Common Questions – We’re here to help
What are the goals of the Cogent Alpha service?
We believe that, for many intelligent & educated people, they’re the best person to decide how to manage their savings. This is not always the case, of course, but it often is.
If you’re an intelligent & educated person who’s chosen to manage their own savings, then we’re here to provide investment analysis & educational content to help guide you through some of the decisions you’ll need to make when managing your own savings.
Is this personalized financial advice?
Cogent Alpha’s content is not personalized to your specific situation, and it is not intended to be. We don’t know enough about you to do so, and we don’t seek such information as it isn’t required for our business model of publishing investment analysis and educational content.
If you’re after a personalized service, then Cogent Alpha probably isn’t for you. We have no problem with that – you’re in charge, after all – and we suggest you engage a registered financial adviser.
How do I start using the Cogent Alpha service?
We suggest you start by watching the introduction video that’s available on the members homepage. That video will guide you through the different features of the site. After viewing that video we suggest you start either by reading the “Getting Started / How We Invest” section, or jumping straight into our investment analysis in the “Stock Market Outlook” section or one of the sections on the companies in our portfolio.
How should I choose my first stocks?
First you should read and consider the material on the Getting Started page. That will provide guidance on some critical foundational decisions that you should make, such as which assets you should consider to be part of your investment portfolio, and how to set that portfolio up to invest in both stocks and bonds.
Then, you should decide how many stocks to buy. You can buy all stocks in the Cogent Alpha portfolio (note that Warwick Simons owns all of them), or you can select a handful to start with. It’s your choice, but you should note that diversifying your holdings across several stocks helps to lower the idiosyncratic risks that are inevitable when investing in equities.
We suggest that you start with our “Conviction Buys” if you’re deciding to invest in only some of the stocks we recommend, as these are our preferred choices right now.
The actual stock selection is up to you, but we can offer these general tips: first, choose a business that resonates with you – you’re much more likely to enjoy owning shares in a business if you’re proud of the firm and how it conducts its business; and second, start with small investments until you become more comfortable with the ups & downs (and long-term rewards) of investing in the stock market.
What are your ratings?
We believe each stock on our recommended list is an excellent investment. Cogent Alpha’s founder, Warwick Simons, owns all of our recommended stocks in his personal portfolio. We have put each stock into one of three categories, however, to help members decide which stocks they want to buy:
- Conviction Buys are the 3-5 companies that we believe are the best investments right now due to their combination of higher than average prospective returns at medium or lower than average risk (when compared with other stocks on our recommended list).
- Buys are companies that we believe are very good investments, but they’re not quite as attractive as investments as the companies on our Conviction Buy list, or those on our Caution Buy list.
- Holds are companies that we still own in our portfolio, but we have some reservations about and therefore our recommendation comes with a caveat. That caveat may be that the stock is a higher risk investment now, or that we’re considering removing it from our list of recommendations for other stocks that are more attractive right now. There is more information on why we’re cautious on the stock in the articles we’ve published on that company.
How is performance measured?
We track performance of our recommendations against the MSCI AC World market index so our current and potential members can assess whether following our recommendations is likely to help them beat the market over time. We strongly believe that performance measurement is an essential component of any investment research service, and challenge all our competitors who do not publish their performance to start doing so.
We measure performance of our recommended list on an “adjusted equal-weight” basis:
- “Buy” recommendations are all given an equal weight in the portfolio;
- “Conviction Buy” recommendations are given a 150% weight of a Buy recommendation;
- “Hold” recommendations are given a 50% weight of a Buy recommendation.
We re-balance the position sizes in our portfolio every quarter. We determine entry and exit prices based on the market’s closing price on the day after we publish a buy or sell recommendation.
We use the MSCI AC World equity index as our performance benchmark, as it is the index that best reflects performance of the global equity market.
More information on our methodology is available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you invest in the stocks on Cogent Alpha’s recommended list?
Yes, absolutely! That’s the whole point. Warwick Simons, who founded Cogent Alpha, owns all stocks on the recommended list. Other employees of Cogent Alpha LLC, or affiliated companies, may own stocks on the recommended list. We will always disclose who owns which stocks on the individual company pages.
How often is the Cogent Alpha Newsletter published?
We publish our newsletters twice per month. We moved to this publishing cadence in March 2019, because it will allow us to provide higher quality insights than our former approach of publishing a newsletter each week.
All our previous newsletters can be found in our newsletter archive in the members’ section of the site. After publishing each newsletter, we re-organize the content into sections based on the topics being discussed. This content is then shown in the different sections of newsletter dashboard.
What is the price of membership?
The standard price of membership is currently US$395 per year.
Do you offer free trials?
We don’t offer free trials as a matter of course, but we may offer them from time to time as part of promotional activity.
How do I manage my account details?
You can manage your account details via the “Account” option in the top-right corner of the website. You can change your personal details, your display name for comments, your password, and any subscription details in this section.
How do I manage my subscription renewal?
All subscriptions will automatically renew at the specified time, unless the member has turned off automatic renewal on their account page.
Do you offer refunds?
We recognize that mistakes happen, and therefore we offer refunds within the first 24 hours of a membership period, or in other exceptional circumstances, if an application is made to email@example.com.
Your data is your data, not ours. We will not sell your data, but in order to provide our investment newsletter services we may share your data with service providers such as: web hosting partners; web developers; marketing software; payment processors; web shop systems; professional service providers; and, if required by law, law enforcement agencies.
If you do not consent to this use then please do not engage Cogent Alpha’s services.
If you have a burning question about Cogent Alpha’s service that’s not answered here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please restrict these questions to account and service-related questions, and ask any content related questions on the discussion boards.