Other things to know:
1) I research a lot of companies, but invest in very few. My goal on SA is to provide analysis, particularly of small and underfollowed companies, that readers can use as a starting point for their own research. When you read my articles, please understand that I try to present an objective, high-level look. My job is to present the story whether or not I'm personally interested, and it's up to the reader to determine if it's the sort of situation that is worth monitoring.
2) I appreciate comments whether you agree with me or not - especially in cases where I might be wrong, I'd like to know why! If you happen to be a particular expert on a topic and are interested in discussing it further, please shoot me a direct message. I would love to chat. Or if, you know, you're just a lonely value investor who wants a friend. Jokes aside, I've made lots of great friends through SA and am always open to talking.
3) If you enjoy reading my work, in no particular order, you might also enjoy reading fellow SA authors Vince Martin, Stephen Simpson, Brian Grosso, Adib Motiwala, Jeremy Raper, Investing 501, and Ted Barac. Most of them have professional investment expertise and the ones who don't are equally insightful. Like Amazon recommendations, not all of these will be perfect, but if you're new to SA, it's as good a place as any to start!
All the usual disclaimers apply... articles are provided for entertainment purposes only, interpret everything as opinion rather than fact, do your own due diligence, this is not an offer to sell securities, forward looking statements are not made using a crystal ball, etc. Most importantly, I will reiterate that everything I write is an opinion; analyzing stocks is inherently subjective and two reasonable people can come to different conclusions.
Martin Vlcek is a full-time investor and analyst who has been actively investing and managing money for more than 15 years. Martin has an Economics degree. Martin’s investment philosophy is to hold a truly diversified portfolio of investments across asset classes with low or negative correlation and a positive carry if possible. His primary stock investment focus is on undervalued small-cap stocks with favorable risk-to-reward ratio and upcoming catalysts.
Martin became a full-time investor and money manager after a 15-year career in online marketing where he was one of the pioneers of the pay-per-click search. Martin later held managerial positions at several Fortune 500 companies and also managed his own startup company.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Martin is not a Registered Investment Advisor, Broker/Dealer, Securities Broker or Financial Planner. The Information in his articles, his comment and his premium subscription service on SeekingAlpha.com or elsewhere is provided for information purposes only. The Information is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other advice, is general in nature and not specific to any individual. Before using Martin's information to make an investment decision, you should seek the advice of a qualified and registered securities professional and undertake your own due diligence. None of the information provided by Martin is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any security, company, or fund. Martin is not responsible for any investment decision made by you. You are responsible for your own investment research and investment decisions.
Mr. Shapiro has more than two decades of portfolio management and analytically varied experience from a number of "buy-side" positions, employing a rare combination of credit, legal and equity analytic and workout skills. Prior to founding the Lawndale organization in 1992, Mr. Shapiro managed the workout and restructuring of large portfolios of high-yield bonds, distressed equities and risk arbitrage securities for the Belzberg family's entity, First City Capital. Before joining First City, Mr. Shapiro was involved in numerous highly leveraged corporate acquisition and recapitalization transactions for both Manufacturers Hanover Trust and the Spectrum Group, a private equity firm.
Mr. Shapiro received his JD degree from the UCLA School of Law where he was an Olin Fellow, an MBA from UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management where he was a Venture Capital Fellow and a BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, where he has taught finance courses and frequently guest lectures.
Mr. Shapiro was recently selected to the 2012 NACD Directorship 100, a list of the most influential leaders in the boardroom and corporate governance community. He is often quoted on matters of corporate governance, fiduciary duty and activist investing and has been the subject of several articles, including a Business Week article in 2000 calling him “The Gary Cooper of Governance”. Mr. Shapiro frequent speaks and panels on corporate governance and activist investing issues at a broad range of prestigious forums that include the Council of Institutional Investors, National Association of Corporate Directors, American Society of Corporate Secretaries, SEC Advisory Committee on Small Public Companies, and the Director’s education programs of Stanford Law School, UCLA Anderson Grad. School of Mgmt., the Wisconsin Business School and Yale’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance, among others. Mr. Shapiro is a Contributing Author at Seeking Alpha.
Mr. Shapiro started Lawndale’s funds in 1993 with only $188,000 under management and through performance and added capital has grown the firm’s managed assets substantially. Lawndale applies a private equity approach through active and relational ownership of public company securities. In most investments, Lawndale plays a constructive relational role by actively working with boards and management teams to help them achieve their strategic and operating goals. In other instances, Lawndale is a direct value-unlocking catalyst, utilizing a range of tools that include aggressively promoting improvements in a company's governance and operational structures, proxy actions, asserting shareowner’s legal rights and taking active roles in restructuring and buyout proposal negotiations..
