I am a Portuguese independent trader, analyst and algorithmic trading expert, having worked for both sell side (brokerage) and buy side (fund management) institutions.
I've been trading professionally for about 20 years and also launched www.thinkfn.com in 2004. Thinkfn (Think Finance) carries thousands of educational articles on finance and the markets.
I trade futures, stocks from the long and short side, forex and options. I trade both discretionary and fully automated systems (Metatrader, Quantshare and others).
I can be reached at paulo.santosATthinkfn.com or followed on Twitter at twitter.com/ThinkFinance999
Scott Nursten - Founder / CEO at STRIDE Value Investing
I am a CEO/MD with broad experience in all aspects of running a company. Having worked my way up through the ranks over the past 18 years, I have worked in every role - from front-line support, through middle management and up to the executive level. A strong background in business, financial analysis and technology has enabled me to become involved in 4 rapidly growing businesses.
Experience and Credentials:
Chief Operations Officer at Greenlight Limited since June 2011.
Managing Director at Rescue Consulting since November 2010.
Founder and the Chief Executive Officer at Stride Ltd since September 2008
Served as Managing Director at s2s Limited from January 2008 to August 2010.
Owner and Chief Executive Officer at s2s Limited from March 2000 to December 2007.
Managing Director and Director of Cisco Systems, Inc.'s Gold Partner s2s Ltd.
Founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of s2s Limited.
Served as Technical Director at Data Control & Systems from June 1995 to December 1999.
Non Executive Director at Struto since January 2011.
Serves as a Director of S2S Limited.
Ranked #18 overall blogger by TipRanks for 2014.
University of Virginia, class of 2011 B.A. English
I am a young investor focused primarily on dividend growth stocks. Seeking Alpha, and more specifically, the dividend and income community that exists here, has played a significant role in my development as a portfolio manager. I am not a professional, though I do manage my family's finances. I enjoy the process; the research, the decision making, the strategic planning...and not paying a financial adviser to do the work for me. I've built what I believe to be a conservative, diverse, and balanced dividend growth portfolio currently consisting of 48 positions. Thus far, I've been able to meet by goals from income, income growth, and capital appreciation standpoints. I use a wide variety of metrics, both fundamental and technical, when establishing fair value when doing my due diligence on an individual company. All of my methods are discussed in my work here. I hope this work inspires debate, conversation, and education - this is why I write for Seeking Alpha, to give back to the community that has helped me so much and to hopefully contribute, in some way...even if its by posing a question, to the growth of others.
Lastly, I began doing this in early 2015 and I plan on continuing to do so: I donate as much of the earnings that I get from SA on a monthly basis to various charities. Depending on how active I am writing each month, and what sort of side projects I have going on at the farm my wife and I recently purchased, the amount donated each month differs. However, I am pleased to be able to give back - I think its important to stay grounded and gracious when focusing so much on finances and these monthly donations help me not to lose sight of generosity.
*I should note that all articles that I write here are done so for my personal informational/educational purposes only. Any purchases that I make or opinions that I express are not meant as recommendations for anyone else. Please perform your own due diligence before following my lead into or out of a position. I am not a professional. I enjoy investing and the open discussion that articles on this site inspire - this is why I write, not to influence anyone else's decisions, but to enhance my own ability to make sound financial choices. That being said, I wish the best of luck to everyone. May we all meet our own financial goals.
Eli Inkrot is a writer. Check out his website: thecurrencyoftime.com, his articles here on Seeking Alpha or his book - "You Don't Have A Money Problem" - on Amazon.com.
Additionally, here is a quick bio:
Eli has held the title of Vice President and Portfolio Manager at EDMP Inc. - a money management firm - along with Vice President for F.A.S.T. Graphs - a financial software company.
