John Hodge is an active trader who follows the technology/biotech sector specifically. I have been successfully trading stocks for the last 16 years and still thank those that pointed me in the direction of Qualcomm and Amgen many years ago. I believe research and timing is the key to long term goal attainment in the market.
I am a small-time writer/blogger who dreams big and enjoys researching and writing about biotechs and pharmaceuticals. My work experiences include food safety, water quality, pesticides, food additives, paints, plastics and pharmaceutical precursors. My focus as of late has been researching the treatment options for many cancers and prevention of their recurrence. Additional recent research has been in the stem cell field, an exciting field in its infancy but now becoming a teenager! My ongoing goal for investors is attempting to find under-the-radar or oversold pharmaceuticals or biotechs for investment potential.
Investor. Mission: Help people make money. Degree: Chemistry from NC State University. Featured author of Momentum Options Weekly Wrap (http://momentumoptionstrading.com/ )
Follow me on Motley Fool Caps at http://caps.fool.com/player/modestus1.aspx .
For short-term ideas about big movers, follow my StockTalks. But please note I am not the best short term stock picker. I am 7-0-1 in the long term, but 0-3 in the short term. If you want better short term pickers, I recommend Michael Filloon and Alfred Little.
Over the last 12 years, I am 7-4-1. I was up 130%, 29%, 15%, 3%, 19%, 25%, 56% from 2001-2007 respectively, and down 39%, 39%, 79% from 2008-2010 respectively. In 2011, I was flat, but some ill-timed trades (should have held AG) caused a loss of 17% and 14% in 2012 and 2013. Note: gains and losses include transaction costs. 2009 and 2010, I traded frequently, adding up transaction costs. That is why I favor longterm holding over shortterm trading.
I invest in all stocks. I don't agree that US stocks are the safest. Want a safe stock, try TEVA. It did not fall much, or at all, during the credit crisis. And generics are the future.
Being a chemistry graduate, I tend to focus of the drug, medical, biotech, and chemical industries. So far, I wrote about 5 medical companies (RPC, OREX, KV.A, PLX, & XOMA). OREX and KV.A were right on target, though KV.A has fallen back hard after reaching their highs, which surprised me. PLX was half right: it did get a negative letter from the FDA, but the options strategy was wrong. For RPC, so far, I have been wrong, and exited my position in mid-May. XOMA also has fallen since I wrote about it.
However, I also cover diverse stocks, from BIDU to NCT. Ignoring other industries is a big mistake. I look for stocks I find undervalued on both a value perspective and a growth perspective, but placing more emphasis on growth. I combine both fundamental and technical analysis. The fundamentals only tell you part of the story.
Anybody can make money. Don't let Wall Street analysts manipulate you. Their analysis is good, but don't take everything they say. Good luck investing, and I will do everything I can to make you money.
Oh, and I invest in rather risky stocks with high potentials. If you are nearing retirement, I don't recommend you copy my portfolio. I will label my stocks with the risk/reward factor. I am adding a watch list with some stocks for retirement investors that I like. All watch list stocks are long term holdings.
BRK.B (very low risk/medium reward)
NRZ (medium risk/medium reward)
NEWM (medium risk/medium reward)
SNR (medium risk/medium reward)
SLCA (medium risk/high reward)
NCT (medium risk/high reward)
HOV (medium risk/high reward)
SID (medium risk/high reward)
RGSE (very high risk/high reward)
SUNE (extremely high risk/very high reward)
AG (medium risk/medium reward)
YRCW (very high risk/very high reward)
GTIM (medium risk/high reward)
BOJA (medium risk/high reward)CVRR (medium risk/high reward)SWKS (medium risk/high reward)JAZZ (medium risk/high reward)NFLX (medium risk/high reward)
LVS (medium risk/high reward)
SAM (medium risk/high reward)
CMG (medium risk/high reward)
ZNH (medium risk/high reward)
RDY (medium risk/high reward)
MNK (medium risk/high reward)
YZC (low risk/high reward)
AVGO (low risk/medium reward)
CF (low risk/high reward)TTM (low risk/high reward)
NVO (low risk/high reward)
BIDU (low risk/high reward)
PCLN (low risk/high reward)
CLF (low risk/medium reward)
AAPL (low risk/medium reward)
GOOG (low risk/medium reward)
TEVA (low risk/medium reward)
CIM (low risk/medium reward) - dividend stock
TNH (low risk/medium reward) - dividend stock
GOL (low risk/medium reward) - dividend stock
I am a pharmacist for a large research hospital system based in Ohio. I generally am interested in the pharmaceutical industry as well as large income producing companies. I am long ATHX, PFE, MNTA, and ABLYF
Most recently, Markos Kaminis predicted the stock market correction of 2015 through a series of prescient reports in August. (see proof here: http://seekingalpha.com/article/3482226-investor-who-predicted-the-stock-market-correction-offers-an-update ) Markos warned his followers to stop buying dips in stocks, raise cash levels for a near-term collapse and special buying opportunity, and he suggested aggressive investors or those in need of portfolio hedge use a volatility instrument to do so. He profited 30-fold in a matter of days on his contrarian view in August.
