- The Motley Fool
Motley Fool Type Private Founded July 1993 Founder David and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia, United States Slogan To Educate, Amuse & Enrich Website http://www.fool.com
The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for investors through various stock, investing, and personal finance products. 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 approximately 200 people.
The Motley Fool offers a wide range of stock news and analysis at its free website, 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.
In June 2009, Motley Fool Funds launched its first mutual fund, Motley Fool Independence Fund.
In November 2010, Motley Fool funds launched Motley Fool Great America Fund.
In August 1994, brothers David and Tom Gardner parlayed their 1-year-old investment newsletter into a content partnership with America Online. The Motley Fool gained renown for its early recommendations of stocks, such as America Online (AOL) and Amazon.com, 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 "Fools," as the site's enthusiasts refer to themselves, migrated their home page off AOL and onto the Fool.com website and established a site in the UK, fool.co.uk.
Motley Fool content is available to the public on Fool.com, in its Motley Fool Money podcast, and nationally syndicated newspaper column. The Gardners have written several bestselling books on investing, most recently New York Times bestseller Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio, published in December 2008. The best-known of these is The Motley Fool Investment Guide, which in 2003 was called the "#1 All-Time Classic" by investment club members of the NAIC.
When the plentiful financing dried up and the Dot-com bubble collapsed in 2001, the company, in common with its peers, ran into trouble, resulting in the loss of 80% of the staff in a series of three layoffs and the closure of its nascent operations in Germany and Japan. Following the 2000–2002 downturn of the stock market and the Internet, The Motley Fool started to offer more services, such as a range of investment styles from small-cap stock investing to growth and technology stocks to dividend investing.
A December 2005 Washington Post article detailed the Motley Fool's 10-year lease for new offices in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, taking over office space vacated by Time-Life.
In September 2006, the company unveiled its newest offering—Motley Fool CAPS—a service which monitors and ranks the most successful stock pickers amongst its members.
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. According to Mark Hulbert of The Hulbert Financial Digest, for the past five years the brothers have earned an average return of 22%, annualized, versus a comparable return of 7% for the Wilshire 5000. They maintain a consistent buy-and-hold style, tending to let their winning stocks compound returns over longer periods of time.
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Community discussion boards
The Motley Fool hosts on-line discussion boards for the purpose of helping people make better financial decisions. 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, with frequent posters first awarded free subscriptions to their favorite newsletters, to eventually receiving a small stipend and "TMF" username moniker to patrol the boards. Some veteran posters have gone on to found investment newsletters and hedge funds of their own.
The Foolish Four
In 2000, the Motley Fool ran into controversy with its eventually discredited Foolish Four investment theory. The theory had been constituted squarely on the shoulders of the Dogs of the Dow analysis popular at the time. In the same year, Motley Fool writer Ann Coleman admitted that the Foolish Four method "turned out to be not nearly as wonderful a strategy as we thought."
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