Prior to that, he began his investment career as an analyst in private real estate for a public pension fund. During his time in real estate he was the lead for a variety of accounts with net asset values totaling nearly two billion dollars. Eli received a Master’s in Finance from the University of Tampa where he earned “highest honors” whilst receiving the distinction of being named the “most outstanding graduate student.” He also holds undergraduate degrees in both Economics and Business Administration from Otterbein University, graduating “magna cum laude” with distinct honors in each major. During his tenure at Otterbein, Eli was a member of the varsity golf team, held the departmental Senator position for Business, Economics and Accounting and studied abroad in the Netherlands.
Wall Street Breakfast, Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, is a one-page summary that gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It's designed for easy readability on the site or by email (including on mobile devices), and is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day.
Wall Street Breakfast readership of over 900,000 includes many from the investment-banking and fund-management industries.
Sign up here to receive the Wall Street Breakfast in your inbox every business day: http://seekingalpha.com/account/email_preferences
I apologize to investors who follow my articles, but I no longer expect to submit the newer articles that I had previously mentioned as forthcoming. I don't currently plan to resume any involvement with SA, though that may eventually change, if the site ever implements/enforces deterrents to web stalkers. So, for now, I only publicly share opinions on stocks via Twitter, StockTwits, etc. The rest of what follows is my normal profile, so that I won't have to rewrite it, should I ever continue posting on SA. Best of luck investing. Cheers.
I run a small family office managing long-term equities portfolios and special projects extending beyond the capital markets. I'm fortunate to have worked for a NYSE-traded financial firm for the decade through 2010, but I'm not an adviser, my articles only share my investing actions/opinions, and are not investment advice.
The proof is in the pudding, so following are total equities portfolios returns from the most recent five years: 2012 +32%, 2013 +52%, 2014 +11%, 2015 YTD +9% (all holdings pay dividends/distributions, but those percentages only include capital gains). Portfolio returns are moderating as expected, since most positions were rebuilt/opened 2010-2012 at extreme undervaluation levels, yet only a few new positions have been opened in the last few years at modest undervaluation levels. I also trade around all positions for short-term profits, but I don't include trade gains in portfolio returns, and my articles are only about long-term investing.
My investing career started in the 1980s, and transitioned to full-time by 2010. I only list returns from 2012 because that's when I became most active on SA, and calls can be verified here. For 2008-2011, my focus was shorter-term trades, which made annual returns harder to tally, so without wasting time backtracking, I can only say that returns were satisfactory. For most years prior, I was a blue-chip-only, buy-and-hold guy, which also worked well, so I still own most of those holdings separate from our actively-managed portfolios.
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.
***My subscription portfolio is up more than 5% since inception while the indexes fell 5% to 15%. Please learn more about my SeekingAlpha Marketplace subscription service.*** The portfolio uses many diversification strategies and delivers returns with low correlation to the markets.
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.
Former broker, now an independent analyst/writer on Seeking Alpha and founder and editor of the Growth Stock Forum. Focusing on small-cap, mid-cap and biotech stocks. Looking for substantial sales and earnings growth potential and seeking the best risk-adjusted returns from my stock selection. Taking advantage of medium to long-term momentum.
My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be regarded as investment advice in any way. Readers and subscribers should do their own due diligence and/or consult their financial advisor before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.
Exclusive research: http://seekingalpha.com/author/oneil-trader/research
Director of equity research at StockViews and independent valuation consultant specializing in practical application of valuation techniques. Mr. Insko has acted as a consultant to global hedge funds, independent portfolio managers, analysts, and high net worth investors in a variety of capacities including public and private business valuation, M&A valuation, foreign market investing, and proxy contests.
Investment manager at Rugged Group LLC, an independent, fee-only registered investment advisor based in New York that I formed in August 2015. Find out more and follow my blog here. Email: brian [at] ruggedgrp [dot com]
Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Hon B.Sc graduate (with distinction) in Science and Economics with over 15 years in investing experience. He holds a PMP (Project Management Professional) designation. TipRanks Top 100 Blogger of 2015 (also 2013, 2014). Seeks undervalued, unappreciated value stock ideas. Follows Warren Buffet's mantra: do not lose money. For a better mobile experience on Seeking Alpha click on the top right menu icon on most browsers and select "request desktop site".