Markos N. Kaminis generated a 23% average annual return on "Strong Buy" stock selections over 5 years and ranked 2nd among a group of 60 analysts in-house as a Senior Equity Analyst over a seven-year period at Standard & Poor's. After proving his value in-house, he was promoted into a special role as an idea generator, supporting the portfolios of institutional clients as well as driving performance within S&P's recommended lists and portfolios. At times, Markos was responsible for up to 10% of the firm's entire "Strong Buy" list and is due a great deal of credit for the group's outstanding performance during his tenure.
Markos followed a group of 30-40 Small and Mid-Cap firms, and was charged with finding new buy and sell candidates across industry sectors. He generated a 23% average annual return over five years on his "Strong Buy" recommendations, and 26% over three years ended 2004. He was ranked 1st of 60 analysts in-house for his "Strong Buy" performance over 4 years (2nd over 5).
Markos also authored IPO research and wrote for high-level newsletters, The Outlook, Equity Insights and Emerging Opportunities, as well as for BusinessWeek Online. He represented his firm as an analytical expert commentator for major media, including television, Internet and through quotes and interviews in reputable publications.
What I want you to know about my plans: After witnessing the worst of Wall Street firsthand and having the ideal vision of my childhood career choice corrupted by reality, I almost switched to full-time charity work at age 40 and still have plans for a non-profit. However, I've since determined to put my stock selection skills, earned through blood, sweat and tears, to better use, and to make my own way. I've determined to give investors something rare, a dignified partner who can manage money with integrity and a clear conscience about the degree of due diligence behind investment decisions... someone who cares more about your money than your wife. I hope readers will become followers of my column here & at my blog, so that when our numbers are substantial, we might start an investment fund or two.
Prior to his Wall Street career, Mr. Kaminis spent time in the back-office, as a mutual fund accountant, where he managed for a time the work of two men. Before this, from age 11 to age 25, he worked as a carpenter's apprentice and carpenter with his father, in both commercial and residential projects. Mr. Kaminis has an intimate knowledge of the real estate and construction market, as well as the restaurant industry. However, as a generalist stock analyst, he showed the ability to learn any and the most complicated of industries in short time - and he gamed every challenge presented to him.
Mr. Kaminis earned his MBA at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, and his BA at Temple University in Philadelphia. However, Markos has been studying the stock market since age 13, when he determined his career path. He made his first investment at age 16, and funded much of his undergraduate education with the proceeds of his investing success.
Mr. Kaminis continues to keep busy forecasting the economic path and securities market activity. Markos is considering the eventual start-up a long/short capital appreciation hedge fund. Such a fund would limit risk through beta reduction, using a diversification strategy targeting sector & industry and long & short position inclusion. At the same time, Markos' theoretical fund would seek maximum capital appreciation through the exploitation of Mr. Kaminis' inherent economic & market discernment gift and proven stock selection skills. Mr. Kaminis also has a team of a select few analysts, technicians, strategists and economists that he has been impressed by over the years, which he expects to tap for the project when the time is right. Mr. Kaminis welcomes your interest in such a potential forward effort, and looks forward to discussing his plans with those appropriate and within legal constraints.
Markos is involved in very early stage entrepreneurial efforts in the testing of certain business models, all of which he intends to tie to a planned non-profit project. The tie will be that the businesses will give employment opportunity to individuals who would otherwise have difficulty finding gainful employment. It will house and heal the homeless, ex-convicts, those completing rehabilitation efforts for drug and other addictions, and others in need of help.
