I recently came across a presentation on the Stansberry Research website featuring host Amy Gamper and investment gurus Steve Sjuggerud, David Eifrig, and Matt Weinschenk.
The presentation centered around Stansberry’s Capital Portfolio, a $3,000 service that gives subscribers access to 20-30 investment recommendations taken from ten of Stansberry Research’s individual advisories.
Put differently; it’s a “best of” model portfolio. And according to the presentation, it has outperformed the S&P 500 since its inception in 2017.
$3,000 is a lot of money to pay for stock picks, but it seemed like a pretty comprehensive service with a good track record, so I decided to look further into it. And in this review, I’ll show you what I found to help you make a more informed choice.
What Is The Capital Portfolio?
The Capital Portfolio is a model portfolio that provides subscribers with 20-30 investment recommendations pulled from the following ten Stansberry Research advisories:
- True Wealth
- Retirement Millionaire
- DailyWealth Trader
- Stansberry’s Investment Advisory
- Commodity Supercycles
- Stansberry NewsWire
- Extreme Value
- Stansberry Gold & Silver Investor
- Stansberry Innovations Report
- The McCall Report
Each of the above advisories is run by a different Stansberry Research investment guru and focuses on different investments. So, the Capital Portfolio is essentially a “hand-picked” list of Stansberry’s highest conviction investment ideas from these services.
According to Stansberry Research, the portfolio is “great for anybody who is primarily interested in capital appreciation,” and it’s made up mostly of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and large-cap stocks (stocks with a market cap of $10 billion or more).
What’s inside the Capital Portfolio?
The only way to find out what the Capital Portfolio contains is to join the service because Stansberry only discloses the contents of the model portfolio to paid subscribers.
However, there were some hints dropped in the presentation.
For example, according to Stansberry Research, the Capital Portfolio is diversified across a broad range of sectors, including insurance, technology, mining, real estate, gold stocks, energy, biotech, and foreign stocks.
And Stansberry’s Director of Research, Matt Weinschenk, says that the Capital Portfolio focuses on “super high-quality, capital-efficient companies with high growth potential.”
So, based on what the website states, the Capital Portfolio consists of a diversified set of large-cap stocks and ETFs that the team considers high quality.
And Matt Weinschenk does mention some names in particular:
“… we own things like Manchester United, which is a multibillion-dollar soccer franchise, and we have value stocks like CVS Health, and we’ve got huge amounts of oil in the ground with Continental Resources.”
Weinschenk also mentioned the Capital Portfolio has an allocation to bitcoin (which, full disclosure, I hold) and says he thinks he’ll keep it going forward:
“And I will also say, I don’t expect we will use any of the small, wild cryptocurrencies. I think the big established ones now offer enough upside, so, you know, we do have Bitcoin, I think we’ll have Bitcoin going forward…”
In any case, the individual picks change. So by the time you’re reading this, the above picks may have been updated. However, according to Weinschenk, the goal of the Capital Portfolio has been the same since its inception in 2017: to beat the market.
“There is and only ever will be one goal for the Capital Portfolio: To beat the market.”
Seems like a simple enough goal.
But the question is, has the service achieved that goal so far?
How has the Capital Portfolio performed?
According to Matt Weinschenk, the Capital Portfolio has returned 154.9% since it started five years ago in 2017, while the S&P 500 returned 125.9% in that same time.
“All right, so, let’s start by looking at the long term. Over the last five years, the capital portfolio has returned 154.9%, which is much better than the S&P 500, which returned 125.9%. And, you know, that’s a five-year window.”
However, during the presentation, Weinschenk also admitted that the Capital Portfolio didn’t beat the S&P 500 in 2021. Instead, he said the service saw a 15.9% return in 2021.
“The Capital Portfolio returned, let’s see, it was 15.9% for the year, which is less than the market did at 24.5%, so we did underperform in 2021, and we’ll talk about that more later.”
Still, it’s hitting the mark of beating the S&P 500 over the past five years. And while there’s no guarantee it’ll do so in the future, so far, it appears to have been working out.
Who chooses the stocks that go into the portfolio?
The “Investment Committee” is the team that decides what goes into the Capital Portfolio. And, as of writing, this “committee” includes Matt Weinschenk, David Eifrig, Steve Sjuggerud, C. Scott Garliss, Alan Gula, and Brett Eversole.
This team’s job is to essentially go through the picks within each of the ten advisories I mentioned earlier and decide which stocks or ETFs will be added to the portfolio.
Aside from the companies themselves, the committee also considers things like position sizing and risk management when designing a diversified portfolio. And that’s one of the things that makes this service unique from others Stansberry Research sells.
Most Stansberry advisories are focused on one particular sector, or investment strategy, whereas the Capital Portfolio combines different investments and shows you how to create a diversified portfolio.
As part of this, you get access to a position-size calculator and specific recommendations on exactly how many shares the team suggests buying per $100k invested.
