U of AZ grad 62 yrs old Soccer, fishing, guns, chess, cooking are hobbies. Like: small govt, Jim beam, beer, convertible bonds, growth stocks Speak Spanish and Japanese. Principle--Sonora Inv Mgmt (invmgmt.com)
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Founder of "The Contrarian", a premium research service, featuring the "Bet The Farm" Portfolio. Actively investing since 1995, I have soared like an eagle, and been unmercifully humbled by the markets. Achieved positive returns in 2008, and turned an account with $60,310 on 1/1/2009 into an account with $3,177,937 on 11/30/2009. My best years have been 1995-2003, 2008-2012, and 2016-????. My worst years were 2013-2015. I believe inflation is coming, and we are at an inflection point in the markets.
Twenty year career as an investment analyst, investor, portfolio manager, consultant, and writer. Founder of Koldus Contrarian Investments, Ltd, which was incorporated in the spring of 2009. Dyed in the wool contrarian investor, who has learned, the hard way, that a good contrarian is only contrarian 20% of the time, but being right at key inflection points is the key to meaningful wealth creation in the markets. I believe we are near a meaningful inflection point, perhaps the biggest one yet, for the third time in the past 15 years.
Historically, I have had huge wins and impressive losses based on a concentrated, contrarian strategy. Trying to keep the good while filtering out the bad.
Seeking to run an all weather portfolio with minimal volatility and index overlays to capture my strategic and tactical recommendations along with a concentrated best ideas portfolio, which is my bread and butter, but the volatility only makes it suitable for a small piece of an investor's overall portfolio. The following are a couple of my favorite investment quotes.
"Life and investing are long ballgames." Julian Robertson
"A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure."
"Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." Albert Einstein
I’ve been on top of the world, and the world has been on top of me. I have learned to enjoy the perspective from each view, and use opportunities to persistently acquire knowledge, and enjoy the company of those around me, especially loved ones, family, and friends.
At heart, I am a market historian with an unrivaled passion for the capital markets. I have had a long history and specialization with concentrated positions and options trading. Made money in 2008 with a net long portfolio, deploying capital in some of the market's darkest hours into long positions including purchases of American Express, Atlas Energy, Crosstex, First Industrial Real Estate, General Growth Properties, Genworth, Macquarie Infrastructure, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, and Vornado near their lows. Shorting, hedging, and option strategies also helped me in 2007 and 2009, and these are skills that I have developed ever since I started trading heavily in 1996.I enjoy reading, accumulating knowledge, and putting this knowledge to work in the active capital markets, learning lessons along the way.To this day, I continue to learn, and some of these learning lessons have been excruciatingly difficult ones, especially over the past several years, as I made mistakes allocating capital, including a sizable portion of my own capital (I always invest alongside my clients), to commodity related stocks. While all commodity related stocks have struggled since April of 2011, coal companies, which attracted me due to their extremely cheap valuations, and out-of-favor status (I am a strong believer in behavioral finance alongside fundamentals and technicals) have been the worst investing mistake of my career. The focus on the commodity arena has been the biggest mistake of my investment career thus far, yet in its aftermath, I see tremendous opportunity, even larger in scope than the fortuitous 2008/2009 environment.The capital that I accumulated and the confidence gained in navigating the treacherous investment waters of 2008 gave me the confidence to launch my own investment firm in the spring of 2009, right before the ultimate lows in the stock market. At the time I was working as a senior analyst at one of the largest RIA's in the country, and I felt strongly that the market environment was the best time since 1974/1975 to start an investment firm.
Prior to starting my firm, I was a senior analyst for three different firms over approximately 10 years (Charles Schwab, Redwood, Oxford), moving up in responsibility and scope at each stop along my journey. Since I was a paperboy, I have always had an interest in the investment markets. I love researching and finding opportunities. I am a Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA, as well as a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, CAIA. After starting in the teaching program at Ball State University, I switched to a career in finance when I turned a small student loan into a substantial amount of capital. I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance from Ball State.
Full disclosure, I am not currently a registered investment advisor, though I did serve in this capacity from 2009-2014, while owning Koldus Contrarian Investments, Ltd. Additionally, I held various securities licenses from 2000-2014, without a single complaint filed, and I continue to hold industry designations. At the end of 2014, I voluntarily let my state registration expire, as I transitioned the business to a different structure. Prior to this, I had passed, and held, various securities exams and licenses, including the Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 exams, in addition to others, alongside my CFA and CAIA designations. Unfortunately, I did not file the proper paperwork to withdraw my state registration, and I did not disclose a personal arrangement, and subsequent civil case, between myself and a former close personal friend and client, that was initiated in 2011. I was unaware that I was required to disclose these items, and my securities attorney, at the time, did not advise me to do so. Previously, I had managed a portfolio for this gentleman, and we had taken an investment of approximately $7 million in 2009, and grown it to over $25 million at the beginning of 2012. After a difficult year of performance, an employee of the firm I owned, and friend, resigned in early 2013, and took the aforementioned client to a competing firm. As a result of not filing the proper paperwork, I agreed to a settlement, with a potential $2500 fine in the future, depending on if I choose to reapply to be a non-exempt advisor.
