John Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1974. He moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was employed by a medium-sized Japanese securities house. Thomas became fluent in Japanese and was trained as a domestic Japanese research analyst and money manager. In 1977 Thomas became the Tokyo correspondent for The Economist magazine and the Financial Times of London. Thomas traveled extensively throughout Asia, interviewing premiers, presidents and prime ministers, writing on macroeconomic trends, and producing countless features about individual companies. Thomas witnessed China’s cultural revolution and was one of the first American correspondents to enter China prior to the U.S. normalization of relations. Thomas authored several books about the Japanese financial system still in use by business schools today. In 1983 Thomas joined a top US investment bank in New York with the mandate to develop an international equity business for the firm. In 1985 he moved to London, England to establish a presence in Japanese equity derivatives for the firm. In 1989 Thomas was appointed a director of one of the big three Swiss Banks with a mandate to design sophisticated hedging strategies for the bank’s considerable holdings of Japanese equity warrants and convertible bonds. With the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, Thomas was drafted by the US Marine Corp to serve as a pilot. In 1990 Thomas became a pioneer in the nascent hedge fund industry by founding the first dedicated Japanese hedge fund. The firm managed segregated accounts for a variety of government agencies, banks, and high net worth individuals in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. After a decade of spectacular absolute and relative performance he sold his firm in 1999 and retired to manage his personal investments in the oil and gas industry. Seeing incredible opportunities in the marketplace and yearning for the adrenaline and satisfaction offered by active management, Thomas launched a new hedge fund in 2007. In his free time Thomas is a commercial aircraft pilot, long distance hiker and mountain climber, wine collector and avid photographer.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Senior Analyst at iREIT Forbes and Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He was the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014 (as ranked by TipRanks) and he is currently writing a book on the legendary investor Donald Trump.
Thomas has co-authored a book (The Intelligent REIT Investor) that is available on Amazon.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College where he played basketball. He resides in South Carolina with his wife and kids.
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Chris DeMuth Jr. is the founder of Rangeley Capital LLC. Rangeley is an investment firm that focuses on event driven, value-oriented investment opportunities. Rangeley Capital and his value investing forum, Sifting the World (StW), search the world for misplaced bets. Rangeley exploits them for its investors and then Mr. DeMuth writes about them on StW.
Ian’s Insider Corner research focuses primarily on long-term dividend-paying companies with stable and reliable growth, stocks suitable for individual retirement accounts. Ian also looks for “niche” shorter-term trading opportunities, and coverage. During the 3-years Ian worked at Kerrisdale Capital, the New York-based activist hedge fund had great success exposing fraudulent companies. Kerrisdale Capital returned almost 200% in 2011, and more than 300% in total. Ian Bezek offers in-depth coverage of all the stocks in his “IMF” portfolio.
Contributing columnist for Real Money and TheStreet.com. BA in History from Bemidji State in Minnesota. I went on to learn Chinese at National Taiwan University in Taipei.
I worked in mortgage sales at Countrywide and Bank of America until 2010 when I decided to relocate to Taiwan.
Motek Moyen is a retired art director (but still active graphic artist) residing in the Philippines. He is learning options trading based on algorithmic forecasts.
Motek Moyen is also a senior analyst for www.iknowfirst.com. He loves Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. He is currently self-learning Adobe Illustrator CC for mobile game assets creation and UI/UX design.
Motek Moyen still has his 1994-era signed one-dollar bill given to him by Warren Buffett. Motek's college years were spent on B.S. Mathematics, Commercial Advertising, and B.S. Computer Science.
Motek Moyen is only 42 and still has a lingering political ambition.
I am a retired global analyst, currently busy in investing and writing articles about stocks at several investing publications and websites. I have also developed strategies for creating winning portfolios according to specific formulas.
In January 2015, I was ranked among the world’s top 10 financial bloggers according to TipRanks, which holds financial experts accountable for their recommendations by disclosing their stock ratings since 2009:
Richard Zeits is an Oil & Gas industry analyst and consultant. His background includes fourteen years as Energy industry-focused investment banker, portfolio manager and senior investment analyst with bulge bracket firms in New York. Zeits Energy Analytics use elaborate proprietary analytics and data bases to provide in-depth industry research, market intelligence, and forecasting.
I hold a B.S. in Accounting.
"[T]he function of the margin-of-safety is, in essence, that of rendering unnecessary an accurate estimate of the future. If the margin is a large one, then it is enough to assume that future earnings will not fall far below those of the past in order for an investor to feel sufficiently protected against the vicissitudes of time."
"Needless to say, the analyst must take possible future changes into account, but his primary aim is not so much to profit from them as to guard against them. Broadly speaking, he views the future as a hazard which his conclusions must encounter rather than as the source of his vindication."
