Foreword. Preface. Prologue: Citi Saga. MY ROAD TO WINDSOR. Journey East. Grubbing It Out. Basic Training. Banker's Hours. Baptism by Fire. Taking Command at Windsor. ENDURING PRINCIPLES. Elements of Style. The Bargain Basement. Care and Maintenance of a Low P/E Portfolio. A MARKET JOURNAL. The Silly Season. Four Yards and a Cloud of Dust. The Right Stuff. Good Guys Persevere. Deja Vu. Epilogue: Rivers and Markets. Appendices. Index.
JOHN NEFF, until his retirement in 1995, was Senior Vice President and Managing Partner of the Wellington Management Company, the Windsor Fund's investment advisor. S. L. MINTZ is New York Bureau Chief of CFO magazine, a publication of the Economist Group dedicated to the latest financial thinking and how it is being implemented in today's markets. His other books include Beyond Wall Street (Wiley) and Five Eminent Contrarians.
From 1964 to 1995, Neff managed the large Windsor mutual fund, which consistently beat the stock market's average returns. In this wise and engaging volume, Neff and finance writer Mintz (Five Eminent Contrarians) team up to explain how Windsor did it and how smaller-scale investors might duplicate Neff's success. The result is half financial advice, half autobiography. Early chapters describe Neff's difficult family life in Texas and Michigan, his navy years and his early job in a Cleveland bank. Thereafter, Neff's investment advice alternates with year-by-year analyses of the market and of Windsor's performance. Neff and Mintz together craft clear, forceful prose, studded with personal asides: at the bank in Cleveland, "I was not inclined to play by their rules. Instead of bankers' pinstripes, I wore sport coats." Neff's core precept is simple: buy stocks that look bad to less-careful investors and hang on until their real value is recognized. This means seeking solid companies whose price/earnings ratios look low. "I've never bought a stock," he declares, "unless, in my view, it was on sale." That's not new advice, but Neff's success proves that he knows how to apply it: patience and willpower, he informs us, matter as much as (though not more than) rapt attention to business news and company reports. Bad analysis had almost sunk the Windsor fund when he arrived; Neff's first years there saw "go-go practitioners" and "adrenaline funds" temporarily surpass his returns, then collapse while Windsor persevered. Today's NASDAQ and Internet stock booms, Neff warns, looks like trends from ages past: they, too, will eventually weaken. Readers seeking up-to-the-minute stock tips or get-rich-quick advice may not like the message Neff delivers, but cooler heads seeking to make money over the long haul should enjoy, and benefit from, finding out how Neff invested very, very well. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Neff is a famous investor who led the Vanguard's Windsor Fund, once the largest mutual fund in the United States. Now retired, he wants to share his story and investing principles with others. Neff has been called contrarian because he doesn't blindly follow the herd of investors buying the hot, faddish stocksÄelectronics in the late 1950s, the go-go stocks of the late 1960s, the net-based stocks of today. Rather, he advocates investing in companies with a solid, intrinsic value, as denoted by a low price-to-earnings ratio and regular dividends. His book both tells the story of his career and explains, in detail, his investing principles. His long-term record of success is enviable (during his tenure, when Windsor posted an average yearly return of 13.7 percent, money managers considered him on a par with Warren Buffett). He writes in lively prose, keeps his chapters short, and uses language that will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in the market. Public and academic libraries that have a call for investment how-to books should buy this interesting, practical work.ÄPatrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., La Crosse Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.