I am an early career scientific researcher who has taken a strong interest in investing, both for achieving my personal financial goals as well as serving as an alternative conduit where critical and logical thinking are appreciated and rewarded. I write articles to share ideas, refine my own thinking and invite discussion from the astute readership of Seeking Alpha.
For a better Seeking Alpha experience on your phone, please consider viewing the website on your browser (request desktop site for full functionality) instead of through the Seeking Alpha app.
Within the academic field, I have a career total of 87 articles and 5 book chapters, 2,600 total citations and an h-index of 31 (metrics from Google Scholar).
Long-time student of inefficiently traded securities typically owned by retail investors, 30 years experience trading and investing in closed-end funds. Tax efficiency matters too.
Worry about risk; returns will take care of themselves. And don't be last in line at the bank.
Photo = secret, undisclosed location in the Wasatch Mountains near SLC. Anyone wanting to visit should write.
Eric Boughton, CFA, is the portfolio manager for the Matisse Discounted Closed-End Fund Strategy (MDCEX), an open-end mutual fund aiming to produce superior risk-adjusted returns by purchasing income-producing closed-end funds at significant and unwarranted discounts to NAV. His statistical model searches the entire universe of US CEFs daily and selects funds best positioned for both capital gains and income. The result is a diversified, globally balanced portfolio.*
Eric has over 15 years of investment experience, most recently as a Portfolio Manager and Analyst with 1st Source Investment Advisors, where he co-managed a publicly traded mutual fund, created the firm’s outside mutual fund recommended list, analyzed individual equity securities, and devised a quantitative approach to fundamentals-based security selection.
Eric received a BS in Mathematics--Applied Analysis from the University of Houston in 1997, graduating at the top of his College, and is a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charterholder.
*Before investing, please read the fund's prospectus. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
My background is in governance, valuation, and accounting.
I try to look at stocks as the sum of contractual rights provided by domicile and certificate of incorporation, and am always cautious about the potential for management or controller overreach.
I also spend a lot of time thinking about the limitations of accounting in presenting reality. I'm especially interested in the application of GAAP to make a company a more or less attractive prospect for investment than it actually is.
I'm primarily interested in long-only equities. I try to avoid announced M&A as I no longer like the risk distributions, but M&A will occasionally find me, when a security I own is involved in a control transaction.
I've been a securities analyst, both in and out of large institutions, for a number of years and I hope to continue to do this for the rest of my lifetime.
Founder of the school of Nouveau Shamanic Security Analysis (NSSA).
"He is no longer an analyst"
--- Sean Penn, 1999
"For he is the Kwisatz Haderach"
-- Alia Atreides, Dune, 1985
"He may have been asleep, but that was before you dropped a f*cking plane on his head and woke him up."
--Didi Giancano, Heaven's Prisoners, 1996
Mr. Lipson is the founding partner of Western Investment LLC. He managed Fixed Income Research departments at Kuhn, Loeb; Lehman Brothers and Paine Webber. In 1973, he created the Kuhn, Loeb Bond Indices which survived serial corporate lives and became the Lehman Brothers Bond Indices and which are now the Barclays Capital Bond Indices; the world's first and most widely used measure of total return in the bond market. He also developed the first fixed income index fund as well and many other pioneering tools in fixed income portfolio management. Prior to that he worked at Goldman, Sachs where he saw opportunity in the neglected bond market and initiated their fixed income research efforts in 1969. He noticed significant inefficiencies in closed-end funds and began investing in CEFs in 1984. After moving to Salt Lake City, he opened his first partnership in 1995 after the internet came up and made it possible to easily execute quantitatively driven transactions on a real-time basis. Western Investment began activism in 2004 and has been involved in 39 situations. More information is available at www.FixMyFund.com.
Phillip Goldstein co-founded Bulldog Investors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser, in 1992. Mr. Goldstein has served as a director of a number of closed-end funds and is currently a director of the Mexico Equity and Income Fund Inc., Special Opportunities Fund, Inc., Imperial Holdings, and MVC Capital, Inc. He is a Principal of Brooklyn Capital Management, LLC, an SEC registered Investment Adviser. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1966 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree and from City College, New York in 1968 with a Master of Engineering degree. Mr. Goldstein has appeared on CNBC and is a widely quoted expert on closed-end funds and shareholder activism.
