Newsmakers/Bernie McGinn – Flexible, but not bending

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Bernie McGinn, President of Old Towns McGinn Investment Management, made national news last week when the Wall Street Journal quoted his opinion of Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindlers woes with the drug company and its seemingly insurmountable low performance.

Pfizer is having trouble finding that next big prescription drug for consumers. In the meantime, the company is asking stakeholders to be patient and have faith.
McGinn, whose company owns about 145,000 Pfizer shares, has faith not necessarily in Pfizer, but in his 25-year-old business and in the Market itself, which he seems to regard as positive in a time when the R word is on the tip of investors tongues worldwide.

This stuff moves at a glacial pace, McGinn says of his patient business approach. Its bad out there and it could get worse but at the worst it isnt always that bad.

McGinn sees the Market not as a roller coaster ride, but as a hike up and down a mountain. Rather than constantly buying and selling, McGinn says his company remains flexible by not bending to investor and consumer fears especially in times of economic hardship.

We dont adjust; we just sort of do the same thing, McGinn says. In this business you take what the market gives you. Our goal is to beat the averages. A growthy market philosophy wouldnt work as well for McGinns clients.

What seems risky business to some is opportunity to others. McGinns unwavering philosophy goes beyond the trite buy low, sell high tenet (which he says is fallible). Though there are intrinsic risks when investing whether in the booming farming realm or ailing Wall Street his patience keeps the clients confidence. It often takes three to five years for a solid return on an investment, McGinn says, and his company has no problem waiting. 

Were not a real risky place, McGinn says. There is not a stock in our portfolio you havent heard of. Our companies are national news. We dont go out of our realm of expertise. If you do that, youll lose clients. We do what we say were going to do.

The conservative philosophy seems to be working for McGinn. He says his company, which uses the S&P as a benchmark, has his clients portfolios doing well. Thats why were here, he says.

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