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Dan Plettner

 
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  • Closed End Funds Lag the Market Advance [View article]
    Sure, Joe

    SRO is the liquidation trade (in my view). The "clinic" is in an article published Friday afternoon here on Seeking Alpha, but here is a briefing:

    The voting dynamics of SRQ leave for a far greater deal of uncertainty that anything (other than a tender offer) could be accomplished by either side. The same was constraining SRO until a dramatically surprising fact became clear... again, details in Friday afternoon's article:

    seekingalpha.com/artic...

    Disclaimer: I own both SRO and SRQ. BIF (neither SRO or SRQ) is my largest closed end fund position, followed by SRO. SRQ is my smallest holding. All three of these are currently "special situations" in my view and should not be taken as an endorsement of any of the managements.


    On Aug 24 11:21 AM Joe Eqcome wrote:

    > Dan,
    >
    > Please do me the honor of a clinic on the issue(s).
    >
    > Would you be a buyer of SRO or SRQ?
    >
    > Joe Eqcome
    Aug 24, 2009. 11:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Closed End Funds Lag the Market Advance [View article]
    Joe, are you familiar with the voting block dynamics on SRO in contrast to SRQ? Obviously, there is a big difference between the overwhelming probability and merely the possibility of successful liquidation.

    seekingalpha.com/artic...
    Aug 24, 2009. 10:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • DWS Real Estate Fund II: Expect Shareholders to Succeed with Liquidation at Full NAV [View article]
    Quality: It sure makes things easy for me to demonstrate a special situation when the critical surpise facts (or in this case just one) are already public. Personally, I like to share what I know; I like to help people. I wish it was always "easy" to share what I know. I've been getting asked elsewhere what I've recently learned about different special situation and regrettably, I have had to abstain.

    Closed-End Fund market pricing can be tremendously inefficient. I am not merely referring to general discounts. People like myself often know things that would have tremendous affects on market pricing. Despite obtaining knowledge legally and being able to trade on that knowledge ourselves, we may have limitations discouraging us from ourselves putting some types of market price affecting knowledge into the public domain.

    As you may know, I did not anticipate liquidation success in the first go around (and thus did not take any financial position prior to the first liquidation vote). In fairness, please do not assume that my position in SRQ is in any similar size to my position of SRO. SRQ is my smallest position. SRO is my second largest position but itself is a very distant second to my largest position. I have no trading restrictions on anything I do.
    Aug 22, 2009. 03:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • DWS Real Estate Fund II: Expect Shareholders to Succeed with Liquidation at Full NAV [View article]
    The easy answer to your question is in the last paragraph of my response... but I think other readers will benefit from the "color" of my entire response.

    You are a "interesting" or "funny" guy... distributions are not being paid by the funds managed by the alternate group either... and management fees are far higher. Of course many may assume otherwise if they read statements from an opposing control group's spokesperson. Gee, what were you trying to imply?

    I haven't seen anyone at DWS make misleading statements intended to take advantage of an unsophisticated and emotionally-tarnished public.

    DWS has in the last week truly committed SRO and SRQ to corporate governance that truly serves its shareholders, sacrificing DWS' revenues. I believe DWS and parent company Deutsche Bank have actually learned that honoring its Fiduciary Duty is paramount in determining their own long term course.

    Deutsche Band and DWS have demonstrated positive character. I believe that in choosing to commit itself to SRO and SRQ shareholders, DWS and parent Deutshe Bank realized that Character is Paramount in the long term. True, their managers did not see last years market challenges coming and the suffered tremendous misfortune as a result. This year certain other managers terribly mispositioned their portfolios. Nobody has a crystal ball for market performance, but governance and ethics are in a category of their own -- and clear Fiduciary Breaches are transparent to experts.

    Boy, I've been long-winded here.. you'll have to forgive that I have a great deal of conviction in some details that lead to the simple explanation to the potential concern you have brought up...