Markos is currently Directing the widely syndicated blog he founded, "Wall Street Greek," and is writing for other well-known publications besides advancing several businesses. Markos' column is syndicated across sites like the Boston Globe, Kiplinger Magazine, UPI and other reputable newspaper and TV websites, as well as private networks, Amazon Kindle, iPhone and more. In the past, he has written for RealMoney.com, Motley Fool and others. Requests to research specific companies are welcome, as we serve our readers. You may contact us via the blog contact info.
Mr. Kaminis welcomes you to follow him here at Seeking Alpha, where he is proud to be a long-time contributor to this strong team of writers. He considers the Seeking Alpha team and management close friends, and for you, people worth knowing and following.
Visit his site: Wall Street Greek (http://www.wallstreetgreek.blogspot.com/)
For the past 30 years, I have been involved in startups, as a founder, and active investor. My first company was purchased by Johnson & Johnson, which set the foundation for future investments.
My level of trading escalated after graduating from college, primarily as a result of my relationship with the founder of the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Institutional Venture Partners, (Netflix, Twitter, Oracle). By focusing on VC backed companies, I soon learned the advantage of investing in promising companies before they became household names. My interest in startups has never waned, and has become my primary focus today.
David Zanoni is ranked in the top 1% of blogging analysts on Tipranks.com for performance and accuracy. He focuses on growth & momentum stocks that are reasonably priced and likely to outperform the market over the long-term. David is a graduate of Rutgers University with a B.S. in Management. He is an independent long term investor of quality stocks and uses options for strategy. David believes in the power of innovation, capitalism, and the characteristics of the American spirit: intellect, fortitude, and adaptability to lead our country and the world to growing prosperity. His wants to help make people money by investing in high-quality growth stocks.
David White is a software/firmware/marketing professional and a long time investor. He has worked in the networking field, the semiconductor equipment field, the mainframe computer field, and the pharmaceutical/scientific instrumentation field. He has bachelor's degrees in bioresource sciences and biochemistry from U.C. Berkeley. He is a former Ph.D. student in biochemistry. He has done significant graduate work in EECS and business at Stanford (through SITN) and UC Santa Cruz. He was awarded a Certificate in Advanced Software Systems (about 1/3 of an MS in EECS) by the Stanford Computer Science Department. He also took most of Stanford's undergraduate Computer Science curriculum.
Invest. Manage risk. Communicate. Educate yourself. Make profits. .
My name is Todd Johnson. I’m a family man, sports fiend, health nut, technology buff, long-time stock investor, and a very lucky mountain climber, all of which has shaped my philosophy as a professional investor for the last 30 years. As my interests might suggest, I am always looking for the upside while striving to minimize risks.
My new passion, which I have realized through DividendLab.com project, is helping other investors learn more about investing; investing in stocks and other assets that are subject to wide price swings can actually enhance their returns when the right investment strategy is applied. To that end, I read company 10k and 10q statements so they can skip them. I compile and analyze the market research that isn’t always at their fingertips. And I don’t make any investment recommendation without committing my own funds first, which is the purest form of accountability.
I added stock and bond analysis to my IT consulting business at the request of a small cap investment specialist in 2002. For my own account I invest mainly in technology and biotechnology stocks, but occasionally I invest in industrial, retail and other stocks. My technology and investment web site is openicon.com. I still enjoy IT consulting and always have some sort of R&D project going on.
Mr. Becker has more than 15-years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, C-level industry executive, drug developer, Wall Street securities analyst and registered financial advisor. He is also an online communications pioneer, popular blogger, and a sought-after speaker at industry events.
Before establishing MD Becker Partners LLC (www.mdbpartners.com) in 2008, he served as president, chief executive officer, and member of the Board of Directors for several publicly-traded biotechnology companies including commercial-stage Cytogen Corporation (acquired by EUSA Pharma) and development-stage VioQuest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
While at Cytogen, Mr. Becker held positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Business Development, Industry Relations, Investor Relations and Chief Executive Officer of AxCell Biosciences, a subsidiary of Cytogen focused on signal transduction pathways. During his tenure at Cytogen, Mr. Becker raised in excess of $130 million in new capital through both public offerings and private placements and in-licensed Caphosol(c), a topical oral agent and prescription medical device for the treatment of oral mucositis and xerostomia.