“Each position will have a recommended allocation for you, down to the exact number of shares to buy per $100,000 invested. We also provide a position-size calculator so you can adjust the number of shares to buy based on the money you have to invest.”
As with all Stansberry advisories, you still manage your own money. So it’s up to you what stocks you buy and sell using your brokerage account. However, the service is (more or less) marketed as the next best thing to having a money manager do everything for you.
What Do You Get If You Join Capital Portfolio?
As a subscriber of the Capital Portfolio, the main thing you get access to is the model portfolio, which is essentially a list of 20-30 investment ideas. And if you want to follow the recommendations, you can do so within your brokerage account.
It’s up to you what picks you want to follow and how much you invest, but as a subscriber, you get everything you need to follow the portfolio recommendations.
For example, you get access to the company’s name and its ticker symbol, suggestions on how much capital to allocate for each pick, updates on the recommendations, and the research behind each pick.
On top of the stock and ETF picks, subscribers get lifetime access to all ten of the individual stock advisories from which the recommendations are pulled.
Most of these are entry-level advisories; however, joining each service individually would set you back a lot more than $3k for one year alone. So that’s pretty good value considering you get access to all ten advisories for life.
That said, I haven’t looked into all ten services, so I don’t know how good they are. But I have written in detail about The McCall Report and Retirement Millionaire. And the links I just shared take you to my review of each.
The idea behind accessing the individual services is that you can see the research behind each Capital Portfolio recommendation from the source. That way, you can learn more about each pick instead of blindly following a list of stock/ETF picks.
And, as mentioned earlier, you get specific recommendations on how much to allocate to each pick. The caveat is that this is based on starting with a $100,000 portfolio. However, you also get a position-size calculator to help build your portfolio, so you can work out how much to allocate to each position based on whatever portfolio size you’re working with.
Lastly, some bonuses are offered to new subscribers as part of the 2022 presentation. The first bonus gives you lifetime access to the Defensive Portfolio, which is designed to be more defensive than the Capital Portfolio. And the second bonus consists of two research reports covering Matt McCall and Eric Wade’s top picks for 2022.
What’s the cost and refund policy?
A Capital Portfolio subscription is $3,000 and, should you stay on for longer than one year, there’s an “an annual maintenance fee” of $399.
Unfortunately, Stansberry Research does not offer a cash refund on this service.
However, if you’re not satisfied with the service during your first 30 days, you can request a “refund credit” to use on another service the company runs.
According to the Stansberry Research website, there’s also a “performance agreement” in place that means if the service doesn’t beat the market, you get $3,000 back in the form of credit. And you get to keep access to the Capital Portfolio and ten newsletters for life.
Here’s how Matt Weinschenk puts it:
“We have the team and the tools to do it… and if we don’t hit our goal the year you decide to take a chance with us… then we give you all your money back in the form of credit.”
“It’s probably the single best deal in the financial research business.”
“Because not only do you get your entire one-time fee back in credit… but you get to keep your access to the Capital Portfolio… for LIFE.”
“PLUS… access to the 10 newsletters we use to construct the portfolio… also for life.”
So, you can’t get a refund if you decide you don’t like the service. And as with any advisory, there’s no guarantee you will make money following the recommendations. However, if the service doesn’t beat the market, you get $3,000 credit to use on another Stansberry service while retaining access to the Capital Portfolio and the ten advisories for life.
Recommended: Go here to see my #1 rated stock advisory of 2023
Who’s Behind The Capital Portfolio?
All in all, there are six people behind the Capital Portfolio service:
- Dr. Steve Sjuggerud: former hedge fund manager with a Ph.D. in finance and his flagship advisory is True Wealth.
- Dr. David Eifrig: former Goldman Sachs investment banker and medical doctor who runs Retirement Millionaire, along with several other advisories.
- Matt Weinschenk: Director of Research for Stansberry Research and contributor of David Eifrig’s services.
- Brett Eversole: lead editor and analyst for Steve Sjuggerud’s advisories with a background in mathematics and statistics.
- Alan Gula: lead analyst for Stansberry Research’s flagship service, Stansberry’s Investment Advisory, with a background in statistical arbitrage trading.
- C. Scott Garliss: expert trader and editor of Stansberry Newswire.
Together, these folks represent the “investment committee” that decides which stocks and ETFs are added to the portfolio, how the portfolio should be allocated, and so on.
I’m most familiar with Steve Sjuggerud and David Eifrig because they run some of Stansberry’s most well-known advisories. However, based on my research, the other four committee members appear to be genuine experts in their respective fields.
Also worth mentioning is that, since the Capital Portfolio recommendations are derived from ten individual Stansberry advisories, you’re essentially getting investment ideas from whoever runs those individual services.
For example, Matt McCall is behind the McCall Report, and Brian Tycangco runs Visionary Investor, and both services contribute to Capital Portfolio’s model portfolio.