    There is no meaningful opposing SRO voting block. The reason the first vote failed was not the way votes were being cast, rather how many came in. At the time, DWS had not planned for the possibility of a meaningful challenge to liquidation. I've asked important questions. I've had important conversations with important people. They are committed now. Generally, its the Chairman of the Board that decides whether it is in all shareholders best interest to adjourn a meeting to solicit additional votes. The ability to adjourn a meeting exists because some Chairman might do so in shareholders' interests. Again, Deutshe Bank and DWS are taking a stand here (for shareholder benefit) and frankly I believe the benefit to their reputations will warrant both the lost business and headache's they have accepted to fulfill their Fiduciary Duty.


    On Aug 21 05:59 PM ers wrote:

    > They are still 5 million votes short of a majority 19mil is 50% of
    > 38mm outstanding! How do they get these votes?? No dividends are
    > being paid..just to the bored of directors!.these stocks have such
    > canine qualities they should be wearing Vic's jersey on them!!<br/>
    Aug 21, 2009. 07:51 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • DWS Real Estate Fund II: Expect Shareholders to Succeed with Liquidation at Full NAV [View article]
    On portfolio risk... obviously volatility (upside and downside) is tremendous in a leveraged REIT focused fund. I do not purport that my insights into market timing, nor the REIT sector are nearly on par with my Closed-End Fund specific knowledge. What I will tell you is that professional investors hedge the downside risk by buying puts in related securities and sometimes even sell that extra upside by writing calls in related securities. In this day an age, even small individual investors can do that.

    No, the prospect of liquidation is not nearly as strong for SRQ as SRO. As even Gwailo noted in his piece... DWS did not really employ a significant solicitation strategy for either fund last time. As you probably know, there is a block shareholder who wants to assign assets under management fee contracts to Private Companies beneficially owned by the same family. In my view, the prior results' "votes against" show that block shareholders' voting power (possibly including its sphere of influence). That voting power certainly is inclined to vote against SRQ liquidating if it thinks that in time it can obtain a voting majority itself. That same voting block is just not significant in SRO, and thanks to constraints dictated in the SRO Rights Announcement, it never will be. There are more details which would be less easy for a novice to understand which contribute to the same ultimate conclusion. Put simply, nearly anything could happen SRQ.

    Comparing to the other "idea" you mentioned... BIF. I would best characterize each of these as "special situations" than "ideas". Having said that, I know things about the BIF situation that you don't, and which I'm not in a position to write about right now. I expect a much greater financial performance for all shareholders of BIF, and thus my financial position in BIF is much, much larger. Published NAV of BIF ignores much of what public shareholders are entitled to and will ultimately receive, in my view. In the case of SRO, the pie only gets bigger based on portfolio performance.


    On Aug 21 01:16 PM oldfisherman wrote:

    > Nice to read something intelligent in the Closed-End Fund Space that
    > isn't just bogus propaganda again... Very thankful to have you writing
    > here again, Dan! Some of the garbage that gets published on SA in
    > the Closed-End Fund space is obvious propaganda... worse than having
    > no information at all.
    >
    > Does the portfolio risk of SRO and SRQ concern you? SRO is hard to
    > get into because of the value... is the prospect of SRQ liquidating
    > as good as SRO?
    >
    > Is SRO a better or worse idea than BIF?
    Aug 21, 2009. 06:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Deutsche Bank's DWS Fund: Beyond the Ethical Edge [View article]
    I am a shareholder of SRO and SRQ. I also have done quite a bit of research into the alternate control choice. I hope Gwailo chooses to become aware of each shareholder alternative in detail. If so, I expect that he will not allow his one-sided research to be used as propaganda for reprints.

    Press Contact: plettner@fuse.net
    Aug 4, 2009. 09:09 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Deutsche Bank's DWS Fund - Temptation by Proxy [View article]
    Gwailo

    I give everybody the benefit of the doubt, including you -- for as long as possible. When you gave Horejsi permission to use your articles, were you compensated?