Prior to joining Cytogen, Mr. Becker was with Wayne Hummer Investments LLC, a Chicago-based regional brokerage firm, where he held senior positions as a biotechnology securities analyst, financial advisor and portfolio manager. He was also the founder and Executive Editor of Beck on Biotech, a monthly biotechnology investment newsletter published from July 1998 through March 2001. Mr. Becker was previously with Kidder, Peabody & Co., Gruntal & Co., L.L.C., and Kemper Securities. He has previously held the following financial licenses: Series 7 (Registered Representative), Series 16 (Securities Analyst), Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent) and Series 65 (Registered Investment Advisor).
Mr. Becker plays an active leadership role as an advocate for the biotechnology industry. He is past Chairman and member of the board of trustees with BioNJ, which is New Jersey's trade association for biotechnology companies, and is currently a member of BioNJ, Pennsylvania Bio, the New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC), and the Pharmaceutical Consulting Consortium, Inc. (PCCI). Mr. Becker placed as a biotechnology/life sciences finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in both 2004 and 2005 and was listed in BusinessWeek's "CEO's 40 and Under" article in December 2006. He attended DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.
MD Becker Partners newsletter site can be found at: http://lifesciencedigest.com
I am a private investor with a broad portfolio diversified across sector and size. Most of my writing, and much of the speculative portion of my portfolio, focuses on small and mid-cap companies in the healthcare and biotechnology sector. This sector provides the opportunity for outsize rewards, though one must be willing to accept significant risk. My background has exposure to healthcare investing and involvement with operating companies, which I believe provides me with a unique perspective. Currently I am an Associate for Finance and Business development at a clinical stage oncology company called Oncoceutics. Previously I was an Analyst at Osage University Partners, a venture capital firm focused on investing in companies developing technologies licensed from universities across a broad spectrum of opportunities including life sciences, information technology, cleantech, hardware and advanced materials. Prior to that, I worked for a grant program directed at life science technology commercialization at the University City Science Center. I also have worked at BlackRock Asset Management in an operations role with the money market and municipal bond fund groups.
I have a B.S. in Finance and Entrepreneurship with a minor in Biological Sciences from Drexel University, and hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Proactiveinvestors is a leading multimedia news organization, investor portal and events management business with offices in New York, Sydney, Toronto and London.
Proactiveinvestors operates five financial websites in four languages providing breaking news, comment and analysis on hundreds of listed companies across the globe daily. We are one of the fastest growing financial media portals in the world.
The group also operates hugely successful “investor forums” where three or four companies present to an audience of high net sophisticated investors, fund managers, hedge funds, private client brokers and analysts.
Ian Mclelland founded Proactiveinvestors in 2006 as a way to channel his own views on companies small and mid-cap public companies. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a full time job as the website's readership exploded.
Joshua "MauiTrader" Hayes is CEO, President and founder of Big Wave Trading Inc., a Maui, Hawaii-based stock market advisory service. Hayes is a well-respected stock trader who combines fundamentals, technicals, psychology and money management to trade professionally for his personal, family, and friends accounts for 16 years. Hayes also runs BigWaveTrading.com, an online stock market commentary and stock selection service for intermediate-term investment strategies using CANSLIM and other strategies. Hayes is a contributor to SeekingAlpha.com has been a contributor to Telechart as Sir Aloha, Realmoney.com, InvestorsParadise.com, BestWayToInvest.com, iStockAnalyst.com, and StraightStocks.com.
Follow @SmithOnStocks on Twitter for more updates (http://twitter.com/#SmithOnStocks
Please read this section carefully for some important disclosures.
Who Am I?
My name is Larry Smith. My career was spent on Wall Street as a biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst and also as Director of Research at Smith Barney and Hambrecht and Quist. On my website, SmithOnStocks, which can be addressed from this Seeking Alpha site, I publish articles on biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. I attempt to be objective and present a balanced view of negatives and positives. Readers should not rely on Seeking Alpha for my latest views and articles on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as informational only. The reports section of my website reflects my most current view on a stock.