Value-based contrarian investor and thematic thinker. Successful institutional investor for over two decades - managed over $50B in portfolios for clients including some well known mutual funds, hedge funds, pension plan sponsors, and central banks. Now on own path, advising some large nonprofit entities and broadening into startup and philanthropic spaces. Some things will never change - a fiduciary, through and through.
Who I Am:
I'm a retired individual investor. I retired at the end of 2013 after a 35 year career as a professor and research scientist at a major research university. My professional life involved multiple international projects and collaborations, so I traveled extensively over those 35 years. I plan to continue doing so in my retirement.
My investing priorities are building and refining portfolios designed to provide income and capital growth: Income for my retirement needs, and capital growth for my estate. My investing philosophy tends toward the long-term, value side of the spectrum, but I'm not opposed to occasional flings on attractive, speculative opportunities.
My investing interests are tax-advantaged income from a range of sources, portfolio strategies, information- and bio-technology, and momentum-based strategic allocation.
Why I Write for Seeking Alpha:
I learned long ago that "writing is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is." The line comes from a Guindon comic strip of many years ago, and could not be more true in my case. When I did research professionally, I learned that writing it up forces me to think about details I might otherwise overlook. It's how I spent my working career, so it comes more or less naturally to me. I consider it an essential part and parcel of doing any research. So, the writing I do here is as much for myself as for the reader.
As I started to contribute articles here, they grew out of research for my personal investment portfolios. They're based on things I've uncovered that are of interest to me and may be of interest to others of like mind. For many more-seasoned investors some of the things I write about are old-hat. My primary purposes in writing them are to help clarify my thinking and to get feedback from others who may have very different opinions. It's those thoughtful comments that make Seeking Alpha such an important resource. To that end, I try to actively engage myself in the comment streams in my articles, contributing what I can and learning from others.
As a research scientist I spent a career spanning four decades devoted to free exchange of information vetted by rigorous peer review. It's a concept I firmly believe in. I hope to bring that approach to my interactions and contributions on Seeking Alpha and welcome critical commentary on anything I may contribute here.
I encourage and welcome your comments. I try to respond to most insights, elaborations, and questions to the best of my ability. I especially encourage and appreciate thoughtful comments from those who disagree with me (although I tend to ignore obvious trolls and encourage others to do so as well). So, go ahead, start a conversation in the comment threads. It's one of the best things about Seeking Alpha.
My Investment Philosophies and Strategies:
I maintain two portfolios. My income portfolio is a taxable account. I try to keep it separate from the growth portfolio which is housed in a series of IRAs, traditional and Roth.
My income focus is on tax-advantaged income. In 2016 I face minimum required withdrawals from my tax-deferred accounts, so tax efficiency is an important consideration.With the need to take withdrawals I expect to shift my taxable accounts to more growth-focused (unrealized cap gains) investments. Making this shift while retaining income is my overarching priority for 2015. To that end, I expect to be generating more of my income from options as I gradually phase out my high-yield investments.
The IRAs I see as my estate and are focused on generational wealth building. That means the growth portfolios have a very long term horizon, well beyond what an investor of my age might be expected to maintain.
I am a believer in the precepts of MPT (Modern Portfolio Theory). I'm aware that MPT doesn't get a lot of respect by some of the DIY investors at Seeking Alpha. My readings in the field indicate to me that the research solidly supports the overall MPT approaches to investing. So, I am a believer in diversification. Not the sort of diversification that means I hold equity positions in every sector; the sort that means I hold positions in the full spectrum of asset classes with a watchful eye on correlations and a willingness to rebalance among asset classes, even when it goes against my gut feelings. By asset classes, I mean high level asset classes: Domestic and international equity, sovereign and corporate debt, emerging markets (equity and debt), real estate, commodities and so forth. I try to adapt that approach to both my income and growth investing.
Who Is Left Banker?
Ah yes, the name. When I first joined Seeking Alpha I had no intention of being anything but an occasional reader. I saw it as another research site. So, I just ported a name I've used on other sites. I spent some of the best times of my life living on the left bank of the Seine and am always thrilled to be back in La Belle Paris. It refers, too, to the left bank of the Gironde where some of my favorite wines are produced. When I'm feeling particularly flush, they're one of the splurges I'll treat myself to. So there is a major place in my heart for both common references for Left Banker.
Add that I also like it because I find several subtle word plays there; I'll leave it to you to decipher that comment.
