"It's time to eat crow and cover the short on T!"
That blunt missive was dispatched to Don Luskin on Nov. 23 by "blninthwnd." It seems the author didn't agree that Luskin's
mutual fund should be betting against
Luskin doesn't seem to mind the criticism. In fact, his firm's
invites it. That's because this fund does what few other mutual funds are willing to do: It dresses in public.
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Everything you ever wanted to know about the OpenFund is posted on the firm's
Web site for all to see. Every security in the portfolio is published on the site (along with the number of shares and original purchase price). The value of each position is updated throughout the trading day. New positions, both long and short, are posted as soon as a trade is settled. And all the action on the fund's trading desk can be viewed live on the firm's Web site thanks to a point-and-click zoom camera focused there 24 hours a day. It doesn't get any more naked than that.
To encourage interactivity, the firm's Web site also provides message boards, live chats and daily dispatches from management on stock-picking strategies.
Luskin and his partner H. Davis Nadig -- both former
Barclays Global Investors
executives -- launched OpenFund in September. The idea was to create "a way to invest in the new economy using the tools of the new economy," according to the firm.
The managers buy high-growth companies that are "representative of the big themes that define the new economy: technology, business processes and innovation," Luskin says. Top holdings in the fund include screamers such as
Since its inception, the new fund has attracted $12 million and returned 55.8%. That compares with a 6.7% return on the
in the same period.
The fund's open-door policy attracts plenty of comment, both negative and positive, which is exactly what Luskin and Nadig had hoped for. "It's a huge advantage to let customers inside our process," says Luskin. "There is a great appetite for what's going on behind the iron curtain and we show you every detail."
Still, Luskin says it's hard work to keep up with the barrage of emails and messages from readers and investors, and you have to have thick skin. "I've been ganged up on for holding stuff people don't like," Luskin says. "There are times when I've gotten message after message just raking me over the coals."
"The fund is not run like a democracy," the manager explains. And he says he'll hold on to a position he believes in, even when others don't. But he does pay attention to what site visitors have to say, and he even checks out their stock suggestions. Sometimes those tips lead to a buy. One example is
Harris & Harris Group
, a recent big winner for the fund. Luskin first purchased shares in the New York-based venture capital firm in October after checking it out on a Web visitor's tip. Back then, shares were trading at 3 1/2; Thursday, Harris & Harris closed at 10 7/16.
To find out more about Luskin, the OpenFund and that short position in AT&T, check out
Fox News Channel
this weekend when Luskin joins
for "Word on TheStreet," Saturday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Sunday at 10 a.m.