How Do I Get Paid?
My only source of revenues from my articles is from subscription revenues from my website. I do not receive any compensation from companies or investor relations firms to write articles. I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity to write articles. I consider direct compensation to be cash compensation that is directly or indirectly tied to my writing articles.
I also do not receive compensation in the form of content. I believe that it is not uncommon for some writers to receive content from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity that are critical components of the articles that they write. I consider this as non-cash compensation. I do not receive advertising revenues from my website so there is no incentive to be sensational in order to create page hits. I only get paid if my subscribers believe that my articles are of value to them and they then decide to subscribe to my services.
You Should View Articles Published on Seeking Alpha as Informational Only
I want to make clear to readers that not all of the reports that I publish on my website are also published on Seeking Alpha. Also, I will sometimes make reports available on my website a significant period of time before publishing the same or a condensed version on Seeking Alpha. All of the articles that are published on Seeking Alpha and my website at the same time have consistent views and opinions. However, at a later data, it may be the case that my viewpoint and opinion may change and these changes in viewpoint and opinion may only be published in articles on my website.
For this reason, readers may want to check the reports section on my website for my current opinion on a stock and should not rely on the latest Seeking Alpha article as my viewpoint or opinion may have changed. The content on my website is intended only for subscribers, but non-subscribers can view the headlines in the reports section which in most cases but not all will announce a change in viewpoint or opinion. However, I emphasize that I undertake no obligation to update my articles on Seeking Alpha and the latest article on Seeking Alpha may not reflect my latest thinking. This is why I want to re-emphasize that any article published on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as information only.
What SmithOn Stocks is All About
SmithOnStocks is not registered as a securities broker-dealer or as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or with any state securities regulatory authority. SOS relies solely on publicly disclosed and available information. While SOS makes all reasonable efforts to confirm the accuracy of its statements and opinions, all comments should be considered only as opinion and should not be considered to be absolute fact. Investors should carefully read the Terms & Conditions and Disclosures sections of my website. Investors should carefully perform their own due diligence, seek other points of view and consult with their broker or financial advisor.
Investing in equities includes considerable risk, and investors should be prepared for the possibility of capital loss. This is particularly the case with biotechnology stocks in which hard to predict clinical and commercial outcomes can often disappoint investors and lead to unusually large declines in price. Potential investors in biotechnology stocks must often be prepared to risk the loss of substantially all of their investment. These stocks are only suitable for investors willing and able to accept unusually high financial risk. Users of my information acknowledge that SOS and its owner are not liable to any person or entity for the accuracy, thoroughness, reliability, or timeliness of the information provided. Users further acknowledge that SOS is also not responsible for any direct or indirect losses that may arise from the use of information provided to any person or entity.
Employees of SmithOnStocks or SOS do buy and sell healthcare stocks, some of which may be the subject of written articles appearing on Seeking Alpha. In the event that employees have a stock investment in a company, that ownership is fully disclosed in notes on Seeking Alpha. On any new recommendation, I have a 48 hour waiting period before initiating a position in a stock. I trade in line with my recommendations.
In 1999 I made an ethical breach that resulted in a suspension from being a registered representative in the securities industry for a period of time. I believe that this measure was harsh beyond any reasonable measure and totally unwarranted. I have gone to great lengths in this report to give my side of the story and I hope that you will read the in-depth account that I have provided. This took place over 16 years ago and has long since ended. There has been no restriction from the NYSE for many years on my working as a registered representative if I choose to go through the required registration procedures.
Still, this NYSE action is like a Scarlett letter that I carry. I would urge you to read the full account of the events that led to this NYSE action and if you do so I believe you will agree that this in no way reflects on my integrity and the way I have always conducted myself, then and now. I strongly believe that the action taken was excessive and I think that if you read my full account you will agree.
People make mistakes. Bill Clinton lied under oath, was impeached and disbarred as a lawyer in Arkansas in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair. However, society has judged him on the body of work that he has done. Suspensions in the security industry can result from serious infractions in which investors are defrauded or swindled. In the events that led to my suspension no investors lost money and as I explain in this report investors who followed my advice made significant amounts of money. Before you rush to any conclusions, let me tell you my story.
