Fleckenstein Capital

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DB2776
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DB2776
November 27, 2009 10:37 am

Bill Fleckenstein’s newsletter.

Before I begin, let me state that I contacted Mr. Fleckenstein and politely detailed the concerns that you are going to read below. Mr. Fleckenstein replied to my email almost immediately and in the subject box in capital letters called me a “cry baby” for contacting him with my concerns. This is how he reacts to a paying customer, he calls them names.
$120 many be a drop in the bucket to a successful former hedge fund manager but it is a lot of money to me and likely many others out there. It is hurtful to receive such a mean spirited reply from a man that I initially felt was one of the few upstanding money managers out there. His reply instantaneously shows that he cares nothing about his subscribers concerns and feels just to continue providing meager content and at times nothing at all.

I should have realized that something was not right with his subscription as he does not provide a “sample” report to review prior to purchasing the subscription. Moreover, he does not offer pro rated refunds hence once you pay and realize that you are getting nothing of value there is nothing you can do about it.

On to the review.

If you are considering subscribing to Bill Fleckenstein’s newsletter think twice. Stick to reading his FREE blog on MSN as he delivers far more information there than in his paid subscription. In fact, he provides far more insightful passionate commentary free on MSN and then seems to clam up on his paid site.

To be exact, paying subscribers are lucky if they receive a paragraph of information nightly. The vast majority of this paragraph consists of a very superficial over view of the day’s market action, and for those that watch the market all day every day the information is pointless.

The commentary that he does provide is very shallow and by this I mean you get the sense that he goes out of his way not to divulge his insights or feelings regarding the direction of the market, his own trading / investment plans, or any useful advice for that matter. He does on occasion plug some obscure Canadian mining companies and a handful of tech stocks.

Asking him a question via his “ask fleck” commentary is pointless, as his answers are generally very short and curt and often do not answer the persons question. Your fortunate to receive a stiff yes, no, I don’t know, or a curt response that makes one feel like an idiot for even bothering him.

Take this recent subscriber question for instance:

Dear Fleck,

I’ve been a subscriber for years. I like to sell stocks short when appropriate, but I’ve had a terrible time trying to find a brokerage which offers me shorting opportunities.

Can you please recommend a couple of brokerages which are short-friendly?

Thank you very much in advance,

(Fleck’s reply)

• Sorry, to be brutally honest…it sounds like you are new to this and I’d suggest extreme caution…

Maybe Fleckenstein is right and this guy or gal is inexperienced and by no means does he have to suggest a broker however does a paying customer, especially one who has seemingly been paying him for years, not deserve a bit more than what he provided? he could suggest forums like Elite Trader and the likes, just something more than the pitiful reply he gave.

Frankly, his newsletter is no more than a platform for him to express his disdain for our government and its gross overspending, Bernanke and friends, and of course Greenspan. That is fine, his disdain is well placed, heck that is why he caught my attention and my hard earned money in the first place, but for the love of God why can he not share a few tidbits of useful insight with his paying subscribers.

However his worst habit, and the habit that I asked him about in my email to which he called me a crybaby, is leaving his office early.

Very often, he leaves his office early and as such does not provide subscribers with any market commentary outside of what he witnessed during the first hour.

His service is based upon nightly commentary, this is what subscribers pay for and expect and as such I find it unfair to subscribers that at least once a week we receive next to nothing for the day. He does not make up for this with additional input a day later as again all that he generally does is recap market action so no need to talk about old news.

Then there are the times that he leaves for a few days at a time and as such, subscribers receive NOTHING. Receiving an abbreviated commentary is one thing but to be told that you should no bother logging in for the next 1 – 3 days because he will not be posting anything is ridiculous.

I realize that he manages a business but if he does not have the time then he should not charge people for his newsletter, or perhaps he should use what time, he does have writing for his paying subscribers and not the MSN site.

I stopped logging in 4 months into the subscription (he does not offer pro rated refunds) because I became frustrated with the lack of meaningful or useful information. Moreover, when I do log in on occasion inevitably this day he left early or there hasn’t been an update in a few days because he is out of town. What’s the point?

Moreover, he rants about and berates CNBC and the likes calling them “bubble heads on bubble vision” that spew inaccurate and useless information yet he appears on these very same shows often, even after expressly stating that he will no longer do so.

Overall, $120 is far too much for the little information that you receive from this newsletter. Moreover, over the last few months I have come across countless free newsletters written by individuals with as much experience and in some cases more than Mr. Fleckenstein. These folks send you their newsletters everyday, and a few on weekends, without fail and filled to the brim with insights and useful information.

Needless to say, I will be happy when my subscription finally expires next month as I will no longer feel pissed off about the money I wasted.

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John
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John
November 30, 2009 9:56 am

DB 2776. Sorry about your experience with his newsletter. Don’t think anyone is your friend because you can call him “Fleck.” The truth is that this guy is a perpetual stock market bear who usually shows up on CNBC during days of great crisis. As a hedge fund manager, he will never divulge his true investment plays to the poor chlubs who purchase his newsletter. That newletter is just gravy money and a write off for him.

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tarveni
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tarveni
December 7, 2009 12:08 pm

davisory service available. Fleckenstein made and saved me more money than I possibly an investor in Fleckenstein’s hedge fund I can tell you that he returned more than 40% for his investors in 2008 and more than 20% so far in 2009. Subscribors to his nightly espistles avoided the crash in 2000 and the debacle in ’07-’08. He correctly warned his readers of the tech bubble, the credit bubble and the housing bubble. He steared those who followed his reccomendations into gold and silver. If you didn’t benefit from his reccomendations and warnings, you obviously weren’t paying attention!