"[F]inding the really outstanding companies and staying with them through all fluctuations of a gyrating market proved far more profitable to far more people than did the more colorful practice of trying to buy them cheap and sell them dear…These opportunities did not require purchasing on a particular day at the bottom of a great panic."
I am a Ph.D. level scientist at a major pharmaceutical company. Previously I was an NIH Cancer Postdoctoral fellow at UPENN. Through my extensive research background, I am able to quickly decipher clinical information and act on it. I specialize in analyzing and trading biotech/healthcare stocks both long and short. I maintain a few core positions and trade clinical events based on extensive research to realize large percentage gains. I am open to opportunities in consulting for financial firms or local advisors. Please contact me if you are interested.
Brad Lamensdorf, a seasoned money manager and market strategist, is the editor of The Lamensdorf Market Timing Report, a newsletter designed to help investors improve performance via market timing by assessing the environment of the stock market using a variety of technical, fundamental and sentiment-oriented tools from powerful independent research firms. Many investors mechanically enter and depart the market without a true “game plan.” Studies have shown that retail investors, in particular, are very poor market timers, tending to invest at or near market peaks and sell at or near market lows. The newsletter is designed to provide risk parameters for both professional and retail investors around the short-term stock market environment, giving subscribers better insight about when to allocate assets into or out of the equity markets.
Lamensdorf, a frequent guest commentator and analyst on major business networks including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business News, also serves as a Portfolio Manager and Principal of Ranger Alternative Management LP, a sub-advisor to the Advisor Shares Ranger Equity Bear Exchange Traded Fund (NYSE: HDGE). In this role, he conducts top-down technical evaluations of broader market liquidity, sentiment and breadth to help identify short and intermediate-term market trends, manage exposure and mitigate risk. HDGE was launched in 2011 and is the first and sole actively managed, short-only ETF in existence.
Lamensdorf, also has managed investment portfolios for the Hughes family and acted as principal of Tarpon Partners, managing a long/short fund that was up more than 150% gross over six years. Earlier in his career, he was as an equity trader/market strategist for Taylor and Company, the Bass brothers’ trading arm, co-managing a short-only strategy in a derivative format with notional exposure. He also served as the in-house market timing strategist for the entire internal and external network of Bass managers.
Always analysing and crunching numbers, I enjoy focusing on the trade, using a variety of tools to improve a position's profit potential.
I use each tool for a specialized purpose: options in fast moving markets to boost profit potential while limiting risk; leveraged ETFs in slower moving markets to boost profit without the cost erosion of options; relative value trading between two or more stocks to take advantage of price disparities and lock-in value; and leverage through the safe use of margin to boost dividend yield into the high single digits and often the low double digits for that all-important revenue stream.
Ashraf Eassa is a technology specialist with The Motley Fool. He writes mostly about technology stocks, but is especially interested in anything related to chips -- the semiconductor kind, that is.
Managing partner at Sand Hill East (www.sandhilleast.net), a VC advisory/investment firm specializing in aiding early stage technology companies.
Started career at Goldman Sachs as research analyst. Worked 10 years on the buyside primarily at Moore Capital and offshoot Pia Capital.
I look for a change in sentiment that precedes the change in trend. Moments of "lag" in sentiment can provide superb entry points into special situations at a discount; and obversely, manic enthusiasm can provide an opportunity to go short.
I research the fundamentals, know what I am getting into, and go long or short accordingly. Technical studies of the market are also an active part of my trading. I have invested for 22 years.
Gary A. Gordon, MS, CFP® is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. He has more than 25 years of experience as a personal coach in “money matters,” including risk assessment, small business development and portfolio management.
Gary is often asked to consult as an educator. He has taught financial concepts in Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.
As a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Gary has distinguished himself as a reputable and trusted investor advocate. He writes commentary for ETF Expert, Seeking Alpha and The Street. Gary’s participation on local and national radio has spanned more than a decade, and he currently hosts the ETF Expert Show.
Gary is a “good sport” when his wife, Denise, beats him at Scrabble. Most of all, Gary takes special pride in a not-so-little energizer… his 20-year old daughter, Wei Gordon.
I am a physician and vitamin D expert. I am a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. In my 35 year career in medicine, I have practiced emergency medicine, general practice and psychiatry.
In 2003, I established the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit dedicated to educating the public and health professionals about vitamin D. I frequently speak about vitamin D and have spoken at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I recently served as a "visiting professor" for Marshall University School of Medicine's 25th Annual Research Day.
I have been studying, writing and lecturing about vitamin D for more than 12 years. The Vitamin D Council's website gets over 2.5 million users per year. If you Google my name, "John Cannell", you will get over 60,000 hits, almost all about vitamin D. If you search for "Cannell JJ" on Google Scholar, you will see I have written more than a dozen peer-reviewed scientific articles about vitamin D. Three of my scientific articles (two about influenza and vitamin D and one about autism and vitamin D) are the most cited articles in the history of their respective journals.
