Bernard's Story

How did you pick investments before you used Stockopedia?

"I have always been interested in stocks and shares. I only really became serious when the internet meant I could open a trading account with Stocktrade. This meant I could get rid of shares certificates and not have to go to the bank to buy or sell them anymore - not knowing if you got a good deal or not either way.

I was lucky to work for Imperial Tobacco and eventually was senior enough to have share options. Most of my initial purchases were as a result of the privatisations of the Thatcher government. i.e. large companies that I already knew about. I took a cautious approach with an eye on dividend yield and holding for the longer term. I also read investment books and articles.

My investing became a more serious activity when I retired in 2003, taking it up as an intellectual interest to go with my other practical ones. As a scientist I was involved in data analysis and developing models. I slowly sold my Imperial holdings and diversified into other larger companies - not always successfully. I was never totally happy that I got the right neutral information from my brokers. Given the Woodford fiasco, I was right to be concerned.

An article in the FT alerted me to Stockopedia and I am glad I joined."

Has using Stockopedia changed your approach to investing?

"Stockopedia really changed my approach. It provided all the information I needed to open up the investing universe in a timely manner - and had all the information in one place.

Initially I spent time understanding the StockRanks and the filters provided by the screens. I had access to screens based on all the guru names I knew from my past reading, and suddenly I was spoiled for investment choice. Being cautious, I initially tried to stick to high StockRank shares with an emphasis on Quality and Momentum In the past I had found Value investing more difficult, not being able to interpret accounts to quantify value. Given my exit from IMT I then decided an asset allocation policy to spread risk.

I then started reading daily the Small Cap Value Reports. My friend who I discuss trading with was always dealing in small caps as he believed that they offered greater potential for profit. I then chose to slowly invest in the small caps which (based on Paul's and Jack's analysis) I a) understood , b) were financially sound and c) ideally had a reasonable stock rank.

Stockopedia's recent suggestion for setting stop losses based on the StockRanks classification has solved another problem. Setting stop losses on any trading platform always resulted in the shares being sold by the brokers manipulating the intraday swings at some point to my disadvantage. So I now just watch my position on an excel spreadsheet and make selling decisions on that basis.

With Stockopedia, my investment style has definitely changed. I now have a more balanced approach with a foot in all camps."

"Stockopedia provided all the information I needed to open up the investing universe in a timely manner - and had all the information in one place." - Bernard

Has Stockopedia impacted your investment results or quality of life?

"In the past I was happy to achieve an average yearly return of 6-8%, i.e. beating inflation. My first year with Stockopedia the return was similar to this as I was rebalancing my portfolio. This year so far my return is in double figures and has exceeded any past year since I retired."

What's your advice for investors that are just starting out?

"My advice to new investors would be the same as I gave my children:

1. Don't invest in anything you don't understand

2. Understand all the costs involved in dealing

3. Accept your mistakes as a learning experience

4. Be cautious initially so you don't get wiped out

5. Know your own strengths and weaknesses with regard to losses and risk

6. Do it for the long term

7. Read widely as much as possible"

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