I worked at Ernst & Young in Audit, focusing primarily on real estate companies. I now work at a local public accounting firm in Indianapolis, IN. I focus primarily on small cap companies with few analysts following them, as I believe individual investors may be able to compete at the small cap level. Bull's Eye Investing by John Mauldin and books written about Warren Buffet's investing style have significantly impacted how I view investing. I am a proponent of company analysis more than technical analysis. While technical analysis can tell us a fair amount about what a stock is doing in the short term, company analysis gives us a much clearer picture of what a stock/company will do long term.
A*L was established in 2010 by Jon Carnes, a growth and value-oriented investor who lived for six years (from 2005 to 2011) in China where he researched and invested in dozens of Chinese companies, first long (2005-2009) and then primarily short (2010-2012). Mr. Carnes outperformed other investors by performing extensive “on the ground” due diligence, conducted by a team of experienced analysts and local researchers. His investment opinions were greatly respected by other China focused fund managers attracted to the booming economy but wary of getting duped.
Over several years of scrutinizing over a hundred companies in every corner of China, Mr. Carnes realized that many of those that had gone public were seriously exaggerating their financial performance in their SEC filings. Investors raced to invest billions into Chinese companies that were dishonest and legally accountable to no one, a recipe for disaster for investors, both large and small.
Deciding to take action, Mr. Carnes decided to publicly expose the most egregious frauds he had discovered over the years, focusing on the worst offenders: companies that had exaggerated their profitability by at least 100%. In February 2010, he published a series of reports titled “Management Leaving Investors Stuck at the Pumps” showing that China Natural Gas (formerly NASDAQ: CHNG) management defrauded investors by failing to disclose and likely misappropriating $20 million from an acquisition of an undisclosed related party.
Unfortunately, when CHNG discovered that Mr. Carnes wrote the reports, its chairman Qinan Ji responded by sending an agent to threaten him where he lived in China. Frightened by Ji’s threat, Mr. Carnes removed the reports from the Internet. From this point onward Mr. Carnes knew that publishing the truth while living in China might get him killed.
Mr. Carnes nevertheless chose to remain in China to continue exposing fraud. Knowing that the safety of his researchers depended upon absolute secrecy and anonymity, he published my reports anonymously online using the obvious pseudonym “Alfred Little.” Beginning with CHNG, over the next two years Mr. Carnes exposed a diverse array of investment fraud committed by a U.S. listed Chinese companies.
After two years, CHNG Chairman Qinan Ji’s effort to conceal his fraud finally failed. On 9/21/11 NASDAQ halted trading of CHNG and on 3/8/12 CHNG was delisted. Most importantly, on 5/14/12 the SEC filed fraud charges against CHNG and its Chairman Qinan Ji.
Two more of the companies that Mr. Carnes first exposed faced the same fate. On 2/22/12 the SEC charged Puda Coal (formerly AMEX: PUDA) Chairman Ming Zhao with fraud, confirming each of the allegations in his 4/8/11 report, “Puda Coal Chairman Secretly Sold Half the Company and Pledged the Other Half to Chinese PE Investors.”
Then on 4/23/12 the SEC charged SinoTech Energy (formerly NASDAQ: CTE) and two of its officers with fraud. On 8/16/11, Mr. Carnes was the first to blow the whistle exposing CTE’s massive fraud in a report titled “SinoTech Energy: Enhanced Oil Recovery or Capital Extraction.” Unlike other numerous smaller “reverse merger” frauds, Sinotech was a $168 million IPO listed on NASDAQ underwritten by UBS and Lazard Capital Markets and audited by Ernst & Young.
Three companies, Deer Consumer Products (“DEER”), Sino Clean Energy (“SCEI”) and Silvercorp Metals (“SVM”) criticized in reports published by A*L sued Mr. Carnes for defamation. The three companies coordinated their legal and retaliatory efforts, both in the U.S., Canada and China to silence Mr. Carnes.