Ray Dalio is the Chairman and co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, which is a global macro investment firm and is the world’s largest hedge fund. He is known to have a very practical understanding of economics that is very different from conventional economic thinking and that he spelled out in "How the Economic Machine Works".
He started Bridgewater in 1975 out of a two bedroom apartment in New York City and has been a global macro investor for more than 45 years.
While at Bridgewater his industry-changing approaches to investing -- which include the invention of risk parity, currency overlay, portable alpha and global inflation indexed bond management -- prompted Alternative Investment CIO to write an article entitled “Is Ray Dalio the Steve Jobs of Investing?”, which compared his industry-changing inventions to those of the Apple founder. According to an industry study, Bridgewater's hedge fund has made more money for its investors than any other hedge fund ever -- an estimated $37 billion. Bridgewater Associates has received numerous awards, including over twenty “Manager of the Year” awards from every major financial publication, and Ray has received three “Lifetime Achievement” awards. Additionally, a long list of economic policy makers actively seek his advice, which prompted Time Magazine in 2012 to name him “One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World”.
Ray is an active philanthropist with a particular interest in oceanographic research and conservation. He is a participant in The Giving Pledge, a commitment to give more than half of his wealth to charity.
Ray believes that reality works like a machine and that principles for dealing with reality are required to be successful. For those who are interested in learning the principles that led to Ray's success, he set them out in Principles.org which focuses on management principles and EconomicPrinciples.org which describes the principles of the economic machine.
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.
Ben S. Bernanke is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. From February 2006 through January 2014, he was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Bernanke also served as Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the System's principal monetary policymaking body.
Before his appointment as Chairman, Dr. Bernanke was Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, from June 2005 to January 2006. He had already served the Federal Reserve System in several roles. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2002 to 2005; a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia (1987-89), Boston (1989-90), and New York (1990-91, 1994-96); and a member of the Academic Advisory Panel at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (1990-2002).
From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Bernanke was the Class of 1926 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He was the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and Chair of the Economics Department at the university from 1996 to 2002. Dr. Bernanke had been a Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton since 1985.
Before arriving at Princeton, Dr. Bernanke was an Associate Professor of Economics (1983-85) and an Assistant Professor of Economics (1979-83) at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. His teaching career also included serving as a Visiting Professor of Economics at New York University (1993) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989-90).
Dr. Bernanke has published many articles on a wide variety of economic issues, including monetary policy and macroeconomics, and he is the author of several scholarly books and two textbooks. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship, and he is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Bernanke served as the Director of the Monetary Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and as a member of the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee. In July 2001, he was appointed Editor of the American Economic Review. Dr. Bernanke's work with civic and professional groups includes having served two terms as a member of the Montgomery Township (N.J.) Board of Education.
Dr. Bernanke was born in December 1953 in Augusta, Georgia, and grew up in Dillon, South Carolina. He received a B.A. in economics in 1975 from Harvard University (summa cum laude) and a Ph.D. in economics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Bernanke is married and has two children.
2nd Market Capital Advisory specializes in the analysis and trading of real estate securities. Through a selective process and consideration of market dynamics, we aim to construct portfolios for rising streams of dividend income and capital appreciation.
Individual trader investor. Mr Montes is an independent analyst and commentator for the Equity Management Academy.
The Equity Management Academy (www.ema2tradelivesignals.com) is a virtual online trading school and LIVE Trading Room committed to providing traders with the latest market intelligence, trading tools and technology to successfully navigate today’s markets.
We provide reliable and timely directional information through the application of a new and innovative proprietary trading tool called, The VC Price Momentum Indicator.
The VC Price Momentum Indicator was created when we realized conventional market indicators were unreliable and, for the most part, entirely inaccurate. This realization began his exhaustive search to find a consistently accurate trading tool. After years of research and testing, a new and innovative trading tool was created: The VC Price Momentum Indicator.
By combining several mathematical systems, we created a proprietary indicator. The VC Price Momentum Indicator is not only able to identify cyclical turns, but also measure the velocity between cyclical turns. In other words, it measures the momentum or acceleration of the trend within the cycle in a timely and accurate manner.