    My apologies for making you feel antagonized. I barely even touched the surface in published articles of what I later discovered. If my impression of your lack of objectivity was truly mistaken, touch base with me at plettner@fuse.net. Your are clearly capable of understanding what I know and never published about. And, I'm certain it would affect your take on your project. If you'd rather not reach out, but you aren't personally aligned with Horejsi, include BIF, BTF, DNY, and FF in articles that refer to Horejsi.... not doing so (much like telling only one side of the story) gives the impression that you are protecting DWS' proxy opponent.

    Hope to meet you, and to give you every benefit of every doubt.


    On Aug 03 07:17 PM Gwailo wrote:

    > Dan - Let's see if I understand your situation:
    >
    > You have acquired a sizeable position in BIF, which is controlled
    > by Stewart Horejsi and has been trading at a substantial (20%+) discount
    > to net asset value. BIF now looks like a "value trap", because the
    > fund has been sitting on the cash raised by its June '08 rights offering,
    > even tho it yields less than BIF's ongoing cost of leveraging with
    > ARP's, while the management fees that BIF pays Horejsi are many basis
    > points higher than the industry norm. Horejsi-controlled trusts have
    > been selling shares of BTF, another fund he controls, and aggressively
    > buying BIF (now up to @18% ownership), perhaps to thwart any challenge
    > to his control from Ron Olin and Doliver Capital, who own @ 17%.
    >
    >
    > You would like to profit from having BIF pay a large special dividend
    > or make a tender offer, even if the offer were in-kind so as to exclude
    > smaller shareholders. Horesi does not seem inclined to do what you
    > want. You have been seeking evidence to support your belief that
    > Horejsi has manipulated the price of BIF stock, and you have published
    > several articles on Seeking Alpha with inflammatory headlines that
    > went beyond the facts offered in support. Seeking Alpha's editors
    > removed those articles after complaints from Horejsi -- an act of
    > censorship that I believe was wrong.
    >
    > "In my opinion, what you have written so far is exceedingly lacking
    > in objectivity. It can be perceived as propaganda. Given that you
    > are an anonymous author it would be particularly important for you
    > to make clear your opinions after researching both DWS and the Horejsi
    > Group who may assign the SRO and SRQ fee streams to its Privately
    > Owned Co-Advisor Companies." - Dan
    >
    > You are entitled to your opinion, although you seem to have mastered
    > the art of antagonizing potential allies, such as myself.
    > I have chosen to focus on problems within the DWS fund group, which
    > touch on Horejsi because he has mounted a proxy contest at two of
    > those funds, the wretchedly performing real estate twins SRO and
    > SRQ. Painting Horejsi as a devil does not make the DWS folks into
    > angels. I have given Horejsi folks permission to reprint an article,
    > but have not endorsed his proxy. Instead, as I wrote last May: "Each
    > SRO and SRQ shareholder should make up their own mind about Horejsi's
    > investment skills, and decide whether his self-interest will coincide
    > with theirs." Your research may help them make that decision, and
    > there is no need for me to duplicate your work.
    >
    > "The current boards of SRO and SRQ proposed a liquidity event, providing
    > their shareholders the opportunity to sell without being subjected
    > to any discount at all.... GF recently conducted a tender offer,
    > another shareholder friendly activity. I don’t see any mention of
    > those positive governance decisions which reflect on conflicts of
    > interest within the investment industry." - Dan re Part I
    >
    > There was something peculiar about that proposal to kill off SRQ
    > and SRO, a/k/a "liquidity event". Why weren't similar "events" proposed
    > at any other hi-discount DWS fund? As Herzfeld's closed-end fund
    > report saw it: "What puzzles us most is management's motivation to
    > fight [the Trust] so hard. Management is devoting significant legal
    > and proxy expense to fight [the Trust], but if they win, the ultimate
    > outcome gives them no future benefit." My own, unproven guess is
    > that DWS-RREEF bungled the redemption of those funds' Auction Rate
    > preferreds, which magnified last fall's losses, and DWS worries about
    > its liability exposure if internal fund documents were to fall into
    > unfriendly hands. The right to sue DWS for mismanagement would disappear
    > on liquidation, and those potential claims were not priced into "net
    > asset value". (It's just a theory...) As for the New Germany (seekingalpha.com/symbo...)
    > tender offer you mention -- it was actually forced upon a reluctant
    > fund as the price of settling a class action lawsuit that challenged
    > the Board's refusal to count any votes cast for Phil Goldstein's
    > slate in a proxy contest back in 2005, on the ground that he wasn't
    > "German" enough. See the fund's SC TO-I filing dated 12/21/07 for
    > details.
    >
    > Finally, a few months ago you asked: "Gwailo, have you ever met any
    > of the people associated with this proxy fight?" Just so the record
    > will be clear, the answer is "no." -'G
    Aug 3, 2009. 09:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Deutsche Bank's DWS Fund - Temptation by Proxy [View article]
    So Gwailo, are you suggesting that SRO and SRQ Board Efforts to provide liquidity at no discount to NAV would have been bad for shareholders?

