Fri 4:19pm


Occupation: Newsletter Writer

Interests: Stocks

About Me:

I’m Stephen Bland and have been investing in shares, following markets and advising others on this for around 50 years, with a particular interest in value and high yield approaches. My professional background is that I qualified in 1971 as a chartered accountant and after a short time set up my own practice, running it successfully for several decades and retiring from it in the early noughties. More recently I qualified as a Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

For many years until 2013 I wrote about my value and high yield share investing methods for the Motley Fool UK website. In 2008 I decided to start my own equity income tipsheet, The Dividend Letter, which closed in early 2019 after my publisher, not me, decided that it was insufficiently profitable for them. The Dividend Letter followed my own high yield portfolio strategy that I had developed earlier, the novel attraction being the exclusive focus on dividend income and giving up on the whole idea of trading for gains.

I continue to write about HYPs on Stockopedia and sometimes elsewhere.

Investment Strategy
I trade... extremely rarely
I tend to buy... according to my system
I hold for... years
Diversification is ... essential to reduce risk

My original investment strategy that I evolved after very early failures from following press tips was a version of deep value that I called PYAD. This was my acro for the four filters of low P/E; high Yield; Assets in the form of Tangible Book/Price > 1; Debt free, ie. holding net cash.

My principal aim in this was firstly to minimise the downside before I considered any trading upside to a share. I knew it wouldn't work in every case, there was bound to be the odd failure, but I reckoned that overall it would perform well. I was right and it did, producing handsome returns over the years. I sometimes took big risks by betting the farm on a single play. Not something I'd advise others to do.

Around 2000 I developed the non-trading High Yield Portfolio equity approach for income investors. This was a branch from my value trading ideas and in particular the high yield element of that and it is what I follow principally with my own substantial equity investments today.

Initially the HYP was aimed at retired or other people needing income with a lump sum to invest but I soon realised that it could suit everyone from birth onwards since it could be built up by regular contributions as well as lump sums. Those not yet in need of the dividends simply reinvest them so as to boost the eventual income. It is so straightforward, enabling seamless and cost free switching from reinvesting dividends to withdrawing them whenever the time arose.

Why the controversial no-trading rule? Having observed many small investors over the years, I believe that too many of them hinder their performance by poor trading results and that a buy and hold approach will provide superior returns. It also has the side benefit of not having to watch share prices constantly, reduces administration and avoids having to make decisions.

I didn't invent high yield share investing, it is a very old idea. My contribution was to devise a set of simple rules for portfolio construction and maintenance in order to minimise risks and administration. Chief amongst these is portfolio diversification, the most basic rule of all.

Stephen Bland's Latest Blogs

Share 1 Over the next few weeks I intend to construct a High Yield Portfolio here to show how I do it. I'll choose a new sector quite frequently, every day or few days, based on my personal construction rules for the strategy and using Stockopedia's excellent database as a starting point for each share selection.   To faciliate this I use the Stockopedia FTSE100 (UKX)…

Anyone interested in discussing this investment approach? I wrote a series of articles on Stockopedia a while back introducing here my particular version of HYP investing which follows the strategy that I launched originally on The Motley Fool back in 2000.  You can read the original HYP series here. Since March 2008 I have featured the HYP approach in my subscription newsletter dedicated to the…

This is part #6 of Stephen Bland's High Yield Portfolio Series on Stockopedia.    Last week I looked at whether selection methods and filters might be able to exclude shares that go on later to prove troublesome by suspending or cutting dividends, perhaps even going bust, though I’ve never picked one of the latter so far. I employ selection filters to omit what appear to be…

 This is part 5 in the Stockopedia High Yield Portfolio series by Stephen Bland (HYP).  Last week I compared the various methods of holding the shares in an HYP from the taxation and other angles. Also I reviewed briefly the suitability of the strategy for more elderly investors likely to be requiring immediate income, dismissing common industry advice that equities for such people ought to…

This is part 4 in the Stockopedia High Yield Portfolio series by Stephen Bland (HYP).    Last week I considered the desirability of certain types of investment for a UK based HYPer in addition to the usual home market equities. This week I’ll explore the various holding vehicles for an HYP and also whether the investor’s age has any bearing on the strategy.  There are three…

Stephen Bland's Latest Comments

What you fail to point out is that those IT portfolios delivered a lower income than HYPs, as the trade-off for the reduced income volatility. I stress that I'm not against ITs so it comes down to the level of income required and risk that the investor is prepared to take, which will vary amongst people. As for the smoothing effect of ITs resulting from…

Dividend cuts, even suspensions, by some companies will occur inevitably in an HYP. I doubt there's ever been an HYP which has not not suffered from this on several occasions over time and HYPers have to able to live with it. But as you suggest, that's why it has to be a diversified portfolio. In any event, what really matters is total portolio income over…

My suggested way of running an HYP is never to sell voluntarily. However what I've termed "market trading" will take place over the years to effect changes to the portfolio. This is the market trading for you by way of mandatory corporate activity such as bids, demergers, cash returns etc. and over time these events are likely to prove beneficial, on balance, far more so…

I regret that I am not permitted by financial services legislation to give that sort of personal financial advice so it has to be your call. For what it's worth, my final status review on utes in TDL before it closed a couple of months ago was Hold, which applies to those already owing them at that point.

I notice that the top 3 fallers on the FTSE100 today are Aviva (LON:AV.) Standard Life Aberdeen(LON:SLA) and ITV (LON:ITV) all down over 4%, if anyone is thinking of buying them this could be an opportunity. Apart from any market movements the reason is that all these went xd today. (and added later after your additional post on the subject) Further to my post about …

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