The VC Price Momentum Indicator is applicable to short, intermediate and long-term market trends.
John M. Mason writes on current monetary and financial events. He is an entrepreneur and a writer. Current projects include a new banking institution, an Internet company, a private equity fund, two depository institutions and a community redevelopment fund. He formerly was on the faculty of the Finance Department, Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Mason has been President and CEO of two publicly traded financial institutions and the executive vice president and CFO of a third. He has also served as a special assistant to the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D. C. and as a senior economist within the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Mason has served on the boards of venture capital funds and other private equity funds. He has worked with young entrepreneurs, especially within the urban environment, starting or running companies primarily connected with Information Technology. Some of his new ventures are in the sustainable business and impact business space. .
Alex Cho is a top contributor on Seeking Alpha in both the long ideas and technology section of the website. Alex Cho's articles have been featured on The Motley Fool, The Street, and Benzinga. Alex Cho has been featured on ValueWalk's throwback Thursday for his analysis on Apple. Furthermore, Alex Cho's financial expertise ranks him in the top 100 on TipRanks, and his recommendations have a 80% success rate according to Tip Ranks.
To reach out to him for business opportunities, to share ideas, guest writing opportunities, consulting opportunities e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I focus on investments in the oil & gas & MLP sectors with an eye for dividend income growth and long-term capital appreciation. I typically allocate a portion of my own portfolio and devote some of my Seeking Alpha articles to small and medium sized companies offering compelling risk/reward propositions. I am an engineer, not a qualified investment advisor. While the information and data presented in my articles are obtained from company documents and/or sources believed to be reliable, they have not been independently verified. Therefore, I cannot guarantee its accuracy. I advise investors conduct their own research and/or consult a qualified investment advisor. I explicitly disclaim any liability that may arise from investment decisions you make based on my articles. Thanks for reading and I wish you much success with your investments.
I'm an asset manager at Hebba Alternative Investments with a focus on real assets. In my articles I like to focus on events that affect the macro environment for assets (especially gold and silver), and also introduce readers to different metrics that I believe are under-utilized when assessing investments.
On a more personal note, I'm a firm believer that there can be honesty, morality, and integrity in finance (though its rare) and i'd like to believe that I stick to those principles. Thus I never "pump and dump" stocks, I always list the securities we own, and I take it very seriously when I recommend a company - I do not want to see any investors/readers lose money because of my recommendations.
I'm not always right with recommendations, but investors and readers can know that I always tell the truth (there is no deception) and I eat my own cooking as recommendations are either always owned OR the reason I dont own them is given (usually related to restrictions on stocks I can buy).
Advising people in financial matters is a serious issue and integrity is much more important than money to me, but I do believe both can co-exist. You live with money, but after your death you only have your morality and integrity and thus i've made my choice between the two. A bit philosophical for a bio, but I dont think there's a better way to give investors my background than that.
We offer investors a free weekly email list detailing gold, silver, and general economic markets which you can sign up for at: http://www.communitysynergy.com/subscribe/hebbainvestments_subscribe.html
James A. Kostohryz has accumulated over twenty years of experience investing and trading virtually every asset class across the globe.
Kostohryz started his investment career as an analyst at one of the US's largest asset management firms covering sectors as diverse as emerging markets, banking, energy, construction, real estate, metals and mining. Later, Kostohryz became Chief Global Strategist and Head of International Investments for a major investment bank. Kostohryz currently manages his own investment firm, specializing in proprietary trading and institutional portfolio management advisory.
Born in Mexico, Kostohryz grew up between south Texas and Colombia, has lived and worked in nine different countries, and has traveled extensively in more than 50 others. Kostohryz actively pursues various intellectual interests and is currently writing a book about the impact of culture on economic development. He is a former NCAA and world-class decathlete and has stayed active in a variety of sports.
Kostohryz graduated with honors from both Stanford University and Harvard Law School.
You can receive custom delivery of all of Mr. Kostohryz's published work on Seeking Alpha, The Street, and other media, as well as exclusive material, by following the link below. It is absolutely free:
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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.
Scott Grannis was Chief Economist from 1989 to 2007 at Western Asset Management Company, a Pasadena-based manager of fixed-income funds for institutional investors around the globe. He was a member of Western's Investment Strategy Committee, was responsible for developing the firm's domestic and international outlook, and provided consultation and advice on investment and asset allocation strategies to CFOs, Treasurers, and pension fund managers. He specialized in analysis of Federal Reserve policy and interest rate forecasting, and spearheaded the firm's research into Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). Prior to joining Western Asset, he was Senior Economist at the Claremont Economics Institute, an economic forecasting and consulting service headed by John Rutledge, from 1980 to 1986. From 1986 to 1989, he was Principal at Leland O'Brien Rubinstein Associates, a financial services firm that specialized in sophisticated hedging strategies for institutional investors.