The epic battle that followed ended swiftly in a complete rout. NASDAQ delisted DEER and SCEI. SVM and DEER both lost their defamation claims against Mr. Carnes. SCEI abandoned its defamation claim against Mr. Carnes.
After winning the battle against DEER, SCEI and SVM, A*L emerged with the best track record of any China focused investment blog.
Protecting and preserving capital over the long term is more important than growing capital. Particularly devoted to researching cheap stocks of high quality companies, GARP stocks, Magic Formula names, and stocks trading below intrinsic value. Participate long only without hedge when overall bull market is trading for a CAPE under 15 (Tobin's Q under .8X) or when blood is in the streets (not dip buyers), but strive to cut losers early when the facts change and refuse to marry long or short positions unless a "holding period of forever" makes sense. Hunches must be backed up by disciplined systems.
In fully valued markets, we prefer hedging via index options and light commodity trading/trend following. Not interested in participating in latest fad or bubble. Prefer to short the bubble, but only after evidence suggests the bubble has popped.
Prefer to hedge any long positions in frothy markets utilizing a balanced long short equity approach in fairly valued markets. In undervalued markets, we need confirmation from market conditions and valuations in order to invest 100% long (or more) using in the money call options for leverage. Covered calls, calendar spreads, and other options strategies for capturing theta decay.
Cut losers on short side by using ITM put options instead of stock, trend following strategies if trading commodities (for diversification). Fundamental analysis but also technical analysis. Mathematical, disciplined trading strategies. Strive first off to be right about the overall direction of the market (bull or bear). Hold lots of cash when people are being greedy.
Nothing we publish here is a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Please consult your financial advisor before buying or selling any security.
Editor for The Biotech Forum, the #2 subscribed to Marketplace investment service offered through SeekingAlpha. Top 5% ranked analyst (TipRanks) 2013 through first half of 2015. Daily contributor for Real Money Pro. Hedge fund manager from 2008 to 2011. Previously technology executive at Fortune 100 firm for a decade.
Please go to biotechforumsa.com for more on the Biotech Forum service available through SeekingAlpha. For Free Investment Reports on a variety of topics go to bretjenseninvests.com
Michal Slawny joined Seeking Alpha in August 2008 as the contributor relations manager where she builds and strengthens relationships with SA's contributors. She also oversees new contributor intake, creates contributor newsletters, and manages SA's author database.
Prior to joining Seeking Alpha, Michal was the media communications assistant for The Israel Project, an organization dedicated to educating the press and the public about Israel by providing journalists, leaders, and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel. Among other things, in this role Michal was involved in the inception and implementation of press events which were covered by major media outlets ranging from NBC News, ABC News, CNN, and Fox News to the Associated Press, Reuters and The Independent (London). She also conducted research, wrote and edited press material, and created and updated Web page content.
In 2005, Michal interned with Manning Selvage & Lee, one of the world's leading public relations firms. She also gained extensive public relations experience at Koteret Public Relations in Tel Aviv, where she was responsible for writing press releases and organizing photo shoots pitched to the Israeli and international press. Slawny graduated cum laude with a B.A. in journalism, focusing on public relations, and a B.A. in Romance Languages from the University of Georgia. While there, Slawny was heavily involved in student activism and reinstated Dawgs for Israel, heading the group for almost three years.
Michal may be reached at mslawny [at] seekingalpha.com.
I worked at Ernst & Young in Audit, focusing primarily on real estate companies. I now work at a local public accounting firm in Indianapolis, IN.
I focus primarily on small cap companies with few analysts following them, as I believe individual investors may be able to compete at the small cap level. Bull's Eye Investing by John Mauldin and books written about Warren Buffet's investing style have significantly impacted how I view investing. I am a proponent of company analysis more than technical analysis. While technical analysis can tell us a fair amount about what a stock is doing in the short term, company analysis gives us a much clearer picture of what a stock/company will do long term.