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Lares Capital, a long/short fund that specializes in small caps, option strategies, and low-liquidity equities. The fund invests in both domestic and foreign securities.
You can contact us at email@example.com.
Editor for The Biotech Forum, the #2 subscribed to Marketplace investment service offered through SeekingAlpha. Top 5% ranked analyst (TipRanks) 2013 through first half of 2015. Daily contributor for Real Money Pro. Hedge fund manager from 2008 to 2011. Previously technology executive at Fortune 100 firm for a decade.
Please go to biotechforumsa.com for more on the Biotech Forum service available through SeekingAlpha. For Free Investment Reports on a variety of topics go to bretjenseninvests.com
My formal education ended with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, minor in Organic Chemistry. After roughly two decades in academic research, my real-world education has continued at two biotech-related companies.
Spencer Osborne is founder of Satellite Standard Group [SSG], and a partner of Sirius Buzz (http://siriusbuzz.com/). Sirius Buzz covers the satellite radio industry as well as companies that do business in this sector. Sirius Buzz provides information and opinion to readers with an interest in the sector from an investment, as well as consumer perspective.
Along with his work in the media sector, Spencer covers various equities that interest him and writes about these equities from a unique and "out of the box" perspective. Over the years Spencer has built a network of resources within the sectors he writes about. His opinion and insight is oft referred to and sought after by analysts.
Most people follow the path of least resistance making poor dietary and health choices. People also spend their discretionary income and credit on retail, shiny computer gadgets, smartphones, and cable TV instead of on retirement savings. One can profit from this behavior by buying stock in companies that support other people's bad decisions.
I focus on investing long-term in high-quality, dividend-paying companies that tap into poor lifestyle choices across the economic spectrum.
I'm long on companies like Coca-Cola (sugar water), Kraft, and Mondelez (pre-packaged junk food), Altria and Philip Morris, Int (smokers), Abbott and AbbVie (drugs and equipment to treat poor lifestyle choices), Intel (computer chips to support shiny gadgets & now mobile phones too), Disney and Comcast for entertainment, internet and cable, and of course who can forget booze (Diageo) and lattes (Starbucks).
And since most people don't have a lot of money saved, one can profit from stores that sell cheap clothing (TJX Companies), banks to lend them money (Wells Fargo), and energy to move them about and heat their homes (Williams Companies and Chevron).
My complete portfolio currently consists of the following stocks:
AbbVie Inc (ABBV)
Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
Chevron Corporation (CVX)
Diageo Plc (DEO)
Emerson Electric Co (EMR)
Gramercy Properties Trust (GPT)
The Home Depot (HD)
Intel Corporation (INTC)
The Coca-Cola Company (KO)
The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC)
McCormick & Company (MKC)
Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ)
Altria Group Inc (MO)
Norfolk Southern Company (NSC)
Proctor & Gamble (PG)
The TJX Companies, Inc. (TJX)
Union Pacific Corporation (UNP)
The Walt Disney Company (DIS)
Wells Fargo & Co (WFC)
Williams Companies (WMB)
I am an individual investor who has been actively involved in the healthcare and biotechnology space for over 15 years. I hold a PhD in the biomedical sciences and have worked in both large pharmaceutical and small biotech companies. I make investments based on the fundamentals of a company and if I believe they have a superior technology or products compared to the competition. I'm an investor who believes patience pays off.
Disclaimer: Although well-researched, Shawn is not certified to provide financial advice. He is not held accountable for the actions one takes based on the information he provides. Please do your own research prior to investing.
StockMatusow.com Writers are:
Scott Matusow; Team Leader, owner and founder of StockMatusow.com.
Scott is an independent investor/writer/trader and team leader of StockMatusow.com.
He has have about fifteen years of stock market experience which include trading, investing, and managing his family’s trust as well as his personal account.
Scott has had the most success in trading/investing in smaller cap growth companies. Because Scott is not 'officially trained' in the markets, he see things 'outside the box.' Scott uses his ability to read situations and emotion, charts, times and sales, historical data, and macroeconomic and other market forces to predict stock price movements. Using these allowed for him to completely divest his own and family's money near the top of the market before the 2008 financial crisis.
Scott has his own online talk show which can be heard at www.scottmatusow.com/radio .