Visit his blog: Calafia Beach Pundit (http://scottgrannis.blogspot.com/)
Eric Parnell, CFA, is the Founder and Director of Gerring Capital Partners. Gerring Capital is a registered investment advisory firm seeking attractive returns opportunities emphasizing value, quality and risk control. Eric also publishes The Universal premium service on Seeking Alpha targeting winning strategies in bear and bull markets across the asset class universe. Gerring Capital implements these strategies for its investors and then Eric discusses them on The Universal. Eric is also a Visiting Instructor at Ursinus College in the Department of Business and Economics. Prior to founding Gerring in 2005, Eric was the Director of Investment Communications at SEI Investments and an Economist at Moody’s Analytics.
I am a chemist by trade and an Austrian Economist by study and love discussing the capital markets and take a qualitative approach to global monetary trends and a technical, quantitative approach to trading. My current focus is on emerging markets of Southeast Asia as well as gold and strategic commodities.
Feel free to find me on:
Jack Lifton is an Independent consultant and commentator, focusing on the market fundamentals and future end use trends of the rare metals. He specializes in the sourcing of nonferrous strategic metals and on due diligence studies of businesses in that space. His work includes exploration, mining, refining and the recovery of metal values by the recycling of not only metals and their alloys but also of metal-based chemicals used as raw materials for component manufacturing.
Mr. Lifton has more than 50 years of experience in the global OEM automotive, heavy equipment, electrical and electronic, mining, smelting, and refining industries. His background includes the sourcing, manufacturing, and sales of platinum group metal products, rare earth compounds, and ceramic specialties used to make catalytic converters, oxygen sensors, batteries, and fuel cells. He is knowledgeable in locating and analyzing new and recycled supplies of 'minor metals' including tellurium, selenium, indium, gallium, silicon, germanium, molybdenum, tungsten, manganese, chromium, and the rare earth metals.
Today he primarily consults to institutional investors doing due diligence on metals related opportunities and to natural resource ventures on technologies and markets.
Jack wrote a weekly column on minor metals for Resource Investor for three years until December 2008, during which he authored more than 125 original articles. He is also speaks on minor metals fundamentals and end-uses at private, public, and professional meetings.
Since 2007 he has made presentations at conferences, seminars, and workshops all over the world more than 50 times.
I am the founder and director of three companies: Euro Pacific Capital (www.europac.net), a full service, registered broker-dealer and RIA which specializes in foreign securities; Euro Pacific Precious Metals (www.europacmetals.com), a gold & silver coin and bullion dealer; and Euro Pacific Asset Management (www.europacificfunds.com), a fund management company that is building a family of mutual funds based on my economic philosophy.
I am most well-known for accurately and publicly predicting the collapse of the housing and credit markets, the subprime crisis, and the increasing price of gold relative to the US dollar, resulting in the viral YouTube video "Peter Schiff Was Right."
I fly around the country and the world speaking to diverse groups, from academic conferences to Tea Party rallies. I have also appeared regularly on cable news stations since the mid-2000s trying to warn people of the impending economic collapse brought on by destructive fiscal and economic policy in Washington.
To that end, I published my first book, "Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse," in early 2007, predicting the 2008 economic crisis while the mainstream commentators were saying it was impossible. Then, at the height of the crisis, I released "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets," in which I showed readers how to help protect their finances in turbulent times. I've written updated versions of both Crash Proof and The Little Book since then, talking about how my predictions fared and why the worst of the crash is still ahead of us. I also wrote a book with my brother based on a popular comic book my dad wrote in the '70s. "How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes" is an illustrated fable that starts with three guys on an island and uses allegory to explain exactly how we got into our current mess.
In the 2010 election season, I ran for the US Senate seat of retiring Senator Chris Dodd in my home state of Connecticut in order to bring attention to the mounting problems in this country. While I did not win the seat, my message of fiscal and monetary sanity was brought to a new audience of voters and political leaders.
I've had a regular video blog on YouTube since 2009, called The Schiff Report (www.youtube.com/user/SchiffReport) and, after giving up my long-running Wall Street Unspun podcast, I am now the host of a nightly radio show called The Peter Schiff Show (www.schiffradio.com).
Elliott Gue knows energy. Since earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of London, Elliott has dedicated himself to learning the ins and outs of this dynamic sector, scouring trade magazines, attending industry conferences, touring facilities and meeting with management teams.