I've chosen to remain anonymous. First, I have no professional role in finance and nothing to sell, so there is no advantage to be gained by "making a name for myself' here. Second, I value my privacy and have kept my internet presence as low-key as my professional life allowed. I certainly want to avoid any possibility of some internet connection trying to track me down. Odds against that happening are, of course, outrageously long, but why take them on at all?
I have no ties to the financial or security industries in any form. My interests are strictly personal. The banker part of the nym has absolutely no relationship to the profession of the same name.
Readers should be aware that I am an investing novice, some might say dilettante. I do not give advice; what I publish is much more in line with a research notebook. Anyone who finds anything of interest will necessarily want to do his or her complete research and due diligence. It would be foolish to rely on my conclusions without having done so.
Independent, fee-only financial planner and investment advisor, generally recommending portfolios of open-end mutual funds that clients may easily implement on their own.
As a private investor, I add closed end funds, BDCs, ETFs, and the occasional stock to the mix.
The author works at a long horizon multi asset class investment management organization; and has been in the markets professionally for two decades. Avocation is unusual situations, as well as instruments with embedded options. Has a bias toward misunderstood, illiquid, potentially "yieldy" types of securities that have lost their narrative, and thusly, their holder constituency. Likes securities which have a "hard" net asset value that can potentially be used as a safety net if circumstances do not cooperate with the intial analysis. In most cases, prefer to find investments where time is in the holders favor - whether it means value is being recognized by a slow moving liquidation, or a legal process that is being ground out, or even the demise of control shareholders / management. These "thin file" investment ideas mean that most of the leg work has to be done by the investor themselves, rather than relying on sell side analysts, or external third party firms. Primary sources of research include corporate filings as well as competitor and peers filings, and an understanding of management's incentives/motivations for certain outcomes.
Current focus areas include most of the unusual wrapper yieldy vehicles that would not go into conventional capitalization weighted indices such as FI CEFs, BDCs, MLPs, REITs, mREITs, Royalty Trusts and so forth.
Robert Lewis has been a practicing attorney in New York since 1972. Prior to become an attorney Robert worked as a stock broker for an over the counter trading firm known as M.L. Lee & Co.. Although he has a successful practice, Robert's primary source of accumulated wealth has always been from finding market niches. His prior area of interest had been the publicly held limited partnerships promoted in the 1980s.
Robert has been a member of The New York Board of Trade, Comex, American Stock Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Minneapolis Grain Exchange, Chicago Stock Exchange and the Winnipeg Commodities Exchange. He has passed the Series 3, 7, 63 and 65 exams and is presently registered as an Investment Advisor.
Robert has been focused on closed end funds for the past 3 years, although he has been following and investing in them for over 30 years. Robert feels strongly that CEFs offer great opportunity and are superior to Hedge Funds or Private Equity as an alternative asset investment. Closed End Funds offer great opportunity with reduced risk.
Robert Lewis has been involved in investment management for others for the past five years. All funds are segregated into seperate brokerage accounts, designated and set up by the client. Most clients have elected to use Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab as their brokers. A fee of one (1%) per cent per annum is charged with the client being billed quarterly. There are no minimum account sizes.
He can be reach at:
Robert L. Lewis
7 Penn Plaza - Suite 1602
New York, N.Y. 10001
212-721-7353 Extension 230
George Spritzer, CFA is a registered investment advisor at Southland Investments and specializes in managing closed-end funds for individuals.
George uses the following investment strategies:1) Opportunistic Closed-end fund investing: Buy CEFs at larger than normal discounts to NAV and sell them when the discounts narrow. 2) Exploit special situations: tender offers, fund terminations, fund activism, rights offerings etc.
Following 23 years with JPMorgan, Simon Lack founded SL Advisors, LLC, in 2009. Prior to that, Simon was CEO and founder of the JPMorgan Incubator Funds, two private equity vehicles that took economic stakes in emerging hedge fund managers. From the late 1980s through 1999 through several bank mergers Simon ran Fixed Income Derivatives and Forward FX trading for JPMorgan and predecessor institutions, ultimately overseeing 50 professionals and $300 million in annual revenues. Simon also sat on JPMorgan’s investment committee allocating over $1 billion to hedge fund managers. He is the author of two books: The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It’s Too Good to Be True, published in 2011 to widespread praise from mainstream financial press including The Economist, Financial Times and Wall Street Journal; Bonds Are Not Forever; The Crisis Facing Fixed Income Investors (August 2013). Simon makes regular appearances on cable TV business shows discussing hedge funds and investing.
