The Motley Fool

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Motley Fool
Foundation dateJuly 1993
HeadquartersAlexandria, Virginia, United States
Founder(s)David and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm
Slogan(s)To Educate, Amuse & Enrich
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Motley Fool
Foundation dateJuly 1993
HeadquartersAlexandria, Virginia, United States
Founder(s)David and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm
Slogan(s)To Educate, Amuse & Enrich

The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company that provides financial solutions for investors through various stock, investing, and personal finance products. The Alexandria, Virginia-based private company was founded in July 1993 by co-chairmen and brothers David and Tom Gardner, and Erik Rydholm, who has since left. The company employs approximately 200 people.

The Business[edit]

Investment advice[edit]

The Motley Fool offers a wide range of stock news and analysis at its free website,, as well as through a variety of paid investment advice services. The services, many of which combine a traditional paper newsletter with interactive electronic discussion boards and other tools, cover a range of styles from small caps to international stocks to options to shorting.[1]

Mutual funds[edit]

In June 2009, Motley Fool Funds launched its first mutual fund, Motley Fool Independence Fund.[2]

In November 2010, Motley Fool funds launched Motley Fool Great America Fund.

In November 2011, Motley Fool funds launched Motley Fool Epic Voyage Fund.


The name "Motley Fool" is taken from Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It.[3][4]

In August 1994, brothers David and Tom Gardner parlayed their one-year-old investment newsletter into a content partnership with America Online. The Motley Fool gained renown for its early recommendations of stocks, such as America Online (AOL), Amgen, eBay, PayPal, Starbucks and, and was featured in a cover story for Fortune magazine (1996) about the emergence of online interactive discussion as a new form of investment research. In April 1997, the site was moved from AOL to the website[5] and a UK site,, was established.

Motley Fool content is available to the public on, in its Motley Fool Money podcast, and nationally syndicated newspaper column. The Gardners have written several bestselling books on investing, most recently New York Times bestseller Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio, published in December 2008. Their third book was entitled "Rule Makers and Rule Breakers", published in 2000.[6] The best-known of these is The Motley Fool Investment Guide, which in 2003 was called the "#1 All-Time Classic" by investment club members of the NAIC.

During the financial crisis and the dot-com bubble collapse in 2001, the company, in common with its peers, ran into trouble, resulting in the loss of 80% of the staff in a series of three layoffs and the closure of its nascent operations in Germany and Japan. Following the 2000–2002 downturn of the stock market and the Internet, The Motley Fool started to offer more services, such as a range of investment styles from small-cap stock investing to growth and technology stocks to dividend investing.

A December 2005 Washington Post article detailed the Motley Fool's 10-year lease for new offices in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, taking over office space vacated by Time-Life.

In September 2006, the company unveiled its newest offering, Motley Fool CAPS, a service which monitors and ranks the most successful stock pickers amongst its members.

In 2011, the company launched Fool Australia,[7] followed in 2012 by Fool Canada[8] and Fool Singapore.[9]

In 2013 the UK company reported a £1m loss on sales of £2m (see companies house)

Premium services[edit]

Motley Fool Stock Advisor[edit]

In April 2002, the company launched the first of its premium subscription services. David and Tom Gardner pick one stock each month in a brotherly competition to best each other and the S&P 500. They maintain a consistent buy-and-hold style, tending to let their winning stocks compound returns over longer periods of time. As of January 2014 their average returns on the stocks recommended is 148.52%.[10]


Community discussion boards[edit]

The Motley Fool hosts on-line discussion boards for the purpose of helping people make better financial decisions. Registered users can get access to all non-newsletter boards that cover a variety of stock, personal finance, and investing concepts. The discussion boards are used heavily to recruit future Motley Fool staffers, with frequent posters first awarded free subscriptions to their favorite newsletters, to eventually receiving a small stipend and "TMF" username moniker to patrol the boards. Some veteran posters have gone on to found investment newsletters and hedge funds of their own for example Stephen Bland in the UK who launched The Dividend Letter in 2008.

Blog Network[edit]

The MF Blog Network is a stock analysis and news site that provides a platform for non Motley Fool staff writers to submit articles. They receive compensation ($50) for each article submitted and additional compensation for how many recommendations or "editors picks" they receive.

The Foolish Four[edit]

In 2000, the Motley Fool ran into controversy with its eventually discredited Foolish Four investment theory.[11] The theory had been constituted squarely on the shoulders of the Dogs of the Dow analysis popular at the time. In the same year, Motley Fool writer Ann Coleman admitted that the Foolish Four method "turned out to be not nearly as wonderful a strategy as we thought."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "New mutual fund is both motley and foolish". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  3. ^ Harold Bloom, Pamela Loos As You Like It 2007 p10 "Indeed, after meeting Touchstone, Jaques wants to change his own life, to take on the life of a motley fool himself."
  4. ^ William Shakespeare As You Like It Sparklesoup Classics 2004 p23 "DUKE SENIOR. Why, how now, monsieur! what a life is this, That your poor friends must woo your company? What, you look merrily! JAQUES. A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' th' forest, A motley fool."
  5. ^ "About The Motley Fool:History". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  6. ^ "The Motley Fools Rule Breakers Rule Makers : The Foolish Guide To Picking Stocks: David Gardner, Tom Gardner: 9780684857176: Books". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  7. ^ "About Us - Fool Canada". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "About Us - Fool Australia". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "About Us - Fool Singapore". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Dogs of the Dow and the Foolish Four". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  12. ^ "Fool Four Moves On". Retrieved 2013-09-12. 

External links[edit]