During market hours, we engage in talk about Stocks and Politics. After hours, Scott engages in a variety of talk issues from Poker, Sports, Politics, Current Events and whatever the chat room people wish to talk about.
Other places you can follow Scott are:
Kyle Dennis; writer, analyst, trader, website design, and team member of Stockmatusow.com.
Kyle has a Biology degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and specializes in trading the biotechnology sector.
Kyle has extensive experience in researching, writing, and editing articles that have been published in scientific journals. He uses these experiences to write and comment about the potential of various biotechnology companies. Kyle specializes in evaluating trial success, drug potential, and market valuations.
As an investor/trader, Kyle likes to focus on chart analysis and investor/trader sentiment to identify good entry and exit points.
Kyle can also be followed at www.twitter.com/kylewdennis @kylewdennis
Michael Kovar; writer, editor, investor, trader and team member of stockmatusow.com
Michael has spent over ten years in financial roles with companies large and small. Recently, he spent time in a consulting role with Thomson Reuters legal headquarters in Eagan, MN. He currently works in an analyst position with a healthcare organization. Since 2011, Michael has worked with Scott Matusow to help research and edit articles for Stockmatusow.com.
Michael can be followed at www.twitter.com/MMK_3399 @MMK_3399
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.
Read more here
PropThink is an intelligence service that delivers long and short trading ideas to investors in the healthcare and life sciences sectors. Our Editorial Team is comprised of individuals with a strong background in science, medicine and the business of successfully commercializing therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare services. Our ultimate objective is to leverage the knowledge, experience, and relationships of our contributors to introduce our subscribers to profitable long and short investment opportunities in the healthcare sector.
Successfully trading, and investing in emerging growth healthcare companies is a difficult task. Over 90% of drugs never make it out of the clinic. Huge capital requirements along the way result in highly dilutive equity financings often done on the backs of retail investors. At PropThink, we believe that due diligence is the key to success in this industry. We leverage a combined 50 years of experience in science, medicine, legal, regulatory affairs, finance, and operational industry experience to analyze companies at a highly technical level. This detailed analysis and due diligence process defines our editorial strategy and provides our subscribers a high level of confidence in our research. Our focus is on identifying and analyzing technically-complicated companies and equities that are grossly over or under-valued.
Visit PropThink.com to see all of our coverage and research, and subscribe to our free newsletter to receive reports, articles, and trading alerts.
I hold a PhD in the field of epidemiology a masters degree in public health. My undergraduate training is in policy, economics and the sciences. I have utilized my training in employment with government, academia, private industry and to further analyze the fundamentals and technicals of all manner of companies in different sectors. Specifically, I like to trade growth companies, REITS, biotechnology/ pharmaceuticals, precious metals, blue chips and small-cap companies.
Each market day I get up at 530 am and begin working/analyzing data before my day job. I focus much on current events, earnings, and developments. I also work after market hours to cover after hours developments or interesting action during the day. I aim to conduct 2 analysis per business day, which helps me stay focused on my own finances.
I have been investing for about 10 years. I also enjoy trading short expiration options, and investing in stocks with 3-20 year horizons. I enjoy writing with Seeking Alpha to share my opinion and analyses. I am a large believer in the crowd source model championed by Seeking Alpha and believe every ounce of analysis and opinion should be considered when you invest your personal finances.
Seeking Alpha's editors are responsible for selecting and editing contributed articles and producing Seeking Alpha's own content. Seeking Alpha produces news briefs ( http://seekingalpha.com/by/type/news-briefs) which are collated every morning into Wall Street Breakfast (http:// seekingalpha.com/by/type/wall-street-breakfast), our Housing Bubble and Real Estate Market Tracker (http://seekingalpha.com/tag/housing-bubble-and-real-estate-market-tracker), key excerpts from new IPO filings (http://seekingalpha.com/by/ type/ipo-analysis), portfolios (http://seekingalpha.com/tag/portfolios) of well-known investors, and summaries of Jim Cramer's stock picks (http://seekingalpha.com/by/type/cramers-picks). Seeking Alpha's editors also monitor our Interactive Q&As (http://seekingalpha.com/by/type/interviewsqa) to ensure cordiality. All Seeking Alpha editors adhere to our full compliance standards.