Founded CompleteBankData to create powerful and easy to use tools that gives bank investors an edge.
Bloomberg Terminal: APPS BANKS
Founded the Oddball Stocks Newsletter (http://www.oddballstocksnewsletter.com) as a way to highlight attractive out of the way investment opportunities.
CompleteBankData is the ultimate edge for bank investors. It pulls fresh data from bank filings into a simple, powerful interface so you can find profitable trades faster. Spend your time making decisions. Not finding them.
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I am a retired CPA and hold a Harvard MBA, as well as CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), and CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designations.
Data Driven Investing, a book I co-authored in 2004, may be viewed through Google Books at http://bit.ly/11uTzq6 . The book fully documents (with Fidelity statement excerpts) the 788% returns (over $3,000,000 in gains) earned between 7/00 and 3/04 in my highly diversified, small cap value stock portfolio.
Note that past performance does not guarantee future results. In fact, my returns since 2004 have been significantly lower and are unlikely to ever approach 2000-2004 levels, due to my adoption of a more conservative style and the unusually high returns of small cap value from 7/00-3/04.
I'm currently involved in several startup businesses involving gamification of financial data, human capital equity investments (i.e. income share agreements), and other innovative financial arrangements.
I use technical analysis as well as fundamental analysis in my research.
"A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure."
"Life and investing are long ballgames."
I’ve been on top of the world, and the world has been on top of me. I have learned to enjoy the perspective from each view, and use opportunities to persistently acquire knowledge and enjoy the company of those around me, especially loved ones, friends, and family. Twenty year career as an investment analyst, investor, portfolio manager, consultant, and writer. Founder of Koldus Contrarian Investments, Ltd, which was incorporated in the spring of 2009. Dyed in the wool contrarian investor, who has learned, the hard way, that a good contrarian is only contrarian 20% of the time, but being right at key inflection points is the key to meaningful wealth creation in the markets. I believe we are near a meaningful inflection point, perhaps the biggest one yet, for the third time in the past 15 years. Turned an account with $60,310.87 on January 1st, 2009 into an account with $3,177,937.71 on November 30th, 2009, inclusive of $325,700.00 of withdrawals. For verification, read my April 27th, 2015 article titled, "Raise Cash, Prepare To Short U.S. Stocks, And Buy Out-Of-Favor Companies". Within the article is an account statement from that time period. Historically, I have had huge wins and impressive losses based on a concentrated, contrarian strategy. Trying to keep the good while filtering out the bad. Seeking to run an all weather portfolio with minimal volatility and index overlays to capture my strategic and tactical recommendations along with a concentrated best ideas portfolio, which is my bread and butter, but the volatility only makes it suitable for a small piece of an investor's overall portfolio. At heart, I am a market historian with an unrivaled passion for the capital markets. I have had a long history and specialization with concentrated positions and options trading. Made money in 2008 with a net long portfolio, deploying capital in some of the market's darkest hours into long positions including purchases of American Express, Atlas Energy, Crosstex, First Industrial Real Estate, General Growth Properties, Genworth, Macquarie Infrastructure, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, and Vornado near their lows. Shorting, hedging, and option strategies also helped me in 2007 and 2009, and these are skills that I have developed ever since I started trading heavily in 1996. I enjoy reading, accumulating knowledge, and putting this knowledge to work in the active capital markets, learning lessons along the way.
To this day, I continue to learn, and some of these learning lessons have been excruciatingly difficult ones, especially over the past several years, as I made mistakes allocating capital, including a sizable portion of my own capital (I always invest alongside my clients), to commodity related stocks. While all commodity related stocks have struggled since April of 2011, coal companies, which attracted me due to their extremely cheap valuations, and out-of-favor status (I am a strong believer in behavioral finance alongside fundamentals and technicals) have been the worst investing mistake of my career. The focus on the commodity arena has been the biggest mistake of my investment career thus far, yet in its aftermath, I see tremendous opportunity, even larger in scope than the fortuitous 2008/2009 environment.
The capital that I accumulated and the confidence gained in navigating the treacherous investment waters of 2008 gave me the confidence to launch my own investment firm in the spring of 2009, right before the ultimate lows in the stock market. At the time I was working as a senior analyst at one of the largest RIA's in the country, and I felt strongly that the market environment was the best time since 1974/1975 to start an investment firm. Prior to starting my firm, I was a senior analyst for three different firms over approximately 10 years (Charles Schwab, Redwood, Oxford), moving up in responsibility and scope at each stop along my journey. Since I was a paperboy, I have always had an interest in the investment markets. I love researching and finding opportunities. I am a Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA, as well as a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, CAIA. After starting in the teaching program at Ball State University, I switched to a career in finance when I turned a small student loan into a substantial amount of capital. I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance from Ball State.