Joseph L. Shaefer is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Stanford Wealth Management, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor.
Retired senior executive of Charles Schwab and Co.
Retired (36 years) active and reserve military service -- six in special operations, the next 30 in the intelligence community. Global geopolitical analyst, human intelligence officer, attache, etc.
Author -- investment book Bringing Home the Gold
Editor -- The Investor’s Edge®. In the 15 years from inception through year-end 2014, the Investor’s Edge® Growth & Value Portfolio increased in value from $250,000 to $1,060,647. That same $250,000 invested in the S&P 500 rose to just $417,992, including dividends. (Past results are no guarantee of future performance.)
Featured in Forbes, Barrons, The Wall Street Journal, Financial World, Wall Street Transcript, Global Investing, Welling on Wall Street, etc.
A veteran of the pharma industry. Specializing in the analysis of small pharma companies with a focus on the pipeline and opportunities for licensing or major deals with large pharma. Financial analysis including burn rate, venture capital funding, and cash flow.
Gold Stock Trades Editor Jeb Handwerger is a highly sought-after stock analyst syndicated internationally and known throughout the financial industry for his accurate and timely analysis of the equities markets, particularly the metals and mining sector. Subscribe to his FREE Newsletter right now at: http://goldstocktrades.com.
I worked in New York's financial sector for almost exactly 20 years, mostly as a healthcare analyst (drugs, biotech, and medical devices), but also as an assistant research director, portfolio manager, and options strategist. My last formal job had me in charge of Value Line's premium priced "Select" and "Special Situation" products. The former highlights the company's top stock pick of each month and the latter introduces relatively small companies. I quit that job in June, 2009 for reasons that a dozen or so confidentiality agreements preclude my discussing. In September of that year, I launched 3DimensionalResearch.com (3DR), which allows me to continue doing what I was doing previously.
I am a strong believer in maximum transparency, in both personal and business relationships. So, in that vein:
A google search will show that my former employer sued 3DR and me in November, 2009 for copyright infringement, hot news misappropriations, and the proverbial kitchen sink. Although a search won't show this, unfortunately, I represented myself in a federal courtroom in December and, in accordance with the judge's instructions, the case was settled in a matter of minutes.
Additional Disclosure: 3DR has been a financial failure thus far, in terms of getting subscribers. I detest marketing and few people want to pay for information anymore, least of all from a no-name website. That said, the vast majority of my recommendations have done very well and my personal portfolio is doing extraordinarily well (65.5% in 2013) since I tend to follow most of my own recommendations, the "event driven special situations," in particular.
I only look at stocks that have the possibility to double over a twelve month period and stocks in which the risk/reward ratio payout is high. In addition I focus on swing trade opportunities.
I focus more on valuations and risk/reward metrics as opposed to what make companies tick.
I have been a professional investor for over 20 years and during the past several years an economics analyst and financial writer for capital.gr, the biggest economic news portal in Greece.
I have managed money from time to time and have also done some seed venture capital projects in the past.
Research investment analyst for Chicago consulting firm until 2009. In this role I was the lead analyst on large 401k plans, pensions and endowments totaling over $20 billion in assets. I also headed analyst research on fixed income and hedge fund of funds portfolios. Today, I focus my research on finding value stocks with sound fundamentals and healthy cash flow. I concentrate my personal portfolio on quality dividend growth stocks and keep an active watch list of over 150 stocks to add on pull backs or at an attractive valuation.
I exited the finance industry in 2010 to follow my dream of becoming a firefighter. I now live and work in Texas. I consider myself a value investor and tend to stay away from speculation stocks.
Jeff is the President of NewArc Investments Inc., manager of both individual and institutional investments. Jeff is a registered investment advisor, and portfolio manager for NewArc's investment programs.