I Am Proud in How I Have Conducted My Career
Before I go into the details of this ethical breach, I want to emphasize that I have had a distinguished career on Wall Street. My record from 1971 when I started on Wall Street until 1999 was unblemished. I came to New York from Indiana with no business connections and no money but through hard work I became a highly regarded Wall Street analyst and was selected to the Institutional Investor All Star team in pharmaceuticals for ten years in a row. Based on my record as being the top or one of the top analysts at Smith Barney, I was selected to be head of research from 1981 until 1989. I also served on the Board of Directors at Smith Barney.
Based on my strong reputation, Hambrecht and Quist approached me in 1989 to head their life sciences research effort and to run the annual H&Q (now JP Morgan) healthcare conference. I was a Managing Director and on the operating committee at H&Q. I left H&Q in the late 1990s because I disliked the bureaucracy that was such an integral part of being head of research. I had made enough money to be financially secure and I wanted to get back into doing what I loved, biotechnology research. I joined Tucker Anthony in 1997 as a biotechnology analyst.
Explaining the Events That Led to the NYSE Issue
Tucker Anthony had a sister firm called Sutro and a decision was made early in 1998 to move health care research from Tucker to Sutro. Tucker was an east coast based firm and Sutro was based in Los Angeles. Sutro leased a New York office to which I moved. It was here that an unfortunate train of events was set in motion that led to the NYSE action that put a stain on what I consider an outstanding career.
When I moved from Tucker to Sutro, I maintained my brokerage accounts at Tucker. I conducted normal trading in this account for some months. Then the research administrative research manager for Sutro contacted me and said that for regulatory purposes I would have to move my account from Tucker to Sutro. After some time spent in looking for a broker to handle my account at Sutro I became frustrated. At that time, I had over $5 million in my brokerage accounts. While I was sophisticated in health care investing which made up 10% of my portfolio, I needed help with other parts of the portfolio. I could find no retail broker at Sutro that I wanted to trust my portfolio to. I asked and received approval to look for a broker outside of Sutro and contacted Schwab about finding an investment advisor there to manage my account.
While this was in process, the research administrative manager at Sutro called again and said that Sutro was probably planning to shut down the New York office and I would have to move to Los Angeles or leave the firm. Moving to Los Angeles was not an option for me as my roots were deep in New York. I informed her that given this choice I would soon be leaving Sutro rather then moving to Los Angeles and began to think about what to do. I came to the preliminary conclusion that I would start a consulting firm dealing in biotechnology. I also concluded that I would have to carefully manage my investment portfolio.
It was here that I made a major mistake that I have regretted ever since. Frustrated that my money was tied up in Tucker and I was unable to trade in my account and unable to find a broker that I trusted, I decided to open an account at Schwab without a broker managing it. I indicated on the account transfer form that I was self-employed based on the assumption that I was going to be leaving Sutro imminently. This was my Bill Clinton moment and turned out to be a major mistake.
I continued to work at Sutro while I was waiting for the New York office to be closed which I thought would be in a matter of days or weeks and during this time, I began to execute trades in my account at Schwab. However, after some weeks the research administrative manager at Sutro called and informed me that based on the response they had gotten from clients and the work that I was doing that the firm had reversed itself and now wanted to keep the office in New York and they were also willing to hire two assistants to aid me. There was also the promise of a significant bonus in the upcoming review that based on my work could amount to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Not surprisingly, I decided to stay on at Sutro instead of leaving and starting my own firm. I then looked for and finally found a Sutro broker that I could trust to help manage my portfolio. The brokerage accounts at Schwab were opened in February of 1999 and transferred to Sutro in April 1999. When I moved my accounts to Sutro the compliance department at Sutro saw that there was this hiatus when I had an unauthorized account at another firm. This was reported to NYSE.
NYSE Reviewed My Case and Took No Action for Three Years
Management at Sutro looked very closely at what had occurred and decided that while it was certainly not something they could condone, it was a minor infraction and they thought that given my stellar and unblemished record that NYSE would not take any meaningful action other than a wrist slap. Sutro decided to be pre-emptive in administering the wrist slap and fined me and suspended me for one month. They thought that this would satisfy NYSE based on their interpretation of what had occurred. They wanted me to continue with the firm, paid the sizable bonus I was due and committed to picki up all legal fees.