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tarveni
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tarveni
December 7, 2009 6:33 pm

(previous review garbled) At $120 annual subscrition rate it is the bestadvice available for the money. Fleckenstein and Prector haqve made and saved me more money than I could have possibly made without their analysis. I have been a subscribor for more than 4 years ande an investor in his hedge fund for 2n years.

Amadeus
Guest
Amadeus
December 31, 2009 11:39 pm

DB2776 wrote over a 1000 words above to whine about a a brief response from Fleckenstein. What DB2776 actually demonstrated, however, was that Fleck was acutely insightful when when he diagnosed DB2776 as a crybaby.

Alex Thornton
Guest
February 17, 2010 9:05 pm

I have been a subscriber to Fleck for almost seven years. I am careful not to part with my money especially on newsletter services that are commonly run by pump and dumpers. So why have I kept my subscription?

I get insight into the mind of a seasoned investor. He helps me cut through a lot of the bad information coming from the media and brokerage houses. The previous commenter stated that Fleck criticizes CNBC – they are bubble heads!

Fleck does not give many stock recommendations. He gives you big picture thought processes. At times, maybe it sounds like a broken record but that has actually been one of the most beneficial aspects of his service – conviction. When I start to waver about a position he helps me cut through the noise and stick with my positions.

He’s saved me a bundle over the years and has massively helped me become a better investor.

I’ve also made money with his mortgage finance short ideas and with his gold thesis.

He’s not a market timer or a chartist. If you actually want to learn how to fish he’s a wonderful teacher. If you want someone to just spoonfeed you investment ideas – Fleck is not your man.

Fleck can be tough on dumb questions but that previous reviewer is a cry baby.

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Nicole
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Nicole
June 6, 2010 10:33 pm

“To be exact, paying subscribers are lucky if they receive a paragraph of information nightly. The vast majority of this paragraph consists of a very superficial over view of the day’s market action, and for those that watch the market all day every day the information is pointless.”

First of all, is this not what the point of a “daily rap” is? A daily commentary about what happened to the stock market over the course of the day. So, what else would you expect from him besides a nightly review over the events of the day. No one thinks fast enough to post an in-depth review of everything that happened across the stock market over the course of the entire day the minute after the market closes.

Also, your grammar is horrendous. “Asking him a question via his “ask fleck” commentary is pointless, as his answers are generally very short and curt and often do not answer the persons question. Your fortunate to receive a stiff yes, no, I don’t know, or a curt response that makes one feel like an idiot for even bothering him.” Two points with this one: First, it’s “you’re” if you mean “you are” fortunate to receive a stiff yes, no… etc. Second, you’re quoting just one of the potentially thousands of emails that he may receive per day regarding his previous posts. If you were in his position (which I presume you are not, considering that you are spending so much time discussing such a situation), would you write a five paragraph, college worthy essay to every email you received in response to your last rap? NO. No one in their right mind would (notice the correct and appropriate use of “their,” different than “they’re” and “there”).

Never fear, I’m not quite done. You add in the crucial excerpt from a reader (of course, not yourself, since you’ve already established you are apparently a cry baby, not someone interested in the dangerous life of selling stocks short. i guess you are the one that has to sit in the corner when you mess up because you bought high and now you have to sell low. hence, cry baby):

Dear Fleck,

I’ve been a subscriber for years. I like to sell stocks short when appropriate, but I’ve had a terrible time trying to find a brokerage which offers me shorting opportunities.

Can you please recommend a couple of brokerages which are short-friendly?

Thank you very much in advance,

(Fleck’s reply)

• Sorry, to be brutally honest…it sounds like you are new to this and I’d suggest extreme caution…

I’d like to see a reader who voluntarily asked for advice from Fleck be displeased with the fact he stressed extreme caution in short selling, as any person in their right mind knows how dangerous shorting is. In fact, the only kind of selling I’ve known is short sales, and that’s since I could write, and answer phones, at Bill Fleckenstein’s office. Oh, I forgot to mention- this is his daughter. I’m not even a finance, let alone a business major, yet I can refute all of your arguments more eloquently than you can pose them. If you have any other questions regarding his apparent shortcomings or wrongdoings, especially over the measly $120 you spent learning from “his superficial overview of the market action,” I’m sure I can find more fitting synonyms to call you than just “cry baby.”

You also stated, “Moreover, he rants about and berates CNBC and the likes calling them “bubble heads on bubble vision” that spew inaccurate and useless information yet he appears on these very same shows often, even after expressly stating that he will no longer do so.” Well, I have never known any show on CNBC to be anything other than “Bubblevision” and I am not sure I will ever know what even happens on that channel. I’m fairly certain big bad Bill Fleck goes on this alleged “bubble vision” channel to first- show off his famous hair, and second- to correct the bubble heads ON bubble vision about the accurate pronunciation of the name “Fleckenstein.” Under no other circumstances would he waste such time actually giving out valuable information on a channel he so amicably refers to as “bubble vision.”

Just to finish, Bill happens to leave his office early because he’s from the West Coast. If you would use your brain, you’d realize the time different is -3 hours. That would mean that even though he “technically” leaves his office at noon or so, it’s at least 3pm or later in New York, and past the close of the market. Oh, not to mention- he might not update in a few days because he has a life. Have you NEVER ditched out early or came in late from whatever god awful job you have?

Thanks for waiting until your subscription expires. I think your “wasted money” just bought me a new pair of jeans.

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