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I am always committed to publishing the accurate truth. If you are involved with a company that has been mentioned in a report and find any factual errors, please submit a dispute to Seeking Alpha and it will be reviewed.
If you have any tips on companies misleading investors, please submit them on The Pump Stopper website. I always welcome collaboration and have absolute respect for your anonymity. There are multiple ways to submit documents anonymously, as outlined on the website, and I strongly recommend you send information this way.
And remember to always invest wisely.
Chartered Financial Consultant (CHFC) The American College
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) The American College
Master's Degree in Financial Sciences MSFS) The American College.
1976 - 1979 Regional Field Representative - GE Credit Corporation
1979 - 1991 Capital Analysts, Inc.
1991 - Founder, President, The Stanley-Laman Group, Ltd.,
2003 - Founder, Manager Stanley-Laman Securities, a Broker-Dealer
American Realty Capital Trust, Inc. (ARCT; NASDQ) - Independent Director, 2007 – 2012
New York REIT (NYRT; NYSE) - Director & Lead Independent Director, 2009 - 2014
Business Development Company of America - Independent Director
2009 - 2014
American Realty Capital Properties Retail Centers of America – Independent Director 2011- 2014
American Realty Capital Properties, IV - Lead Independent Director
2013 - 2014
American Realty Capital Properties, Inc. (ARCP; NYSE)
Interim Chairman and CEO 1-1-15 - 4/1/15
Lead Independent Director 1-1-14 - 1-1-15
Matrix Biology Institute - Trustee 2008 - Current
CeeLite, Inc., - Director 2008 - Current
You can read my finance-related blog at rapercapital.com (less organized than Seeking Alpha writeups, more my random musings on various finance-related topics).
Going forward I will try to tweet my investment-related thoughts/updates to articles/etc. You can follow me on Twitter, my handle is @puppyeh1
Always looking for new ideas across the board. Happy to exchange ideas/share thoughts/swap notes, feel free to private message me. I currently live in Singapore.
As an investor, I am focused on turn-around stories as well as undervalued growth companies. As a contributor, my goal is to provide thoughtful analysis of companies that lack sufficient coverage and are unloved by Wall Street.
I believe that understanding the limit of one's circle of competence is one of the most important principles of investing.
The sole focus of our company is to conduct comprehensive fundamental research, and uncover companies that are engaging in fraudulent or misleading business practices. We partner with leading hedge funds, private investigators, accountants, lawyers and industry experts to conduct our research process. We take an activist role to communicate our findings to regulators, shareholders, and other public constituents.
Our firm was founded on the belief that investors deserve full and complete honesty, transparency and accountability from corporations they invest with. We set high expectations and standards for our research process and opinions, and strive to achieve the respect from our readers for our integrity, intellectual honesty, analytical rigor, and accuracy of our conclusions.
The author has over 10 years of experience in the financial markets working in areas of equities trading, complex product analysis, and risk management, as well as a graduate level education in the areas of petroleum engineering (full), law (partial), and finance (MBA, partial).
J is a CFA candidate and investment enthusiast who utilizes Seeking Alpha to provide an open exchange of both trading and investment ideas. Masters in Public Policy, with focus on International Security & Economic Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a B.S. in Economics. President of Mintzmyer Investments LLC, a financial services company specializing in equity research and hedge fund advisory.
Extensive background in financial analysis, equity research, accounting, portfolio management, and customized asset allocation through nearly a decade of formalized education, personal studies, and practical experience. Avid reader of business/investments and biographies.
Legal Disclaimer: Any related contributions to Seeking Alpha, or elsewhere on the web, are to be construed as personal opinion only and do NOT constitute investment advice. An investor should always conduct personal due diligence before initiating a position. Provided articles and comments should NEVER be construed as official business recommendations. In efforts to keep full transparency, related positions will be disclosed at the end of each article to the maximum extent practicable. The majority of trades are reported live on Twitter, but this cannot be guaranteed due to technical constraints.
My premium service is a research and opinion subscription. No personalized investment advice will ever be given. No statements should be construed as anything but opinion, and the liability of all investment decisions reside with the individual. Although I do my utmost to procure high quality information, investors should always do their own due diligence and fact check all research prior to making any investment decisions.
For 30 years I held senior vp and exec VP positions in major casino hotel operations among them Caesars, Ballys, Trump Taj Mahal and have done extensive consulting assignments for many others in the US, including the native American property Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut.
