The true nature of our relationship…

Friday, 9 March 2018
Melbourne, Australia
By Kris Sayce

  • Report Card now available
  • Long weekend

Last Saturday was our most important publishing day of the year.

Today, if you’ll excuse us, is our second most important publishing day of the year.

What made that and this day so important?

It’s the release of something which, as far as we’re aware, is unique in the Australian financial publishing industry.

To our knowledge, there is only one other financial publishing business in the world that does something similar.

We know this because we ‘borrowed’ the idea from them. We’re glad we did. Because it allows us to show you, our readers, that we thrive from our open, honest, and completely voluntary relationship.

This is important, the fact that your relationship with us is completely voluntary. You subscribe to our investment services because you’ve seen something that interests you.

It could be a number of things. It could be a unique or interesting investment idea. It could be some kind of revelation about the economy or a certain technology. It could be any combination of things.

It could be based on the track record or strategy used by one of our editors or analysts. But whatever it is, the relationship is voluntary.

This is something I reinforce with our staff. I also reinforce it with some of our customers who seem to get irate, out of all proportions, when they see or read something they don’t like in our material.

Often we have to remind them: Do you really think it’s worth getting that upset over a $49 subscription?

Granted, we’re not disputing that folks have the right to be annoyed or angry if we fail to deliver on something. That’s perfectly understandable. But we just try to remind them of the voluntary nature of our relationship.

We don’t hire high-pressure salesman to visit your home, stick their feet in the door, and then refuse to leave until you’ve signed on the dotted line.

We don’t have relentless telemarketers calling your home phone or mobile number, badgering you to take out a subscription.

No. We don’t do that. Instead, we send you words. Words in an email. You are free to decide for yourself whether you read those words or not.

Often, those words encourage you to click on a link, which will take you through to a long sales letter. Those sales letters can be in excess of 8,000 words.

They can take 40 minutes or so to read…if you choose to do so. Again, no one forces you to read it. We ask you to. We encourage you to. And if we believe it’s really important, we implore you to.

You likely receive one or more of those emails each day. It drops into your inbox. You’re free to open it and read it…or not. The choice is yours.

For the folks who do read those letters, they sometimes ask us to get to the point. Why can’t we just sum up everything in a few paragraphs?

There are two answers to that. The first is, in our view, the more information we provide you, about the investment idea we’re proposing, the better.

Don’t you want to know what the opportunity is all about? Don’t you want to see that the idea has been well researched and analysed? Don’t you want to know that there is substance to the idea, not just a lame-brained, half-arsed idea?

We figure you do.

Surely you can’t tell us that you prefer fine print, referring you to a completely separate document, several hundred pages long, written in legalese. We can’t believe that would be true.

Secondly, the reason we provide you with longer sales letters is…well…because of you. It’s your fault! Analysis conducted over the past 40 years shows that the more information provided in a sales letter, the better the response.

Why? We guess because of the first point. Instead of an admonition to just subscribe to something because we say you should, we lay out the evidence in plain English. Black and white text, within an email or on a web page, allowing you the time to read it.

And importantly, to make up your own mind about whether this idea is something that suits your investment needs. If you think it is, you’ll give it a go. If you think it isn’t, you won’t.

Voluntary relationship.

Because of that voluntary relationship, we know that you can, at any time, stop subscribing to our services. All that takes is cancelling your renewal when your subscription term ends.

And wonderfully, there’s nothing we can do to stop that if you choose not to renew.

Why do we say that’s ‘wonderful’? Because that’s the nature, and beauty, of voluntary relationships within a free market. You are free to subscribe or not subscribe. And you are free to renew or not renew.

The voluntary nature of our relationship means that we know we have to perform to the best of our ability. We know that if you don’t like something we do, you’ll leave.

If you don’t like the track records or investment ideas from our individual services, you’ll leave. If you just get fed up or lose interest, you’ll leave.

That puts it on us as a business, on our editors and analysts, to come up with good and actionable ideas. It puts it on our marketing teams for finding new ways to attract new customers and retain existing customers.

We can only do that if we’re honest with our customers, and if we are open about the services we offer, and the performance of those services.

That’s why, in 2013, when we launched the Port Phillip Publishing Alliance program, we included something unheard of in the Australian financial publishing industry — an annual Report Card.

We’ve published the Report Card every year since then. And we’ll continue to publish it.

In previous years, my colleague Bernd Struben, the current regular editor of Port Phillip Insider, wrote the report. This year, due to Bernd’s increased duties here and with our Australian Tribune website and e-letter, we’ve taken over that responsibility.

We’re glad we did. It’s one of the most useful, informative, and eye-opening exercises. The Report Card provides an analysis of all of our current entry-level and premium-level investment advisories.

We’ve always summarised the aims of each service. But this year we’ve also provided four different measurements with which our Alliance members can measure the service’s performance.

Finally, we gave each service a grade…like the grades you get in school. If a service has — in your editor’s view, and based on the analysis — performed well, it could achieve a top grade of A++.

If a service performs poorly, it’s at risk of scoring an F.

We score these services without fear or favour. We don’t consult with the editors or analysts on the grade they’ll get. We don’t negotiate over it. And we don’t consider whether we’re ‘playing favourites’ or whether we’ll upset someone with their given score.

The only thing we do is to give them our analysis, and ask if it’s close to the record they keep. This year we only had to make one correction, which was our fault, where we had selected the wrong cell in the Excel spreadsheet.

So we believe the results and grades given in the Report Card are a fair reflection of the services offered. We believe they help to encourage the editors and analysts who have performed well…and they help to encourage the editors and analysts who haven’t quite performed as well.

Regardless, the end result is that we hope that this exercise means better ideas, research, analysis, and recommendations to you, our readers.

The voluntary nature of our relationship, between you and us, is very important. We must never forget it. And it’s that voluntary relationship which we believe is a major reason for the continued success of the services we provide.

Oh, and by the way, that Report Card is now available for non-Alliance members to download from the Port Phillip Publishing website.

You’ll find the link below, after we take a quick look at the markets…


Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 93.85 points, or 0.38%.

The S&P 500 closed up 12.17 points, or 0.45%.

In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 index ended the day up 35.92 points, or 1.06%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 gained 0.63%, and Germany’s DAX index closed up by 0.9%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index is up 191.67 points, or 0.90%. China’s CSI 300 is up13.37 or 0.33%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is up 20.5 points, or 0.34%.

On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$60.23 per barrel. Brent crude is US$63.78 per barrel.

Gold is trading for US$1318.65 (AU$1694.05) per troy ounce. Silver is US$16.49 (AU$21.18) per troy ounce.

The Aussie dollar is worth 0.78 US cents.

Bitcoin is US$8695.35.

Report Card now available

To download the latest Port Phillip Publishing Alliance Report Card, please click here.

The Report Card was first made available to Alliance members last weekend. It’s now available for all paying subscribers.

We hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to provide your feedback on the Report Card. Instructions for doing so are contained within the Report Card.

Long weekend

Finally, it’s a long weekend in Victoria. There will be a limited publishing schedule on Monday. We’ll be back in full force on Tuesday.