    Gwailo, do you want to yourself share any comparison between governance at BIF (of the Horejsi Group) with that of DWS?

    In my opinion, what you have written so far is exceedingly lacking in objectivity. It can be perceived as propaganda. Given that you are an anonymous author it would be particularly important for you to make clear your opinions after researching both DWS and the Horejsi Group who may assign the SRO and SRQ fee streams to its Privately Owned Co-Advisor Companies.
    Aug 3, 2009. 11:06 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Deutsche Bank's Strange Curse [View article]
    If this series of articles is truly “about conflicts within the investment fund industry” it has to potential to be groundbreaking. But will the work be objective? I’ve done an enormous deal of investigative research on the subject. If the goal here is propaganda, Part 2 and Part 3 may just turn out to be objective after reader comments regardless of how the articles themselves are written. I’m curious who (Gwailo or readers) will introduce the relevance of Merrill Lynch and others firms.

    As a publicly anonymous author, Gwailo’s work here will be very interesting.

    Will this really be “about conflicts within the investment fund industry”? The subject seems to be governance and ethics.... The current boards of SRO and SRQ proposed a liquidity event, providing their shareholders the opportunity to sell without being subjected to any discount at all.... GF recently conducted a tender offer, another shareholder friendly activity.

    I don’t see any mention of those positive governance decisions which reflect on conflicts of interest within the investment industry... I did here observe a picture of a burning building with a Deutsche Bank headline. I’ve also observed some interesting choices in Gwailo’s former writings.

    To be clear there is nothing wrong with Gwailo being an anonymous author. The question is the validity of the work’s stated purpose. Gwailo might be surprised to know some things I know.
    Aug 2, 2009. 01:14 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Boulder Growth & Income Reckoning with Questionable Shareholders [View article]
    Might be much worse than the pot calling the kettle black...

    Herzfeld has released their August Monthly Edition which documents that Boulder Growth and Income Fund (BIF) performance badly trailed its Closed-End-Equity fund peer group and all three of the Cornerstone Funds on both NAV and Market Return basis for the 1st half of 2009.

    On a market return basis:

    Cornerstone Progressive Return Fund (CFP) +58.73%
    Cornerstone Strategic Value Fund (CLM) +50.36%
    Cornerstone Total Return Fund (CRF) +44.84

    Average Total Return Equity Fund +14.53%

    Boulder Growth and Income Fund - 3.00%
    Boulder Total Return Fund - 4.46%

    I do believe that Market Performance is generally a better indicator than NAV performance as to which Board’s and Control Groups act in the primary interest of all classes of shareholders, rather than unethically in the primary interest of directing maximal assets under management fees.

    Let me explain. I would argue that the discount on the Boulder Fund’s has been directly caused by actions of its Board of Directors and other Insiders who have consistently demonstrated that their primary agenda is to generate assets under management fees for Horejsi Family Interest Owned Private Co-Adviser and Shareholder Services Companies.

    This comment is not intended as an endorsement of the Cornerstone Funds, and I wish make that clear. I do not intend to imply general support or general investment-worthiness by contrasting Cornerstone with the Boulder Funds. As a shareholder of the Boulder Growth and Income Fund (BIF) I have done a great deal of research on the Horejsi Control Group (the people behind the Boulder Funds).