I then had a deposition with a lawyer from NYSE in early 2000. During a one day interview, he went over all of the details of the accounts that were held at Schwab and all of the trades that occurred in detail. He also looked at all of the reports that I had issued as an analyst during this time to compare to the trading in my account to the issuance of research reports. I then heard nothing more from the NYSE for three years.
Sutro concluded as did I that this issue was behind us. Three years later in mid-2003, I heard from NYSE to my shock that they were re-opening the case. Why after three years was the case being re-opened? In talking to the lawyers at NYSE, I came to understand that this was the result of Elliott Spitzer’s attack on Wall Street research. Remember the famous case of Henry Blodgett who recommended stocks of investment banking clients to clients that he thought were actually sales.
NYSE enforcement was under pressure because this unethical practice had been brought to light by Spitzer and they had missed it. They were under pressure to show how tough they could be as enforcers. They reviewed their records and came up with my case which they decided to reopen it in order to show that they were aggressive enforcers.
They went over the same information that had been gathered in early 2000, but came up with an entirely different interpretation. They said that I effected stock transactions shortly before issuance of research reports which I had prepared and this was a violation of Exchange Rule 472.40(2) (iii). They also said that I failed to disclose that I held securities in stocks recommended in a research report. They said that I opened accounts at a member firm that concealed fact of my employment at another member firm; violated Exchange Rule 407(b). They recommended a censure and two and one-half year suspension.
Two Stock Trades at Question
The information on opening an account at another firm is something that I just discussed at length. This was not in dispute. However, NYSE focused on two stock trades that I made and explained the suspension largely on the basis of these two trades. I believe that they were clearly wrong in their conclusions. Let me discuss those trades in detail.
The first trade was in Stericycle, a medical waste disposal company. I had been following the company for some time with a neutral rating. In my reports, I noted that the Company wanted to buy the medical waste disposal business of Waste Management and if they were successful, I would immediately go to a strong buy.
This acquisition was announced on April 14, 2009 after the close at 4 PM EST. Because it was 1 PM in Los Angeles I held a conference call with Sutro’s traders and the salesforce and told them I was going to a strong buy on the stock. It was the practice of Sutro to initiate new ideas with a conference call in this manner. The traders and sales force would then go out to the clients with the idea. After this, the analyst would follow-up by publishing a note on First Call (an electronic distribution network) and this was done on April 15 This was then followed up by a written research report on April 16. On April 16, I bought 2500 shares of the stock at a price of $12. This was accepted practice at Sutro for research analysts buying stocks that they recommended. There was no requirement to wait for a period of time to buy the stock. The analyst was allowed to buy the stock at the same time as other Sutro employees and clients
The NYSE judged my conduct on standards that were different from those that were accepted practices at Sutro. By today’s standards, the Sutro practices seem very loose but they were common at the time. This is why Sutro did not view this trade as a breach of conduct and kept me as an analyst. The NYSE also said that I did not disclose that I owned Stericycle in my written report. However, none of the analysts at Sutro were required at the time to do so. This was also standard operating procedure.
Stericycle was a major success for investors. Adjusting for stock splits the stock traded at about $3.00 when I first recommended it. Fifteen years later, the stock is trading at about $119. This was one of my best recommendations ever. I held the Stericycle stock for many years and only sold it recently.
The NYSE did not accept that my actions were in line with the practices of Sutro even though I produced a letter to that effect from the research administrative officer. I also argued that a $30,000 investment in a portfolio that amounted to $5 million at the time was de minimus. I argued that the stock was bought and maintained as a long term investment. I argued that it was an excellent money making idea for investors. The NYSE dismissed all of these arguments and maintained that I traded ahead of my recommendation.
The second trade that the NYSE emphasized was a trade in Schering Plough. On April 18, the stock had traded down by 5%. I had an accumulate rating on the stock essentially telling investors to buy the stock for the long term, but connoting less emphasis than a buy. In the morning call to traders and salesmen, I alerted them to the price weakness, but told them there was no change in the fundamental outlook and there was no change in my price target. I was not intending to issue a report, but the research administrative manager told me that the price drop in Schering Plough based on my price target indicated 25% upside that was the accepted criteria for a buy recommendation. Hence, I needed to put out a report in which I upgraded my opinion from accumulate to buy.
