Homer is 112 years old. He is, cranky,
opinionated, and an investment guru that almost always seems to get it right. He shows up periodically in the online Blogosphere
where he waxes philosophically about untapped investment opportunities and offers sage advise to the ‘Kid’, a
50’s something know-it-all caricature of today’s “must have everything” generation. By preaching to
the ‘Kid’ he advises readers on the straight and narrow of smart investing. The voice behind the soothsayer of
"Homer’s Hot Tips" belong to his creator, an eEducation expert and one time financial whiz kid, Fred DiUlus.
The invention of Homer seems a little far from higher education, the halls of academia, and being CEO of the nation’s
premier private-label provider of curriculum and instruction to colleges and universities. That is, until you realize DiUlus
spent the first twenty-five years of his professional life as an investment banker and venture capitalist.
age of 24 Fred had earned his way into an elite group of producing stock and bond brokers and annually was counted in the
top five at one of Wall Street’s largest firms. Recognized by "US News & World Report" as being among
the nation’s top investment experts, he parlayed that expertise into creating three public mutual funds, one of the
nation’s largest financial planning firms, and a financial rating service that measured the financial stability and
solvency of America’s 17,000 banks and savings and loans.
DiUlus first introduced Homer as a tongue-in-cheek
sidekick to his television audience in the 1970’s when he hosted a weekly investment forum on a local Los Angeles TV
station. “Whenever I felt there was something of an investment nature to share that would appear to a viewer beyond
my years, I would defer to Homer and cite him as the authority.” Homer was a caricature of the reservoir of incredibly
brainy and savvy investment experts DiUlus says he had come to know over the years.
One of those exceptional “brainy”
people DiUlus points to was his good friend and mentor, the late Herb Hester of Ormond Beach, Florida and Ashville, North
Carolina. Herb was a stock market genius, according to Fred, who lived, breathed, and oozed stock market wisdom and possessed
an uncanny sense of timing, “the likes of which I have never seen before or since.” Hester was one of a handful
of the largest individual traders on the New York Stock Exchange in the ‘60’s and 70’s, courted and pursued
by many on Wall Street for a piece of his stock market savvy.
Except for Homer’s occasional stock market
revelations, DiUlus devotes his energy to higher education and assisting the industry into the 21st century. He wryly notes
that once college presidents arrive in the ivory tower, “Some, just seem to go brain dead.” He says that today’s
modern colleges and universities no longer possess the luxury of business as usual or maintaining the status quo. “This
is institutionally life threatening and dangerous to their survival,” he observes. “Perhaps”, he concludes,
“they all could use a few Homer-type relievers in their bullpens too.”
"Homer’s Hot Tip"
can be found at the Academy’s online non-profit Center for Ethics in Free Enterprise.