A Small-Cap Growth Approach That Quadruples The Market

In his latest column for Seeking Alpha, Validea CEO John Reese takes a look at a strategy that has been a consistent winner even though it focuses on an area of the market — small growth stocks — known for volatility and risk.

“Investing in small growth stocks doesn’t have to be an emotional roller coaster. If you use a thorough, well-rounded, fundamental-focused strategy, you should be able to limit some of your downside risk by steering clear of fast-growing paper tigers that are more style than substance,” Reese writes. He looks at his Motley Fool-inspired approach, which has been his best individual Guru Strategy over the long haul while being only slightly more volatile than the S&P 500.

“Since I started tracking it in July 2003, a 10-stock portfolio picked using the Fool-based method has gained 466% (through April 27; all performance figures exclusive of dividends and fees). That’s 15.8% annualized during a period in which the S&P 500 has averaged annual gains of just 6.5%,” Reese says. He adds that the Fool portfolio has made money in all but one of its 12 years, and the lone exception was 2008, when it lost far less (25.0%) than the S&P (38.5%).

How has the approach, based on a methodology laid out by Fool co-creators Tom and David Gardner, fared so well in a variety of different environments? “By being thorough — very thorough,” Reese says. “While all of my models look at a variety of variables, the Fool-based strategy looks at more than any of them, examining about 17 different criteria.” He looks at those variables, and at a handful of stocks that rate highly using the model. Among them: Universal Insurance Holdings (UVE).