Jeff is a former college professor with a hands-on, real world attitude. His quantitative modeling helped inform state and local officials in Wisconsin for more than a decade. A Public Policy analyst, he taught advanced research methods at the University of Wisconsin, and analyzed many issues related to state tax policy.
Jeff began in the financial business as Research Director for trading firm at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. He investigated anomalies in the standard option pricing models, taught classes for beginning options traders, and developed new forecasting techniques. In 1991 he established a general research consultancy, working with professional traders at all of the Chicago financial exchanges. In 1998 he started NewArc Investments, Inc.
Jeff has a commitment to the specific needs of individual investors. It is not a one-size-fits all approach, but one that emphasizes the unique circumstances of each client.
Jeff also serves on the board of two small technology companies (currently Chairman at one). He is occasionally as an expert witness in legal cases involving financial markets and hedging.
I am a dividend investor and look for undervalued investments in the stock market. I identify misunderstood and undervalued equity investments and hold those securities until their price approximates my estimate of intrinsic value. I am a long-term investor only.
I am building a $100,000 high-yield income portfolio. I am running this portfolio as an experiment to see if long-term sustainable income can be generated from a diversified pool of high-risk, high-yield securities. I am willing to accept high risk in order to meet my performance goals.
Helix Investment Research was founded in July 2011 by Ivan Deryugin, and focuses on leveraging secular global trends, across a variety of sectors, in order to generate long-term outperformance.
Stephen Simpson, CFA, is a freelance financial writer and investor.
I have worked for both sell-side and buy-side firms (equities and fixed income), with the largest percentage of my working time spent in med-tech. At this point I am now effectively in a "working retirement".
As I am helping my partner of 20+ years in her battle against stage IV cancer, I don't really have the time to be very involved with comments. Likewise, I may not be able to update a particular story/situation/investment idea in an especially timely fashion.
I write because I find that the process helps me take better notes, be more disciplined about modeling, and come up with a more coherent investment view for my portfolio management needs. If I'm writing about a stock, it's generally because I'm interested in it as an investment prospect or I think there's an interesting story to tell.
I don't share my models, so please don't ask.
More of my writings can be found at my blog Kratisto Investing (kratistoinvesting.blogspot.com), or Twitter (@Kratisto_Invest).
Andy Batts is my pen name. I am a full-time investor for the past ten years. I am a Bachelor of Science with a Major in Economics. At Seeking Alpha I offer in-depth research and analysis for undervalued stocks with significant upside potential. I also offer extensive medtech stock analysis in light of technological advancements. As of December 15, 2015, my rank is #45 out of 4,751 bloggers and #109 out of 8,434 overall experts, according to TipRanks.
@DavidAltonClark - Ranked #1 out of 4763 Bloggers per http://Tipranks.com ✦ Success Rate 75% ✦ 375 out of 498 successful ratings ✦ Average Return 26.9% per recommendation.
Columnist @CNBCPro ✦ US Army Veteran ✦ Former FINRA Rep ✦ EY / Citigroup Alumnus ✦ Texas Realtor ✦ Active Investor
I had the intense desire at a very young age to save and invest my earnings. My father did not believe in allowances. With the money saved from collecting aluminum cans I opened my first Kool-Aid stand at the age of five. I invested some of the profits in a box of saltine crackers which increased sales exponentially. I used those profits to buy a pare of breeding gerbils and began selling Gerbil babies wholesale to the local pet stories for a $1 each by the age of 7. The rest is history...
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.
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I am the founder of Shaun Currie Research, an independent investment research firm that offers freelance, contract-based, and performance-based investment analysis and training for investment firms, newsletters, and blogs.
I have 10 years of investment experiences which include time spent at T Rowe Price (long only), Wells Capital Management (concentrated long only), and as the Director of Research at Manalapan Oracle Capital Management (long/short equity). I am currently completing my MBA at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. I graduated with a BS in Business Administration from Villanova University.
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