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Robin Speziale, 23

Occupation: consultant, author and entrepreneur

Portfolio: Manulife Financial Corp., Research In Motion Ltd., Royal Bank of Canada, Lassonde Industries Inc., Starbucks Corp., Tim Hortons Inc., Indigo Books & Music Inc., RioCan REIT, PepsiCo Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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A passion for investing:

A stock-picking assignment in Grade 10 sparked Robin Speziale's interest in investing. "I was amazed at how money could compound, and that investing in businesses could help one achieve wealth," he recalls.

Once he turned 18 and was "legally allowed to open an investment account," he started "heavily researching stocks" and read a great number of company annual reports. Last summer, after graduating from university, he wrote and self-published an e-book on investing, Lessons from the Successful Investor.

His approach:

"I am a value-growth investor in that I buy stocks that are depressed, trading below their intrinsic value," Mr. Speziale says. They must be quality, growing businesses with clear, competitive advantages. They should also be increasing dividends regularly.

Mr. Speziale recently added to his position in Manulife Financial when its shares dropped amid negative sentiment. "This was ideal as I was able to buy more shares of Manulife at an incredibly attractive price," he reports.

His position in Research In Motion was also recently increased "as its price-earnings ratio of 10 is highly attractive." Mr. Speziale adds: "RIM is an entrenched, scalable business platform that will be built upon far into the future …"

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He is 100-per-cent invested in stocks. His largest position, at 15 per cent of capital, is allocated to Manulife "as it currently represents the greatest potential for return."

Best move:

"My best investment move was investing in a little-known company, Lassonde Industries, which produces quality fruit beverages such as Allen's, Everfresh, Fairlee, Oasis, Rougemont and others. I netted a 45-per-cent gain in one year alone."

Worst move:

When he first started investing, he bought Lundin Mining at its $13 peak and sold at $4. He now has a rule to avoid capital-intensive businesses, like those in the mining, oil, and airline industries.

Advice:

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Mr. Speziale has a plenty of advice to pass on in his new book, which is available online at Smashwords.com. Pointers include: "profit from market folly, evaluate a business for advantage, evaluate a stock for value … [and]ignore industry and investor sentiment."

Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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