Who I Am: I'm a retired individual investor. I retired at the end of 2013 after a 35 year career as a professor and research scientist at a major research university. So -- a career as a researcher and an educator, which is what I hope to continue here. Virtually every good teacher I've ever known says some version of "I learn more from teaching than my students do." There's a lot of truth in that, enough that there's an underlying selfish motivation for my writing here as I continue to learn about investing.
My professional life involved multiple international projects and collaborations, so I traveled extensively over those 35 years. I plan to continue doing so in my retirement. One consequence is that I'm liable to disappear from the site for extended periods. How can you miss me if I don't go away?
My investing priorities are building and refining portfolios designed to provide income and capital growth: Income for my retirement needs, and capital growth for my estate. My investing interests are tax-advantaged income from a range of sources, portfolio strategies, information- and bio-technology, and momentum-based strategic allocation.
Why I Write for Seeking Alpha: I learned long ago that "writing is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is." The line comes from a Guindon comic strip of many years ago, and could not be more true in my case. When I did research professionally, I learned that writing it up forces me to think about details I might otherwise overlook. It's how I spent my working career, so it comes more or less naturally to me. I consider it an essential part of doing any research. So, the writing I do here is as much for myself as for the reader. As I started to contribute articles here, they grew out of research for my personal investment portfolios. They're based on things I've uncovered that are of interest to me and may be of interest to others of like mind. My primary purposes in writing them are to help clarify my thinking and to get feedback from others who may have very different opinions. It's those thoughtful comments that make Seeking Alpha such an important resource.
I try to actively engage myself in the comment streams in my articles, contributing what I can and learning from others. As a research scientist I spent a career spanning four decades devoted to free exchange of information vetted by rigorous peer review. It's a concept I firmly believe in. I hope to bring that approach to my interactions and contributions on Seeking Alpha and welcome critical commentary on anything I may contribute here. I especially encourage and appreciate thoughtful comments from those who disagree with me (although I will ignore obvious trolls and encourage others to do so as well). So, go ahead, start a conversation in the comment threads. It's one of the best things about Seeking Alpha.
My Investment Philosophies and Strategies: I maintain two portfolios. My income portfolio is a taxable account. I try to keep it separate from the growth portfolio which is housed in a series of IRAs, traditional and Roth. My income focus is on tax-advantaged income. In 2016 I face minimum required withdrawals from my tax-deferred accounts, so tax efficiency is an important consideration. The IRAs I see as my estate and are focused on generational wealth building. That means the growth portfolios have a long-term horizon, well beyond what an investor of my age might be expected to maintain.
Who Is Left Banker? Ah yes, the name. When I first joined Seeking Alpha I had no intention of being anything but an occasional reader. I saw it as another research site. So, I just ported a name I've used on other sites. I spent some of the best times of my life living on the left bank of the Seine and am always thrilled to be back in La Belle Paris. Add that I also like it because I find several subtle word plays there; I'll leave it to you to decipher that comment.
Finally, I've chosen to remain anonymous, which I feel obligated to justify. First, I have no professional role in finance and nothing to sell, so there is no advantage to be gained by "making a name for myself' here. Second, I value my privacy and have kept my internet presence as low-key as my professional life allowed. I certainly want to avoid any possibility of some internet connection trying to track me down. Odds against that happening are, of course, outrageously long, but why take them on at all?
Disclosures: I have no ties to the financial or security industries in any form. My interests are strictly personal. The banker part of the nym has absolutely no relationship to the profession of the same name. Readers should be aware that I am an investing novice, some might say dilettante. I do not give advice; what I publish is much more in line with a research notebook. Anyone who finds anything of interest will necessarily want to do his or her complete research and due diligence. It would be foolish to rely on my conclusions without having done so.
Forward View Consulting, located in Virginia, is not your typical investment research provider. We're never interested in hot stocks or Wall Street's darlings of the moment. Every research note and report we publish will be based on a long-term perspective and fundamental research methodologies. That's the Forward View difference. Forward View's proprietary equity valuation model underpins our stock price targets and utilizes years of historical financial statement data to produce detailed forecasts. We have formal ratings, estimates and targets on: Acushnet (GOLF), American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV), Brunswick (BC), Cabela's (CAB), Columbia Sportswear (COLM), Camping World (CWH), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), Callaway Golf (ELY), Hibbett Sports (HIBB), Johnson Outdoors (JOUT), MarineMax (HZO), Newell Brands (NWL), Sportsman's Warehouse (SPWH), Sturm Ruger (RGR), Vista Outdoor (VSTO) and West Marine (WMAR).