I have also done special projects for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I was the founder and publisher of Gaming Business Magazine, first ever publication covering the gaming industry and have written extensively about the industry. My two books are presently sold as
Kindle ebooks on the Amazon site:
MASTERING THE ART OF CASINO MANAGEMENT and
THE GREAT AMERICAN CASINO BAZAAR.
I have appeared on industry seminar panels and on national radio and television discussing
various aspects of industry growth.
I am a graduate of NYU's Stern School of Business and did work toward a Master's degree in economics
at the Columbia School of General Studies.
MY INVESTMENT STRATEGY:
Due to the necessities of my casino consulting business which encompasses many top gaming companies, I have placed my own gaming portfolio into a blind trust over ten years ago. At that time I instructed my money manager(who is a former industry colleague herself as well as a corporate lawyer and money manager) to follow my gaming investment strategy along these lines.
1. I am a value investor first. Knowing the industry in depth I am able to plumb opportunities and problems others cannot see. Mostly I like to identify price ranges over given periods where I believe the market is asleep and I can buy in at the lowest possible risk.
2. I am a strong believer in management quality. Knowing so many top people in the industry allows me to evaluate which ones I believe have the "right stuff" to move a stock and which are populated by corporate drones.
3. I have instructed my manager never to trade on sugar high spikes in earnings or news per se but use the "string theory" I have developed which in brief, follows a skein of news and earnings releases over set periods of time for each stock and then move in or out.
4. I have instructed her to keep the portfolio diverse with holdings in four basic areas: Casino stocks in Las Vegas, Macau and the regionals, gaming tech stocks with real moats not just cute apps.
Overall I have done immensely well and share my views with SA readers and more specifically with strong recommendations and gaming stock strategy analysis based on my network of industry contacts for subscribers to my SA Premium Site: THE HOUSE EDGE.
As a mathematician (Ph.D.) I am most interested in investment strategies with statistically favorable returns. In particular I invest in net-nets (20-30% average annual returns). I find companies with low Enterprise Value/Earnings before Tax and Interest (EV/EBIT) and strong balance sheets (20% average annual returns) also very interesting. Since such stocks are rare I invest globally.
Click "Learn more" below to see my exclusive research description on net-nets and low EV/EBIT stocks.
Wall Street Breakfast readership of over 800,000 includes many from the investment-banking and fund-management industries.
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Tipping the Scale members gain access to the TTS Portfolio Tracker. Here, members see what I am buying and selling the minute it happens, along with what I have owned, bought, and sold historically. These are just a few of the features on the TTS Portfolio Tracker.
Tipping The Scale is an equity research platform that uses a numeric scale instead of the traditional "Buy, Hold, Sell" to identify the best investment opportunities in the market. Stock coverage is determined by market catalyst, and every company goes through a vigorous test in 10 different categories. The higher the total score, the bigger the upside. In addition, Tipping the Scale also provides a number of portfolio strategies to hedge the volatility of the market and protect from downside.
Check out my instablog for more information on the popular research service Tipping the Scale, including performance information, benefits, and how it all works.
After retiring early in 2004, little by little, I have become a fund manager for some friends and myself, following the principles of value investing laid out by Benjamin Graham, Phil Fisher, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. You can read about my thoughts on a suitable portfolio structure for early retirees here.
My articles should not be considered to be any kind of investment advice. What suits me well is not necessarily good for others, as successful investing is somewhat like a marriage: If only one is perfect, the marriage won’t work. So please do your own research and remember Benjamin Graham's advice: “The investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”
After 6 months, the Early Retiree Portfolio for 2015 was up 18.07% (S&P 500: 2.97%). After 12 months, the portfolio underperformed the S&P 500 by about 3%. You can see the portfolio here.
Performance updates are posted in the comment section.
I sincerely hope that my readers will ignore the Performance calculations provided by Seeking Alpha (although only to Pro subscribers, I believe). For reasons unknown to me, some of my European stock picks seem to be tracked inaccurately by Seeking Alpha's system. Spin-offs are not included in total return calculations and many of my correction requests didn't receive any answer at all. Moreover, my time frame almost never is as short as only 1 year (the maximum included in Seeking Alpha's table) and personally I consider the 1 year performance of my stock picks to be close to meaningless.
Founded in 2011, MicroCapClub is an exclusive forum for experienced microcap investors focused on microcap companies (sub $300m market cap). MicroCapClub was created to be a platform for experienced microcap investors to share and discuss stock ideas. MicroCapClub’s mission is to foster the highest quality microcap investor Community, produce Educational content for investors, and promote better Leadership in the microcap arena.