An Appetite for Something That’s More Fulfilling

Name: Investment for Profit (Beverly Hills)

Members: Six

Meeting frequency: Every six weeks


Minimum monthly investment: None

Inception: 1994

Performance: Average annual return greater than 30%

Major holdings: McDonald’s, Southwestern Bell, General Electric, Merck, GTE, Intel


Background: The all-female club is set up as a partnership. Smith Barney broker Pat Johnson serves as an advisor and teacher. She spent a year teaching the group investment basics before it decided to invest. Now it invests “fairly reasonable” amounts whenever opportunities arise. The group does not have minimum monthly investment requirements, but all members currently have the same amount invested.

Quote: “Another woman and I felt a need to discuss some of the key issues that concern women today--issues that somehow aren’t discussed in the normal polite conversation at luncheons and parties. We wanted to zero in on subject matter that really affects our lives on a deeper level. What seemed to rise to the surface was the need to talk about economics.”

--Joan Selwyn, a Beverly Hills-based artist and graphic designer

Small Circle of Friends Provides Much-Needed Info


Name: Combined Power Investment Club (Culver City)

Members: Five

Meeting frequency: Monthly

Minimum monthly investment: $50


Inception: 1993

Performance: 15% average

Major holdings: Biomed, Kellogg’s, Gap, Lands End, Hollywood Park, Century Telephone

General: All-female group was formed by four friends who had known one another since childhood. A fifth member, graduate student Sherri Porter, was invited to join later.


Quote: “I had been looking since the late 1980s for a way to get into investing, but I was afraid of losing money. My mom had invested in a mutual fund and lost a lot in the stock crash in 1987. I didn’t want the same thing to happen. I wanted a situation where I could get as much information as possible.

“The club was the best alternative because I don’t have time to investigate everything.”

--Sherri Porter, a Los Angeles graduate student

That Knowledge Just May Rub Off on the Kids Too


Name: Earnings Per Share (Burbank)

Members: 16

Meeting frequency: Monthly

Minimum monthly investment: $30


Assets: $26,000

Inception: 1985

Performance: 28.4% average for past two years

Major holdings: Microsoft, Abbott Labs, DSC Communications, Clayton Homes


General: Only a few of this club’s original members remain. After several members left, the club advertised for new members about three years ago, building its membership to 16. Membership is diverse in every way--sex, age, investment experience and national origin.

Quote: “My husband wanted me to get involved in investing, but I was not interested. The first couple of meetings, I was dragging myself. Now I am in the club for three years. My kids are involved in investing too. My son, he used to tell his dad, ‘Let’s buy this or that.’ Now and then, he made a mistake, but that’s how you learn.”

--Pramila Shah, a Burbank investor

Seasoned Members Look at Variety of Investment Types


Name: Invanon (Glendale)

Members: Eight

Meeting frequency: monthly

Minimum investment: $100


Assets: $12,000

Inception: March 1996

Performance, Major holdings: Just starting now

General: The club was started by a group of seasoned investors who want to use computers to invest. The club considers many different types of investments, not just stocks.


Quote: “I have always been interested in investing. I’ve had a few stocks of my own since I was just a child. . . . I learn a lot by being in clubs. I like the education and the exchange of ideas.”

--Edwin Williams, president of the National Assn. of Investment Clubs, Los Angeles-area Council

Campus Colleagues Gather Mostly for Fun, Camaraderie

Name: University Park Investment Group (USC)


Members: 17

Meeting frequency: Monthly

Minimum investment: $300 annually

Assets: approximately $30,000


Inception: 1984

Performance: 40% over the past 18 months

Major holdings: Boeing, Ahold (a European supermarket chain), McDonald’s

General: All members are on the faculty or staff of USC


Quote: “None of us are in this to make a lot of money. We are in it to have fun. In addition to being able to play the market, this is an opportunity for campus colleagues to get together and talk about something other than work. The fun and camaraderie is as important as the financial rewards.”

--Dixon Johnson, director of the international services office at USC

Investing Is Like Rearing Children--It Takes Patience

Name: Women’s Investment Network (Huntington Beach)


Members: 18

Meeting frequency: Monthly

Minimum monthly investment: $25

Assets: $61,862


Inception: August 1988

Performance: 15% return

Major holdings: Sara Lee, Gillette, PepsiCo, Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Tambrands

Background: The group, formed by Girl Scout mothers, had its first meeting in August 1988; it made its first investment in January 1989.


Quote: “I’ve learned it takes a lot of patience to invest in the stock market. You can’t rush in and make a killing. It’s almost like having children. You have a baby, and then 21 years later you have an adult.”

--Pat Chick, club president

Even After 10 Years, Decisions Made Without Derision

Name: North Orange County Investment Club


Members: 46 active (17 inactive members have moved away but left money with the club)

Meeting frequency: Monthly

Minimum monthly investment: $20

Assets: $214,600


Inception: Sept. 4, 1986

Performance: 15% to 20% annual return

Major holdings: AT&T;, Colgate-Palmolive, PepsiCo, Motorola, Wal-Mart, Quaker Oats, General Electric, Home Depot, Downey Financial, 3M, Wendy’s, Kmart.

General: Formed as the result of a lunch date between Don Kimmel, now owner of Santa Ana Chrysler-Plymouth, and the late Bert Hathaway, both of whom had been Chrysler Corp. field representatives. The group expanded to 45 members as neighbors, church members and others joined; then a waiting list was started.


Quote: “One of the most amazing things about our club is we have never had an argument. Forty-plus people can sit in a meeting, decide what [stock] to buy, smile and go home.”

--Don Kimmel, founding member

Making the Money ‘Work for You’ Is What It’s All About

Name: Rusty Sam Investments (Sherman Oaks)


Members: Two

Meeting frequency: As needed

Minimum monthly investment: none

Assets: $80,000 gross (net assets of $20,000 after subtracting loans on properties)


Inception: October 1987

Performance: Average annual return between 15% and 20%

Major holdings: Coca-Cola Femsa (a Mexican soft drink distributor), Novell and real estate

General: Formed after the stock market crash of 1987 by a group of about 35 Cal State Northridge students. Original club eventually disbanded as founding member Wayne Lipschitz realized he was doing most of the research. Now Lipschitz, 31, a controller at Wolfgang Puck Food Co., invests with one partner, Guy Nadivi, 30, a computer software consultant. The two talk on the phone almost daily and schedule occasional meetings.


Quote: “I don’t think it’s going to grow into anything full time. But it’s an investment for the future. It’s making your money work for you.”

--Wayne Lipschitz, founding member

They Say Retirees Enjoy Gardening and Yacht Work

Name: Pacific Mermaid Syndicate (Oxnard)


Members: 15

Meeting frequency: Monthly

Minimum monthly investment: $50

Assets: $25,000


Inception date: May 1994

Performance: Gain of about 35% over two years

Major holdings: PepsiCo, Parametric Technology.

General: The club was founded by Marilyn Morrison, now 70, an Oxnard retiree who has been involved in investment clubs since 1979. Most of the members are retired women--a few work--and their ages range from about 50 to 70. Most are also members of the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, where their meetings take place.


Quote: “I have CNBC on the TV before I get out of bed in the morning. I don’t have time for the soaps or anything else.”

--Marilyn Morrison, founding member

Profiles by Kathy M. Kristof, Patrice Apodaca and Lori Haycox