I hold multiple undergraduate degrees with concentrated focus in the fields of Psychology, Sociology, History, and Economics. Prior to working as an independent strategist for a handful of clients, I was employed as a behavioral economist for a private London based group. Before that, I worked for domestic entities such as FBR and ACC Capital.
In terms of equities analysis, my focus is strictly on long term investments, emerging biotechnology entities, distressed or undervalued companies, and maritime commerce. In terms of market analysis, my focus is on the market implications of social and non-traditional factors. I do not discredit more traditional technical and fundamental analysis, but I value greatly the largely underrated, and often forgotten, historical evolution of capitalism and capital market psychology. Thus, some articles I write will be highly speculative and unorthodox, and will likely represent a minority opinion. Others, when undervaluation is a motivating factor for the article having been written, will be highly technical and metric based.
Also, I urge readers to consider the premise of investment horizon, and authorship intention, when reading my contributions. Many of the articles for companies which I endorse will be deemed "long term", which I generally consider to be no less than 2-3 years unless otherwise noted. Moreover, some articles are written simply to test a potential investment thesis in an effort to garner feedback about prospective positions. In the latter, the "Risk" segment of articles will be thoroughly detailed and should be heavily weighed. Many such pieces will be long "ideas", not necessarily long "recommendations" or "endorsements", and it is imperative that readers understand that prior to any assumptions being made or conclusions being drawn. Thus, I would implore readers to consider my articles carefully and thoroughly, and to ask any questions they may have pertaining to publication purpose if not otherwise clearly defined. I will always do my best to respond in a timely fashion.
Lastly, I am a fervent proponent of the value brought to investments by behavioral finance theory, and I utilize this premise in all equities analysis.
Anonymity Disclosure: I am fully cognizant of the fact that some readers question the integrity and/or accountability of anonymous contributors. Please know that my preference for privacy is a two fold consideration; (1) I remain under a revolving open contract to consult for an entity where I signed a lifetime NCND agreement. In order not to risk violating any potential terms of that agreement, now or in the future, I maintain a very low web based profile. (2) I am a proponent of unbiased analysis being openly shared among prospective investors. However, in order to ensure no collisions occur between professional patronage and personal privacy, I have elected to utilize anonymity as the barrier between the two.
Sharon di Stefano has spent 20 years as an analyst, beginning her career at Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. specializing in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, healthcare information technology, and biopharmacology. Ms. di Stefano had also served as Senior Venture Officer for the Edison Innovation Fund, implemented through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority that provided funding for early-stage life sciences companies. Industry experience includes laboratory research for Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Department of Defense.
Ms. di Stefano received a Masters of Science degree, in Business, from Johns Hopkins University in 1986, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delaware in 1984 with a minor in biology.
Owner and operator of: www.biostockselite.com Have over 15 years of investment experience and interest is dedicated to small cap biotech stocks. Articles submitted to SeekingAlpha will also be posted to my aforementioned site.
Curis, Inc. (CRIS) - NasdaqGM rated best investment going forward in Biotech for the remainder of 2014 and certainly for 2015.
Past Results - Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ACHN) was issued a best investment rating on April 14, 2014 and it's hoped that on June 16, 2014 that investors locked in profit near the highs. The high that day was $8.05. The best investment rating was issued from the $2.70's area.
Athersys, Inc. (ATHX) - NasdaqCM In 2013 ATHX in the $1.60's area was issued a best investment notice. Followed up with several articles pointing out its potential. It's hoped investors took profit over $4 in early 2014. Today ATHX and its MultiStem is of high risk with one "no efficacy" phase II trial in 2014 reporting. For this reason ATHX is a buy only under $1.60 again today. This will limit downside to some degree if MultiStem fails again to show efficacy in a second phase II trial.
Other past calls were CLDX, ACUR and ALNY.
Zacks.com brings the decades of study and stock picking expertise of Zacks Investment Research to individual investors. Now, you don't to be an investment bank or brokerage firm to get the professional power of Zacks' research. It's all available on Zacks.com. Learn more about Zacks' history and company below.