What Is Portfolio Solutions?
The Capital Portfolio is one of three separate “Portfolio Solutions” services; the Capital Portfolio, Income Portfolio, and Total Portfolio. So, Portfolio Solutions is essentially the “brand” given to all three model portfolios.
The idea behind Portfolio Solutions, from what I understand, is to bring together the best investment ideas from Stansberry’s services into three distinct portfolios, which are each aimed at helping different types of investors.
For instance, Stansberry Research states that the Capital Portfolio is their “starter-level portfolio” focused on capital appreciation (i.e., growth).
Whereas the Income Portfolio is designed to help subscribers find dividend opportunities that pay 3% to 5% and contains a mix of 20-30 dividend-paying stocks, fixed-income bonds, and bond funds. It’s also based on the same advisories as the Capital Portfolio, but there are two income-focused advisories added: Stansberry’s Credit Opportunities and one I’ve reviewed on this blog, Income Intelligence.
The third service, Total Portfolio, is based on the work of 17 Stansberry Research advisories and contains about 40 recommendations. According to Stansberry Research, the picks include income-focused recommendations, growth stocks, emerging market plays, and small-cap stocks.
It’s unclear how much the Income Portfolio costs, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Total Portfolio costs upwards of $5k, given you get access to 17 advisories. It also wouldn’t surprise me if, as a subscriber of the Capital Portfolio, you get pitched on joining one (or both) of these Portfolio Solutions services at some point.
In any case, here’s a screenshot from the Stansberry Research website that shows how well each Portfolio Solutions service has performed since inception:
Based on that, the Total Portfolio was the winner in 2021, whereas the Capital Portfolio has performed best since its inception.
Also worth mentioning is that, during the presentation, Matt Weinschenk said the Capital Portfolio returned 15.9% in 2021. Yet, the above chart shows it returned 24.7%. So, unless I’m missing something, there appears to be a mismatch there for some reason.
I also found a chart on Stansberry’s Details and Disclosures page showing that the Capital Portfolio saw a 16.3% return from February 4th to December 31st, 2021. So that’s different again. However, this is likely due to the unusual dates on the chart.
In any case, while its 2021 performance is unclear, the Capital Portfolio service appears to have established a solid track record since 2017.
And either way, regardless of how well it has done; past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, as they say. So anything could happen in the future.
Is The Capital Portfolio a Scam?
I don’t believe The Capital Portfolio is a scam.
I say this because, as a subscriber, you get lifetime access to ten different advisory services and a portfolio that more or less represents the top picks from each. So, while it does cost $3,000 to access, it’s a pretty comprehensive service.
Of course, if you don’t receive the service that the Stansberry Research website promises after signing up, that would be a different story. But I doubt that would happen because Stansberry Research is a legitimate Baltimore-based publishing company that has been around since 1999. So I doubt the company would be ripping people off like that.
There are some complaints about Stansberry Research on the BBB website, but nothing that indicates the company isn’t giving their customers access to what they’ve bought.
Another reason some call services like the Capital Portfolio a scam is if the stock picks don’t work out. And, depending on the circumstances, that’s fair enough.
For example, if the service constantly recommended losing stocks for years on end, I would understand if some concluded that it was illegitimate. Especially if the research is of poor quality and subscribers aren’t shown how to manage risk properly.
However, this service appears to have a good track record based on what the Stansberry Research website states. And even if it had a bad run for a while, that wouldn’t necessarily make it a scam because even legitimate newsletters have recommended losing picks from time to time. That’s just the nature of the stock market; win some, lose some.
So, to sum it up, I don’t believe the Capital Portfolio is a scam, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make money by signing up. The goal of Capital Portfolio might be to beat the market, but there is no guarantee it actually will. Only time will tell how it performs going forward.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, there are no refunds with this offer. There is a “performance agreement,” but Stansberry Research doesn’t give cash refunds on the Capital Portfolio. That doesn’t make it a scam, but it might be something to consider before subscribing.
Bottom Line: Should You Join?
Whether or not you join the Capital Portfolio will depend on various factors like your budget, investment goals, and risk tolerance, for example.
On the first point, the Capital Portfolio isn’t exactly cheap. So if spending $3,000 for stock picks is a scary thought, there are less-expensive alternatives. For instance, you could try some of the individual services the portfolio consists of to get a feel for what’s on offer.
Regarding my other two points, the Capital Portfolio service is designed to help investors see capital growth in large-cap companies and ETFs. And it’s a somewhat “middle of the road” portfolio in that it’s not seeking super high gains on “risky” small-cap stocks, but it’s not as conservative as the Income Portfolio.
So, in the end, whether or not you join is only something you can answer. Whatever you decide, I hope what I’ve shared helps you make a more informed choice. And if you’d like to share your thoughts on anything we’ve discussed in this post, drop a comment below.