Rubicon Associates is headed by a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder with over 20 years of experience in the investment management industry focused on the analysis, investment and management of fixed income and preferred stock portfolios. Over the years, he has analyzed and invested in both public and private companies around the world as well as advised institutional clients on fixed income strategies and manager selection. The principal has been responsible for managing nearly seven billion dollars in credit investments across the capital structure and overseeing the research and trading of credit market activities. Rubicon Associates has written for Seeking Alpha, Learn Bonds, a newsletter and TheStreet.com in addition to advising institutional and private investors.
Markos N. Kaminis generated a 23% average annual return on "Strong Buy" stock selections over 5 years and ranked 2nd among a group of 60 analysts in-house as a Senior Equity Analyst over a seven-year period at Standard & Poor's. After proving his value in-house, he was promoted into a special role as an idea generator, supporting the portfolios of institutional clients as well as driving performance within S&P's recommended lists and portfolios. At times, Markos was responsible for up to 10% of the firm's entire "Strong Buy" list and is due a great deal of credit for the group's outstanding performance during his tenure.
Markos followed a group of 30-40 Small and Mid-Cap firms, and was charged with finding new buy and sell candidates across industry sectors. He generated a 23% average annual return over five years on his "Strong Buy" recommendations, and 26% over three years ended 2004. He was ranked 1st of 60 analysts in-house for his "Strong Buy" performance over 4 years (2nd over 5). Markos also authored IPO research and wrote for high-level newsletters, The Outlook, Equity Insights and Emerging Opportunities, as well as for BusinessWeek Online. He represented his firm as an analytical expert commentator for major media, including television, Internet and through quotes and interviews in reputable publications.
Besides predicting the stock market correction of 2015 through a series of prescient reports here in August. (see proof here: http://seekingalpha.com/article/3482226-investor-who-predicted-the-stock-market-correction-offers-an-update ), Markos also advised investors to buy stocks at the bottom of the market in mid-February 2016 and again post-Brexit at the trough, and to buy gold in January 2016 before the commodity started its move higher. While not perfect, over the years, Markos has made countless correct market and security calls for his followers, including forecasting the demise of J.C. Penney on the heralded CEO hire's disruptive plans, the bankruptcies of Washington Mutual and Pilgrim's Pride in the $30 and $20s, respectively, as well as the purchase of Facebook in the mid-$20s when it was considered a pariah post its IPO (today it is a market darling). Markos also warned of the real estate market collapse and the financial crisis in the early days of his blogging.
What I personally want you to know about my plans: After witnessing the worst of Wall Street firsthand and having the ideal vision of my childhood career choice corrupted by reality, I almost switched to full-time charity work at age 40 and still have plans for several non-profit endeavors. The future is somewhat unknown, and I am open to employment offers for portfolio management or other ideas. While continuing to publish regularly, I expect to begin work on several book ideas that I believe are important for business, for our nation and for society.
I may put my stock selection skills, earned through blood, sweat and tears, to better use, and to make my own way. I would like to give investors something rare, a dignified partner who can manage money with integrity and a clear conscience about the degree of due diligence behind investment decisions... someone who cares more about your money than your wife. I hope readers will become followers of my column here & at my blog, so that when our numbers are substantial, we might start an investment fund or two.
Prior to his Wall Street career, Mr. Kaminis spent time in the back-office, as a mutual fund accountant, where he managed for a time the work of two men. Before this, from age 11 to age 25, he worked as a carpenter's apprentice and carpenter with his father, in both commercial and residential projects. Mr. Kaminis has an intimate knowledge of the real estate (undergraduate degree in Real Estate and Finance) and construction market, as well as the restaurant industry.
However, as a generalist stock analyst, he showed the ability to learn any and the most complicated of industries in short time - and he gamed every challenge presented to him. Mr. Kaminis earned his MBA at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, and his BA at Temple University in Philadelphia. However, Markos has been studying the stock market since age 13, when he determined his career path.