    While my prior articles were removed after pressure from Boulder Investment Advisers Attorney (not due to disputes of fact), I have continued investigating the activities at the company. I would be interested to talk to other shareholders; especially long term shareholders. I can be reached at plettner@fuse.net.

    I am open to speak to over the phone, but prefer to first receive your e-mail indicating approximately when you purchased, and where to reach you.


    On 2008 Nov 19 09:19 PM Gwailo wrote:

    > Given the history of Stewart Horejsi's takeover of BIF (formerly
    > the US Life Income Fund) by a proxy fight back in January, 2002,
    > all one can say is:
    > "Pot....Kettle....Blac...
    Aug 1, 2009. 08:42 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dan Plettner's Seeking Alpha Articles Pertaining to the Stewart Horejsi Group are No Longer Publicly Available [View instapost]
    I would be interested to talk to you and other shareholders who owned the stock prior to February 20, 2008. I can be reached at plettner@fuse.net.

    I am open to speak to over the phone, but prefer to first receive your e-mail indicating when you purchased, and where to reach you.


    On Jun 24 06:44 PM so1dieroffortune wrote:

    > BIF management = crooks. No way around that. I just don't understand
    > how they're able to keep the fund, and how in the world did they
    > manage to get the vote of almost 50% of the outstanding shareholders
    > in the latest proxy vote. Doliver owns 17% of the fund, and several
    > other activists own minor stakes. How are they not able to take over
    > the fund and liquidate or open it up? I would certainly vote for
    > that option, and everyone I know that is invested in BIF would as
    > well. I'm staying long and strong because it is just a matter of
    > time before the shareholder value is restored. Keep up the good work
    > Dan.
    Jul 29, 2009. 05:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • SRO, SRQ Update: Becoming More Curious [View article]
    Usually, a "poison pill" is a bad thing, because usually the "poison pill" is aimed at defending from a control group that wants to restore shareholder value.

    This is a very different thing. The "dissident" (The Susan L. Ciciora Trust) wants to nominate its own Board of Directors so that it can direct the fees generated (which can continue forever).

    Boulder Investment Advisers and Stewart Investment Adviser are privately owned companies, and are owned by Trust's benefiting the same family as the Susan L. Ciciora Trust.

    In hindsight, it sure looks like the current Board of Directors really was trying to do a huge service to shareholders by proposing liquidation. All the Boulder Funds (managed by the Private Advisers the Susan L. Ciciora Trust represents) trade at huge discounts.

    Now, SRQ and SRO trade a huge discounts, too. Looks to me like the market fears the Susan L. Ciciora Trust, and what a Susan L. Ciciora Trust victory would mean to SRQ and SRO shareholders....

    I've done a lot of investigative analysis on this subject.

    Press Contact: plettner@fuse.net


    On May 08 04:40 PM Gwailo wrote:

    > The rights offering is actually the "poison pill". Here's how it
    > works:
    >
    > Horejst now owns about 17% of SRQ. As soon as anyone acquires ownership
    > of more than 17%, everyone *except the acquirer* gets to buy more
    > shares very cheaply. (For every share you own now, you could buy
    > 3 more for a penny each. Of course, the net asset value per share
    > would be reduced proportionately.) So if Horejsi buys any more shares,
    > his 17% would automatically be diluted down to about 4%. So he won't
    > (hopes DWS.)
    Jun 27, 2009. 04:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • SRQ and SRO: Voters Have Spoken [View article]
    Philistine

    Thanks for your kind words about my writings. It is regrettable that the very articles you applaud were removed from Seeking Alpha following a letter from the Boulder Investment Advisers' attorney. Certainly, one of the removed articles was exceptionally relevant to the SRQ SRO situation -- and was very much capable of enlightening an audience which has been flooded by propaganda.