Michael Johnston is the co-founder and senior analyst at ETF Database, an online investment resource for ETF investors. ETF Database offers a proprietary ETF Screener that allows investors to filter the universe of 900+ ETFs to find the right fund. ETF Database also provides news, analysis, commentary, and actionable investment ideas on a daily basis.
-I have been investing since the fall of 2008 and invested through one of the most difficult investing periods in history and know the importance of dividend growth and stability during those times as well as during the good times. I started writing for Seeking Alpha at the end of 2011 and I have been successful with the companies I write about, which is shown by my high TipRanks success rate (Link Below). https://www.tipranks.com/bloggers/brad-kenagy
Cliff Wachtel, CPA, is currently the Director of Market Research, New Media and Training for Caesartrade.com, a fast growing forex and CFD broker. He covers a variety of topics including global market drivers, forex, currency hedged and diversified income investing, and is currently working on a unique project related to that asset class - MLPs.
He is also the author of The Sensible Guide To Forex, and publisher of thesensibleguidetoforex.com. Both the book and website are uniquely dedicated to providing safer, simpler ways for active traders and passive long term income investors to use forex markets to diversify out of currencies like the USD, EUR, JPY, and others that are being debased by central bank policies, and so hedge currency risk and boost returns.
Since the Great Financial Crisis began in 2007, Cliff was among the first financial writers to focus on stocks that provide steady, high yields currency diversification for insurance against currencies being steadily devalued. Articles focus on both top income stocks for exposure to multiple quality currencies, and safer, simpler less demanding types of longer term forex trades than commonly covered on other forex sites.
He also posts a variety of articles on topics ranging from weekly strategic global market analysis, conservative forex trading, assorted special reports, currency diversified income investing, binary options, and trader training articles via multiple websites. His home sites include: globalmarkets.anyoption.com, thesensibleguidetoforex.com, caesartrade.com, globalmarkets.com, and others. Most can also be found at leading financial websites like seekingalpha.com, businessinsider.com, and forex sites like forexfactory.com and fxstreet.com. His work is regularly translated into numerous languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish and Russian, Arabic, German, and Chinese, often with his express knowledge and permission!
He has appeared in a variety of offline publications including Forex Journal, and John Nyaradi’s book, Super Sectors, in which he was interviewed along with other market experts like Jim Rodgers, Dr.Marc Faber, John Mauldin, Robert Prechter, and Tom Lydon.
Prior to his current positions, he was Chief Analyst at avafx.com, and a 30+ year financial market veteran as investor, trader, writer, analyst and advisor to private clients and institutions. He attended Vassar College and Cornell University, and is a certified public accountant.
He’s married with 5 children and lives in Jerusalem, Israel, where he can follow Asian markets in the early morning, Europe through the workday, and the Americas at night.
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Nils Bohr
Leading pharmaceutical companies invest billions of dollars each year in research and development with little or no guarantee of a return on their investment.
With the average cost of developing a new drug hitting the $800 million mark, accurately forecasting the market potential for new compounds is becoming an essential tool in long-term strategic planning.
Forecasting is also essential in understanding how the dynamics of a market are changing, evaluating licensing and acquisition opportunities for a particular therapeutic candidate, and raising the awareness of company executives of both current and potential future competitors.
Last, but not least, pharmaceutical product forecasting provides precious building blocks for modeling and simulation exercises that investment analysts need to conduct on a continuous bases to estimate return-on-investment decisions and fine tune their portfolios.
Pharma Reports specializes in modeling and publishing short and medium term event-impacted linear forecasts for both new and established drugs.
Since actual brand performance depends on how the marketing company allocates its resources and how the competition responds to changes in market shares, we revise our forecasts periodically as new data points become available.
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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Semiconductor Veteran of over 20 years working at Intel and several prominent startups like Cyrix and Transmeta. I was a co-founder in an FPGA startup for nearly 5 years and now work with a leading edge non-volatile memory startup building Resistive RAM memories, which will eventually take the place of Flash as a lower power, higher performance and more economical solution.
I write occasionally on the mobile markets and the semiconductors that power them. Transmeta was the company that first highlighted the need for all day computing in the PC market. I was proud to be a part of the launch of the first truly low power x86 processor, which Intel then had to address.
I work in the medical and healthcare field so my focus is mainly on Biotech stocks. I try to find the next Celgene, the next Pharamcylics if possible.
Been a trader and investor for 13 years.
Love the game, and I hope you enjoy my articles on here.
Good luck with your investments and I look forward to all of your comments and suggestions.
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