doing it for over 16 years, a column called The Contra Guys. I'm a regular on the business news network market call; also regular on CBC's On The Money.

In terms of the investment letter, we are contrarian. We buy into stocks that are out of favor and that we feel have better than 100% upside, often 200%, 300%, 400%. There's nothing high in the sky about it, though. All of the companies that we buy into have traded at the higher levels in the past.

All of the companies in the portfolio I manage have been around for at least 10 years, so we have a pretty good idea what they've done. People pay $680 a year to become a subscriber and we're different in that we only take 1000 subscribers.

The 15-year annualized return is 19%. We buy into a lot of companies that people know. For example, we paid $6 and change for Bank of America. We own Blackberry. We used to own Yahoo that we paid $11.11 for.

We love buying into sectors that are out of favor; so, for example, when the US financial crisis was on, we bought a lot of banking stocks and sold quite a few.

As of a few weeks ago, 37% of the portfolio was in American Financial, but we sold Bank of Commerce holdings that we paid $4.01 for at $11.65 and also paid a dividend, and that's the kind of thing that we try to do regularly.

A lot of our portfolio is, indeed, in Canada. Much of it is in the US. We have about 20 companies in each portfolio with a certain amount of overlap. We publish four times a year and that goes by snail mail. We send emails when we buy or sell a position.

When we buy something, we say: This is what we bought. This is the price we paid. This is why we like it. This is why we don't like it. Subscribers make their own decision.

Again, we're different in that when we sell a position we tell people. We're effectively in bed with subscribers because we own the positions that we write about.

Currently we have stocks in eight countries, so there is a certain amount of diversification. When I'm speaking, I'm going to talk about just simple things that people can do to improve their investment return, so some of them are fairly basic. Some are more complex.

I'm also going to talk about our system and other systems that we use that effectively help comprise our system. We've been doing this investment letter for almost 25 years. We've tweaked it over the years, so now we believe we have an awfully good methodology and the proof is in the pudding.

I speak at a number of different events. I love speaking at the MoneyShow events. I've spoken in Canada, Toronto, Vancouver, in the US, Palm Springs, Vegas, New York. I also spoke in South Africa. I'm looking forward to coming to this event.

If you want to contact me, my email is gall@pathcom.com. Hope to see you at the MoneyShow.

Learn more about Benj Gallander hereā€¦

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