For seven years, Elliott Gue shared his expertise and stock-picking abilities with individual investors through a highly regarded, energy-focused research publication. Elliott Gue’s knowledge of the sector and prescient investment calls prompted the official program of the 2008 G-8 Summit in Tokyo to call him “the world’s leading energy strategist.”
He has also appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg TV and has been quoted in a number of major publications, including Barron’s, Forbes and the Washington Post.
In October 2012, Elliott Gue launched the Energy & Income Advisor (www.EnergyandIncomeAdvisor.com), a semimonthly online newsletter that’s dedicated to uncovering the most profitable opportunities in the energy sector, from growth stocks to high-yielding utilities, royalty trusts and master limited partnerships.
The masthead may have changed, but subscribers can expect the same in-depth analysis and rational assessments of investment opportunities in the energy sector.
Alex Daley is the senior editor of Casey’s Extraordinary Technology. In his varied career, he’s worked as a senior research executive, a software developer, project manager, senior IT executive, and technology marketer.
He’s a technologist who has collaborated on the development of cutting-edge technologies, including: remote lie detectors that work invisibly across a room, autonomous/robotic vehicles that can drive themselves unaided across hundreds of miles of rugged desert terrain, computer vision systems that enable computers to understand the depth in 2D photographs, lightweight composite ceramics that can withstand artillery fire better than metal, maps of the human genome, automated analysis of video for non-verbal communication cues, and face detection and recognition for spotting people in photos and surveillance videos.
But Alex’s technological experience is only half the story. He’s an industry insider of the highest order, having been involved in numerous startups as an advisor to venture capital companies. He’s a trusted advisor to the CEOs and strategic planners of some of the world’s largest tech companies. And he’s a successful angel investor in his own right, with a long history of spectacular investment successes.
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.
KLLJ is a private investor focusing on small cap stocks in biotechnology, emerging markets and renewable energy. I have been an active investor for 15 years and focus on picking stocks with tremendous upside. I enjoy sharing my thoughts in forums such as Seeking Alpha to help with my own due diligence process. I'm a critical thinker who appreciated constructive feedback to my investing ideas. I am not a short-term or momentum trader and like to think my strength is in picking good stocks with 10X potential returns. I don't believe in relying on Wall Street coverage of companies because of the inherent conflicts of interest (known or unknown.) We are in the market to make money and it is up to you, the individual retail investor to perform your own analysis for investment decisions if you want to win in the market. My analysis and viewpoints are not investment advice and you should always perform your own due diligence.
Justin M. Hall is an extremely accomplished independent financial analyst with more than a decade of experience in the financial markets. He consistently provides expertise to a variety of financial clients and is known for his successful market predictions. Between 2010 and 2014 Justin made 239 specific market recommendations via his online subscription service with an 80% accuracy rate. He has produced enduring results for a variety of clients including those who trade stocks, invest their own money, desire personal wealth management, and institutional investors. But more than an analyst, Justin is a person who influences and persuades, whose judgement is well respected and highly trusted, and whose opinion is sought by those searching for financial and investment advice.
Justin received his undergraduate degree from Indiana State University and attended law school at Indiana University. His desire to serve the financial and investment needs of individual clients led him to start Rx Investors.com, an online subscription service that connected individual investors with his expert analysis. Subscribers from all over the world utilized Justin’s advice to generate market income and grow their individual portfolios. Many of these subscribers and clients continued to seek Justin’s analysis and advice for many years, appreciating his unique perspective on the financial industry.
A variety of financial outlets have recognized Justin’s expertise and highlighted his work including the Orange County Business Journal, Seeking Alpha, and Zack’s Investment Research. These industry connections have allowed Justin to lend his expert advice to others and expand his influence.
Gary Dorsch (http://seekingalpha.com/by/author/gary-dorsch/) originally worked for Charles Schwab, and his analysis of the markets have been read for years by hedge fund managers and other professional investors. He now writes Global Money Trends (http://sirchartsalot.com/newsletters.php), a respected investment newsletter covering global asset markets. We think Gary is exceptional: he's one of the few writers who covers global markets with insight and brevity, and shows US-based investors how to invest in them. You'll find his work on ETF Investor and the international blogs.
Hardassetsinvestor.com (http://hardassetsinvestor.com/) is a Van Eck Associates-sponsored, research oriented Web site devoted to sharing ideas about hard assets investing. The site has been developed as an educational resource for both individual and institutional investors interested in learning more about commodity equities, commodity futures and gold (the three major components of the hard assets marketplace). The site focuses on hard assets investing, without endorsing or recommending any particular investment product or approach.
Visit: Hard Assets Investor (http://hardassetsinvestor.com/)