Jim Van Meerten is an advisor to Marketocracy Capital Management and writes on financial subjects here and on Barchart Portfolio Blogs and Seeking Alpha. He earned a BS in Accounting and Business Administration from Berry College; a Juris Doctorate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Law; and attended post-baccalaureate and graduate courses in Business Administration, Quantitative Math, and Education at Florida Atlantic University, Georgia State University and University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In the past he has been an accountant, attorney, adjunct professor in Business Law, Accounting and Internal Auditing, financial advisor, supervisory principal, and compliance officer. He also passed the Georgia CPA Exam, the Certified Internal Auditor Exam, and the FINRA Series 7, 24 and 9/10 exams.He is presently also a contributor on MSN Top Stocks Blog, Motley Fool and is a member of the M100 on Marketocracy, an elete honor chosen by the editors of Marketocracy as being in the top 100 portfolio managers of over 100,000 portfoiios they review. He would enjoy hearing your comments at JimVanMeerten@gmail.com.
I am an independent equity research analyst and consultant. I focus on finding small-cap biotech stocks where I believe there is favorable risk / reward because of misinformation, lack of information, or a potential fundamental turnaround. I provide detail analysis for investors and investor relations companies. I also provide due diligence and advisory services to companies. Some names I write on I invest in personally and will disclose my position. Names that have hired me to provide due diligence or advisory services I will disclose a business relationship.
I previously worked for Zacks Investment Research from 2003 to 2015 as a Senior Biotechnology Analyst. Prior to Zacks, I spent 1999 to 2002 managing money with Eastover Capital in Charlotte, NC where I focused on large-cap equities, specializing in healthcare, energy, and technology. Prior to joining Eastover, I worked as a research scientist for TechLab, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on developing diagnostic kits and vaccines for infectious diseases, between 1995 and 1998. I also spent a year working at the Fralin Biotechnology Center, and a year working for a cancer researcher while at Virginia Tech.
I have a B.S. in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech, with a B.A in Chemistry and a minor in Math. I have a M.B.A. in Finance, with a concentration in Securities Analysis, from Wake Forest University. I hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Active investor and trader since my teens. I retired early from my career in healthcare administration and have been a full time investor for 5 years.
I write about 3D Printing Stocks on my site @ 3DPrintingStocks.com, as well as small and microcap stocks (no pinks or junk!) at MicrocapResearch.com
Bioassociate is an Israeli company established in 2008 and operating in the life science arena. Bioassociate provides expertise-based consulting, research and analysis services to international life science companies and investment entities (investment banks, private and institutional investors). Visit our website at www.bioassociate.com.
I have a Bachelors Degree In Business Administration. I have been investing in biotech stocks for many years, and I prefer to invest as a long term investor. With that In mind I seek stocks that have long term value! I primarily Like to Invest In biotechnology stocks and I accept the risks.
I Write for the Healthcare Sector and Stock market in general. I contribute to Seeking Alpha, Talk Markets, and CNA Finance. I run my own biotechnology website Biotechpicklist.com and in addition I post stock market news on my other website Wallstreetrain.com
I started investing while getting my Ph.D. at McGill University. My research was on behavioral correlates of neurological control of cardiovascular function. After 25 years as a Professor, I quit to do something more exciting and more difficult: live off of my investments. For quite some time, I specialized in Canadian Oil & Gas Trusts, other high income opportunities and special situations. In 2005, I founded the Trust Intelligence website to provide research and guidance to investors trying to wean them off of relying on sell-side analysts and to understand how to do due diligence from the point of view of an investor.
My personal investment focus, and that on my website, is still on special situations and income investments in Canada and the USA. I am focused on looking at relative value and great managements with businesses that have the characteristics to give them superior potential. While I retain interesting in the petroleum & income sectors I not focus on a few biotech special situations because they can be transformative for people's health and their net worth.
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.
I am a medical school student that has been following the markets for quite some time, and I manage a small portfolio of high-growth stocks. Most of the stocks I follow and trade are in the biotech space, since I'm familiar with the science and the implications there. I write because I'm interested in the cutting edge technology that many new companies are bringing to the table, and I believe that there is an enormous amount of money to be made in the space.
Author of the critically acclaimed book, "Taking Charge With Value Investing (McGraw-Hill, 2013)" and the premium subscription service "Tipping The Scale" (as seen below). An analyst that ranks in the top 4% on both tipranks.com and Motley Fool CAPS for stock picking performance.
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