Joe Eqcome is the pen name of Robert A. Frank, CFA, a Wall Street executive who has spent over 30 years as an investment professional. Mr. Frank is the founder of GrowthIncome Research & Management, LLC.
GrowthIncome Research & Management, LLC’s business mission is focused on generating supplemental retirement income through investment in regulated investment companies (“RIC’s” or “investment companies”) whereby the Firm can maximize investment income for its clients by virtue of the RIC’s conduit status.
RIC's include closed-end funds (CEF’s), open-end funds (mutual funds) and exchange traded funds (ETF’s). Other non-RIC, conduit vehicles include real estate investment trusts (REIT’s) and Master Limited Partnerships (MLP’s). Particular emphasis is placed on CEFs given their under-research and inefficient valuations.
Mr. Frank, a chartered financial analyst (CFA), spent his first 20 years in the investment business as a real estate research analyst for the investment banking firm of Alex Brown & Sons, Inc., (later sold to Deutsche Bank) where he was a managing director and group head of the real estate securities researched division.
Mr. Frank was later an executive vice-president, director of equity research and co-head of capital markets at Legg Mason, Inc. Mr. Frank founded Intellectual Capital Markets, Inc., a financial services firm in which he sold his interest; he also served as a real estate investment banker at a regional investment banking firm.
Mr. Frank has been a former "Institutional Investor" All-Star Analyst for multiple years, a featured interviewee for Barron's Magazine multiple times, a guest on Wall $treet Week and Bloomberg TV, former governor of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”), charter member of the Berman Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, former Trustee of the University of Baltimore, former Trustee at Friends School of Baltimore, former director of Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust (sold to Kimco Realty Trust, Inc.), recipient of the “Life-Time Achievement Award” by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the American Real Estate Society's "Award of Merit".
GlobalTrekker has traded closed-end funds institutionally, and profitably, for over 20 years and maintains a proprietary database with weekly regression analysis of all funds traded domestically. Objective, detailed data research, free of survivor bias, has been the hallmark of his investment strategies.
An individual who has advised families the last thirty years, FAMCO started as a lawyer representing regional commercial bank and trust companies back when they still existed, then investment partnerships back when they were still profitable, and more recently with large multi-national money center banks back before TARP.
FAMCO's prominent theme is that the current financial intermediaries, (commercial banks, insurance companies and investment banks) have concerned themselves so much with the pursuit of scale, that they offer advice which does not benefit or suit their clients. In the case of all three financial intermediary entities, we have seen the disasterous outcomes in no uncertain terms caused by the gradual disconnect between the mega firm and its family clients.
The commercial banks switch to fee-based models the last 15 years has brought forth a new generation of bankers who are completely unskilled in credit analysis and risk management, as we have seen quite clearly the last three years. The number of investment firms that now depend mostly upon trading profits from their large instituitional clients is unequivovally pitting the needs of those large insitutional clients against the family office and individual client.
Finally, insurance underwriters have become fixated on the origination fees of their products, rather than the viability of the products themselves. That fact that a derivative is only as good as its counterparty's credit worthiness should never have been an issue, but in fact became the dominant theme of the 2008- 2009 meltdown.
Today's family cannot not rely upon the advise of the large financial intermediaries. The conflicts have expanded, the quality of the judgment has diminished and there are simply not enough common goals and mutual interests betweeen the corporate culture and its individual clients for the objectivite counsel to fulfill the fiduciary obligations required from a trusted advisor.
Dan Plettner invests and licenses his own real time trading data to Covestor Ltd. Dan previously licensed his written content to DealFlow Media, for the Closed-End Fund Alert.
Dan focuses his qualitative investigative research methods on Closed-End Funds and other underfollowed securities. His efforts seek to identify potential valuation changes which are unanticipated by median market participants. He believes readily available “quantitative research” is of minimal value for achieving outsized returns within any particular investing style.
Dan Plettner was born in 1975 and has been investing since his teen years. After completing his undergraduate degree Magna Cum Laude from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), he won the “NSD award” as a retail Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. Dan relocated to Morgan Stanley’s International Headquarters in Manhattan where he served as a Closed-End Fund Product Specialist until 2000 and then attained his MBA from New York University.