Riding the Coattails of Big Investors for Big Profits
I never used to have an intern.
I always felt they were more trouble than they were worth.
There is an enormous amount of information out there to look through, and I always believed I would be better off if I looked at it all myself.
That was until a cool October day more than 20 years ago when I met with a good friend who was one of the most successful investors I knew.
This guy didn’t make many trades in a year. In fact, he hardly traded at all.
He would spend months researching a company and then wait even longer for the stock price to hit his target.
However, when everything lined up, he backed the truck up and bought as much as he could.
He usually invested 20–25% of his net worth into one position.
Since I’ve known him, I don’t think he's ever had a losing trade.
Some of his holdings went on to be 10-baggers. In fact, I can think of a few stocks that he owned that went up even more.
His research team was just him and a college intern.
The intern collected all the information he needed, and then he would lock himself in his office for weeks on end, devouring it all.
So, on that cool October day, we went to lunch. Nothing fancy, just a reason for the two of us to get together.
It was then that he told me about something he was doing that upended my research process and got my head spinning.
I already knew how deeply he researched companies. He once told me where the CEO of a certain company he was looking at shopped for clothes!
But what really got me excited was when he told me how he got his ideas on what stocks to look at.
He called it “coattail" investing. In simple terms, this meant keeping an eye on what other great investors were buying and riding their coattails to profits.
He said it was easy to identify great traders. The part that required a little more work was looking over their shoulders to see what they were buying.
I asked him how he could legally do that.
It was then he told me about SEC form 13F.
Since 1975, when Congress passed Section 13(f), advisors with more than $100 million have needed to disclose all their long United States holdings and file them with the SEC.
My friend would then request copies of the filing after they became public and jot down the new positions the investors he followed bought. Today, it’s as easy as going to the SEC’s website.
Simple, elegant, and straightforward.
No one has a monopoly on ideas, and he wasn’t shy to give credit to others. Instead of trying to come up with ideas on his own, he had a constant flow of great ideas each quarter… for free!
That lunch date changed my thinking.
I immediately hired a research intern to contact the SEC each quarter and scour the 13Fs for new ideas.
Now, when I see two or more great investors who I follow start building a sizeable position in a company, my alarm bells go off, and I start researching to see if I can find out why they are buying.
I recently recommended a stock right after I read a 13F of an activist investor pushing for change. In just a few months, the stock was up 35%.
Another stock we just recommended was being accumulated by some of the best investors on Wall Street. These companies only bet big when everything lines up perfectly.
In less than two weeks, the stock was already up by double digits.
Coattail investing is a shortcut that every investor can follow. It’s an easy way to leverage the greatest investment minds with just a few clicks every quarter.
If you’re not getting ideas from great investors, you’re truly missing out on some easy profits.
All my best,
Charles cut his chops on the trading floor of the New York Futures Exchange before moving on to become a wildly successful money manager on Wall Street.
And with more than 35 years of recommending stocks under his belt, Charles has knocked the cover off the ball, compiling an amazing record of success and posting gain after gain for his loyal readers. He is the editor of Park Avenue Investment Club and the Insider Alert newsletters.
Charles is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Getting Started in Value Investing.