TICN In The Press: January 15th, 2004

"Da Northsiders point the way" by Bill Tyson and Barry McCall
DA Northside Traders don't sound like the kind of investment operation that would worry Wall Street.

Yet this north Dublin-based investment club has turned in a performance that would turn "blue blood" stockbrokers green with envy.

It's portfolio is up 97pc in the past year - making it one of the most successful investment operations in the world.

And that ranks just fifth among investment clubs in Ireland with the top performer - Waterford's Deise Dealers - turning in a massive 164pc.

Munster dominate the top five with second place going to the Cork-based Rebel Club (143pc), followed by Deise Traders (an offshoot of the winning outfit) and Cute Corkonians on 114pc.

Da Northside Traders meet regularly in the Howth Yacht club to discuss their investment strategy. And at this rate, they will soon all be able to all buy their own yachts.

"Each of the ten of us will select three or four stocks to analyse," says member Alan Jordan. "We bring the information to the meetings, have a few barneys and a few pints, and make investment decisions on what we think are the best ones. . . After three years of steady, if unspectacular growth, the club hit the big time with a trade in CE towards the end of 2003," says Alan. "We're all having a bit of fun and enjoying ourselves, and making money while we're doing it is an added bonus."

In recent years, another Dublin-based club hit the headlines for its catchy title - CRAP (Capital Reinvestment and Profits), as much as for performance, as it beat most pension funds during a devastating period for the markets.

CRAP shot to fame after it produced double digit gains in two of the worst years on the investment markets and it is still going strong.

Last year, it notched up growth of 31.13pc, which knocks the socks off the performance of most managed funds.

The 18 pals are employees and former staff of recruitment agency PARC (CRAP spelled backwards) and include recruitment consultants, IT managers, engineers, accountants and secretaries. They started off salting away 50 a week three years ago and now have a portfolio worth 4,200 apiece.

Secretary Richard Wall attributes its success to following his hero Warren Buffett's approach and going for blue chip shares including CRH, British Airways, and Bank of Ireland. Another of his heroes is also a friend, John Teeling, who has given a talk to the club on his investment philosophy.

"He said if we had gone with his advice, we could have got 378pc growth - but the investments would have been with the likes of African Gold, and I would have got fired in the process (for taking such risks)," says Richard.

CRAP, despite its name, does not go for junk bonds or high-risk shares. It favours steady growth and has profited from Ardagh (+378pc), Glanbia (237pc) and First Active (202pc).

The one gamble it made was an unfortunate one - on Baltimore - which lost 92pc of its value.