Barron's: Thomas J. Herzfeld & Co


From Barron's 7-9-07:

"Based in Miami, Thomas J. Herzfeld founded Thomas J. Herzfeld & Co., a brokerage specializing in closed-ends, in 1981, and launched a similarly focused money-management arm, Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors, in 1984. The firm oversees about $100 million in assets. The Managed Portfolio I, a separate-account program created by the advisory firm in 1987, invests in bond and stock closed-end funds. It has a cumulative total return since inception of 509%, net of fees, versus nearly 400% for the S&P 500.

"After a brief stay in his family's textile business, Thomas J. Herzfeld discovered his true calling in the late 1960s at an unlikely venue: a New York brokerage firm's training program. A session on closed-end funds fascinated him because "they offered investors the opportunity to buy assets at a discount." Now 62, Herzfeld has been pursuing that opportunity for 40 years, becoming one of the nation's foremost experts on the subject."

"...Herzfeld also runs the novel Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (ticker: CUBA), which invests in companies with direct and indirect ties to Cuba and has gained more attention in the past year as Fidel Castro's health has deteriorated.

How many holdings does CUBA have?

About 75. We are broadly diversified but we have really a two-pronged investment strategy. When we formed the fund, we realized that it would be impossible to predict when the embargo with Cuba would be lifted. It is still unpredictable even 14 years later. So we sought to identify companies with operations in the Caribbean that we believed would do well, even if there were no change with U.S. trade with Cuba. We also sought companies that we believe would get significant increases in business once the embargo was lifted. That was the first phase and we are still in that phase now.

Here are some top picks and pans of Herzfeld.

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