    If you wish to understand why the articles were removed, the explanation from Seeking Alpha's Editor-In-Chief is shown here:

    home.fuse.net/danplett.../


    On Jun 08 10:04 PM Philistine wrote:

    > I appreciate your writings on the Horejsi affiliates Dan. I became
    > very suspicious of them when I read the absolutely inane arguments
    > they presented about why stockholders should reject the opportunity
    > to get the full value of the SRQ holdings and decide for themselves
    > what to do with their money. Your articles jibe very much with what
    > appeared obvious to me without your more sophisticated understanding
    > of CEFs--by gaining control of SRQ/SRO, they could not only acquire
    > assets at a substantial discount, but they could gain control of
    > other people's assets and ensure a steady stream of management fees
    > too. All it takes is duping gullible investors with words awfully
    > similar to "corporate hari-kari" when referring to appropriately
    > exercising fiduciary responsibility and returning shareholder value;
    > and "rescue" when speaking of actions that serve to destroy shareholder
    > value in both the short term and long term. On a related note,I will
    > be very interested in seeing whether Gwailo responds to your comment
    > about whether he has met any of the people involved in the proxy
    > fight.
    > I would also be very interested in knowing whether you think the
    > DWS attempt to fend off Horejsi was motivated by a sense of fiduciary
    > responsibility or by something else. If the former, do you think
    > there is a reasonable chance that they would attempt further actions
    > to narrow or eliminate the discount if they retain control of the
    > board (lets say >30% over the next year)?
    >
    > Thanks for your insight.
    Jun 25, 2009. 10:07 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Insider Buying at BIF: Manipulation or Hallucination? [View article]
    It is regrettable that the very articles that Joe Eqcome found to have merit were removed from Seeking Alpha following a letter from the Boulder Investment Advisers' attorney.

    For Joe's readers who wish to do some background reading and understand why the articles were removed, the explanation from Seeking Alpha's Editor-In-Chief is shown here:

    home.fuse.net/danplett.../
    Jun 25, 2009. 10:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dan Plettner's Seeking Alpha Articles Pertaining to the Stewart Horejsi Group are No Longer Publicly Available [View instapost]
    Dear BreezyMoney

    Thanks for your comment. It will be interesting to see whether people following SRQ, SRO, BIF, BTF, FF, and DNY will comment here on the blog and become “Followers”of mine so that they can see instablog posts and comments.

    It sounds to me like you are pointing much of the criticism toward SeekingAlpha.

    SeekingAlpha should get some credit for both sharing their Editor-In-Chief’s internal memo with me, and for what that memo itself said. Mr. Weinstein went out of his way to note that the removals were not caused by disputed claims of fact. One might interpret his memo, and its being disclosed to me as a slap back to the face of the Boulder Investment Advisers’ attorney.

    If the Horejsi Group or Boulder Investment Advisers, LLC (BIA) feels that these articles were influencing perceptions of Criminal Fraud, and if those perceptions were inappropriate, would it not make more sense to do something to change the facts? Or wouldn’t the Horejsi Group be interested to present their own opinion as to what the facts imply in a Press Release? They Horejsi Group has used Press Releases to attack other entities, why not to defend itself?

    Perhaps they will take an opportunity to change the facts now. I’m going to give them a bit of time before I share facts and my opinions elsewhere. The problem for the Horejsi Group and BIA is that what is true is true. You can put legal pressure on a small editorial group to try to prevent the truth from being heard, but BIA’s attorneys can not take the stink off the truth.

    We live in an age of Financial Reform; in the age of Twitter... BIA and the Horejsi group might not like my definition of “a bit of time.”

    Best Regards
    Dan Plettner

    PRESS CONTACT: plettner@fuse.net


    On Jun 18 03:07 PM BreezyMoney wrote:

    > WOW! So let me get this straight .. you can badmouth anyone you want
    > without facts, but as soon as you start using facts they will censor
    > you. The Boulder staff must possess a lot of power ..
    >
    > BTW, it's funny how they pulled down EVERY BIF article you did ..
    > not just one or two wherein you described how us shareholders were
    > being played .. (See, I can say "being played" and I'm sure Seeking
    > Alpha won't censor this comment, and I have stated no supporting
    > facts .. funny how that works).
    Jun 18, 2009. 03:54 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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