Simon is a recognized world expert in investing. He has tested dozens of investment clubs, communities and investment research services. His research has been featured on Bloomberg, Business Insider, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNet and more.
Private investor here, I am managing my own portfolio full time for nearly 12 years now.
I’ve been using SSI for about a year and I am very impressed with what I get and see. I have tried a dozen different services and the first thing I do is look at the general track record of their ideas. I don’t know how exactly the SSI team is picking their investments, but their track record is simply outstanding. Recently they’ve started publishing the tracking portfolio here, so I think these results speak louder than words: +70% during 2020 and similar returns in previous years on their tracking portfolio. The point is, that the fees paid to access the site pale in comparison to the benefits one receives.
The ideas published on SSI mainly revolve around the event-driven approach (so called Special Situation type investments, as can be guessed by the name of the site), so if you’re into this type of investing, you’ll discover a lot of interesting stuff there. And it is not limited to the classical Greenblatt style cases of merger arbitrage or spin-offs. The guys on SSI really dig up pretty unconventional situations covering tender offers, liquidations, bankruptcies, going private transactions, SPACs and etc. Some of the more exotic stuff is riskier but also delivers juicy returns – e.g. I loved METX warrant exchange write-up resulting in almost +200% gains within a month or AHT capital structure arbitrage which doubled my investment in an equally short period).
Personally, I find SSI really quick-paced and interactive. Clear indications of timeline and catalyst for every published idea really help and make such situations significantly more fun and easier to follow than the other deep value stuff that I do. Comment sections and follow-up discussions with other SSI members are invaluable – insightful and always to the point. Lots of smart guys on SSI and it’s nothing like comments one usually finds at the bottom of Seeking Alpha articles.
Around 10-12 ideas are published each month and I often find 3-4 cases that I end up investing in. Write-ups are clearly structured and investment thesis is usually well outlined and easy to follow. What I sometimes miss is more detailed background on the covered companies and their valuation – this would help paint a better picture of the whole situation. But hey, this type of info can be easily found elsewhere, so really not a big deal.
From time to time SSI also publishes educational pieces or deep dives into certain types of situations, investing strategies, etc. Good stuff there as well – I’ve adjusted the way I trade split-offs since their latest analysis and historical evidence on them.
What could really be improved is functionality of the site. I would love to see some features added in the future. For example, I really miss an easy way to connect directly with other SSI members – there is no chat option, just discussion threads under the articles There are smart and experienced members on SSI, so I feel like it would be really very interesting to eventually contact some of them (I love chatting about investments and politics).
I saw that one can also apply to get the membership by contributing a write-up, however, the requirement standards are supposedly high and I did not have the time to sit down to it yet (it would be a personal accomplishment to get accepted as well, so one day will have to sit down to it). Other members seem to be quite active in sharing special situation plays from around the globe, so it is possible to get in. But in any case, paying subscribers get the same access as contributors.
So, yeah, that’s pretty much it. I ended up praising the site quite a lot, however, I feel like it deserves the applause for the value it generates. Show me a service that consistently manages to achieve a similar track record and quality to SSI (hint: I haven’t found it yet).
Head of Research
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