Magazine article Black Enterprise

Portfolio Course Correction: After Being Downsized, Winifred James Has Adjusted Her Investment Style to Safeguard Her Retirement

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Portfolio Course Correction: After Being Downsized, Winifred James Has Adjusted Her Investment Style to Safeguard Her Retirement

Article excerpt

When Winnie James emigrated from the caribean to the United States to join her family in 1964, she was determined to maximize her potential and taste success in her new country. Her family was living in Crown Heights, a largely Caribbean and Jewish enclave in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. There, she completed high school, earned a certificate in international banking from The American Institute of Banking, and earned a bachelor's degree in business management and finance from Brooklyn College in 1988. While pursuing her education, she was working full time at a Manufacturer's Hanover Bank in the international client services department, supervising 35 people.

James recalls, "In those days, companies had profit sharing, not 401(k)s, so I invested in the company's stock but diversified into government bonds, Also, the company had a brokerage arm which encouraged investing, so I participated in that as well."

As a novice investor, James was off to a good start. In the mid-'80s, Monte Henry, a 16-year veteran financial consultant at Smith Barney, contacted her about embracing a more structured investment style. After conducting a financial analysis, he began to oversee James' portfolio, eventually guiding her to huge returns, even in the face of the recent bear market.

When they began, James had $8,000 in her portfolio, which was 100% equity investments, although it was diversified across sectors. At the time, Henry says James was ah aggressive investor: "She was determined to invest strictly in stocks." Shortly after wards, she opened ah IBA and contributed the maximum $2,000.

Between 1988-1998, James' portfolio consisted of value-oriented stocks such as Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BIIICA), Biovail Corp. (NYSE: BVF), Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), Microso ft (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). …

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