Tom Loftus, 64
Retired engineer, Ontario Power Generation
Canada Bread Co., Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, TransCanada Corp., Enbridge Inc., Investors Group Inc., Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp.
Retired and living in Oshawa, near Ontario Power Generation's Darlington nuclear power station where he worked as an engineer, Tom Loftus shares the same goal as many people in his long-running investment club – to not spend too much time managing his portfolio, but to enjoy looking into businesses while also trying to earn a 15-per-cent annual return.
How he does it
Along with the other members of his investment club, Mr. Loftus got started using the methodology of John Bart and the Canadian ShareOwner organization. This involved finding companies that paid a dividend and had growing sales, as well as revenues that were rising at an even greater rate. Today, he uses the Investor's Toolkit software offered by ICLUBcentral (iclub.com), and often buys stock data from the American non-profit National Association of Investors Corp. (betterinvesting.org).
One big reason Mr. Loftus likes his approach is it saves him from having to manage his portfolio daily. "You only need to check the news and ensure the story is still the same and they haven't changed what they're doing."
Why he avoids small companies
"With younger companies you either have to have insider knowledge or spend a lot of time reading up on them," he says. "And a lot of these companies can change on a dime." More importantly, given the market's current state of nervousness, he says, small-cap stocks are usually the first ones investors jettison.
Mr. Loftus is more than happy with his shares of RBC, which he first bought way back in 1985, and has been steadily buying over the years through its dividend reinvestment plan. "They have a number of franchises, like personal banking, credit cards, wealth management." And, he adds, pointing to the bank's withdrawal from the U.S. market, "They're smart enough to get out of things they don't do well."
Mr. Loftus first bought shares in JDS Uniphase back in the early days of the tech bubble, paying in the teens and getting out in the low 20s. However, his mistake was buying back in at around $70. As he readily admits, he wasn't buying according to his usual strategy: "I got into it for the momentum."
"Investing is a long-term project. Try and pick things that are going to have slow and gradual long-term growth. Then you won't have to manage your stock portfolio every day."
Special to The Globe and Mail
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