I bought the stock on April 20 at the same time as the written report was issued. I previously owned 500 shares and this increased my position to 1000 shares for a total investment of about $35,000 which again was within a $5 million portfolio. The NYSE again accused me of the same things as in the Stericycle situation. They said that I traded ahead of my recommendation and did not disclose that I owned the stock. My responses were the same as for Stericycle and were once again rejected.
Was The NYSE Action Justified?
I think that the NYSE action was out of all proportion to what actually transpired. I think the enforcement officers applied new standards in overturning the prior decision to take no action on this case that had been in effect for three years. They were under pressure to make a big splash in the Elliot Spitzer era to show how tough they were. My recommendations were solid recommendations and indeed the Stericycle recommendation was outstanding.
I fully recognize that my decision to open the brokerage account at Schwab prior to resigning from Sutro was an ethical breach on my part even if I was planning to resign from Sutro. When I decided to stay with Sutro, I transferred my accounts immediately. I strongly and absolutely maintain that my trading in Schering-Plough and Stericycle was in accordance with policies in place at Sutro at the time. By today’s standards these seem loose, but this was common industry practice at the time.
The NYSE review was conducted by a mediator and it was he that determined the punishment. He had spent his entire career as an enforcement officer for the NYSE. He was also friends with the NYSE lawyers on my case and sent out to lunch with them during the hearing. He was the judge, jury and executioner of my fate. As I look back, I question his objectivity and motives. In writing his opinion, he did not acknowledge documents from Sutro that showed that my stock trading disclosures were in-line with their internal procedures. I had no opportunity to review or correct his opinion in the opinion he wrote. In a country in which, guilt or innocence is established by one’s peers, mine was determined by a hanging judge with no experience in the securities business and an apparent pre-determined view on my actions.
Douglas Krohn is a physician in private practice who provides biotechnology analysis. Dr. Krohn employs an evidence-based, peer-reviewed approach to his evaluation of pipeline biotechnology products. He is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, completed his pediatric residency at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and is a former columnist for The Cornell Daily Sun.
Nicholas Smith is currently a financial analyst for Yahoo. He graduated from Creighton University with majors in finance and accounting. He has over three years of experience working as an analyst in a variety of fields, including investment research, corporate FP&A and private equity. His three years working as an analyst combined with the experience he has obtained trading stocks over the past five years have provided him with a unique perspective on the financial markets.
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Mr. Campbell has been providing alpha generating independent equity research to professional money managers for nearly 15 years. In 2003, Mr. Campbell founded E.B. Capital Markets, LLC, an independent research firm serving professional money management firms. Mr. Campbell founded Gundalow Advisors, LLC, a State Registered Investment Advisor providing investment management services to institutions and high net worth clients in 2013. Today, some of the largest money management firms in the country trust the proprietary research developed by Mr. Campbell, including the Power 7 methodology featured in Mr. Campbell's book "Your Guide to Better Stock Picks: Tips from an Advisor's Advisor". Prior to founding E.B. Capital Markets, LLC, Mr. Campbell was Vice President and Partner of Alpha Equity Research, an independent equity research firm. At Alpha Equity Research, Mr. Campbell's responsibilities included institutional sales and client services. Mr. Campbell also developed new research and distribution products. Additionally, Mr. Campbell was responsible for Alpha’s individual brokerage business, providing investment services to high net worth families. In the past decade, Mr. Campbell’s articles have been featured in the Market Technician’s Association trade journal and his insights have been featured in various print and online financial publications, including Barron’s & SmartMoney. Mr. Campbell has also appeared on the financial news network, CNN/fn. Mr. Campbell is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he studied English, Psychology and Business Administration with a focus on economics.
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Most recently, Jeremy held the title of Assistant Vice President at a listed investment bank's asset management group as a buy-side analyst. Previously he worked as a senior valuation analyst for a large international accounting firm. He has also worked in sales for a separate listed investment bank and as a consultant to the insurance brokerage industry. Currently, he manages a long-focused equity and debt portfolio. His financial research interests include capital budgeting, capital markets history, political economy, accounting, speculative patterns in securities prices and firm valuation. He is also interested in military history, modern philosophy and literature. Jeremy is a CFA charter holder.
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