He made his first investment at age 16, and funded much of his undergraduate education with the proceeds of his investing success. Mr. Kaminis continues to keep busy forecasting the economic path and securities market activity. Markos is considering the eventual start-up a long/short capital appreciation hedge fund. Such a fund would limit risk through beta reduction, using a diversification strategy targeting sector & industry and long & short position inclusion. At the same time, Markos' theoretical fund would seek maximum capital appreciation through the exploitation of Mr. Kaminis' inherent economic & market discernment gift and proven stock selection skills.
Mr. Kaminis also has a team of a select few analysts, technicians, strategists and economists that he has been impressed by over the years, which he expects to tap for the project when the time is right. Mr. Kaminis welcomes your interest in such a potential forward effort, and looks forward to discussing his plans with those appropriate and within legal constraints.
Markos toys with very early stage entrepreneurial efforts in the testing of certain business models, all of which he intends to tie to a planned non-profit project serving the most helpless among us. The tie will be that the businesses will give employment opportunity to individuals who would otherwise have difficulty finding gainful employment. It will house and heal the homeless, ex-convicts, those completing rehabilitation efforts for drug and other addictions, and others in need of help.
Markos is currently Directing the widely syndicated blog he founded, "Wall Street Greek," and is writing for other well-known publications besides advancing several big ideas. Markos' column is syndicated across sites like the Boston Globe, Kiplinger Magazine, UPI and other reputable newspaper and TV websites, as well as private networks, Amazon Kindle, iPhone and more. In the past, he has written for RealMoney.com, Motley Fool and others.
Requests to research specific companies are welcome, as we serve our readers. You may contact us via this blog's contact info. Mr. Kaminis welcomes you to follow him here at Seeking Alpha, where he is proud to be a long-time contributor to this strong team of writers. He considers the Seeking Alpha team and management close friends, and for you, people worth knowing and following. Visit his site: Wall Street Greek (http://www.wallstreetgreek.blogspot.com/)
Reuben Gregg Brewer spent about 15 years at world renowned Value Line, the Publisher of The Value Line Investment Survey. During this time he worked in various facets of the company's research efforts, including equities, mutual funds, convertibles, and options. For six years, he directed all of the company's research efforts as Value Line's Executive Director of Research. Today he writes about the things that interest him.
Reuben has extensive experience in the capital markets, especially in emerging markets, fixed income, derivatives and futures, commodities, and investment banking (including private equity). He has taught on the University level in the US and has lectured undergrads in Hong Kong and tutored privately to undergrads and grad students both in NY and in Hong Kong. On a day to day basis he provides consulting and advisement to privately held micro-cap and middle market companies and top tier management consulting firms (as an Engagement Manager) not only in Asia, but worldwide as well. His independent resources and connections and extensive top tier financial service firm's experience allows him to bridge the gap between Western and Eastern business practices and cultures.
His specialties include sales and business development, developing and creating business plans, capital markets, trading and sales of fixed income, derivatives and commodities including energy products, conducting due diligence, financial analysis and modeling. He has been successful at capital raising, teaching, advising and mentoring, marketing, mergers and acquisitions and negotiations along with creative problem solving abilities, structured products and risk management. His industry focus has been telecommunications, technology and software, (including CRM), education and the beverage sector. He trades on a daily basis on many diverse global markets.
I provide economic analysis, market commentary and company-specific research. My general view is to operate a diversified basket of long-term investments in both equities and fixed income. I have a bachelor's degree in economics from San Diego State University (2007), eight years of publishing experience and over a decade of cumulative investment experience. I have been published in several newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal and Barron's.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Senior Analyst at iREIT Forbes and Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He was the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014 (as ranked by TipRanks) and he is currently writing a book on the legendary investor Donald Trump.
Thomas has co-authored a book (The Intelligent REIT Investor) that is available on Amazon.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College where he played basketball. He resides in South Carolina with his wife and kids.
Doug K. Le Du is a preferred stock researcher, author of the book titled Preferred Stock Investing, syndicated writer and publisher of three monthly preferred stock newsletters.
Doug has been studying the preferred stock marketplace since 2002. In 2006 he published the first edition of Preferred Stock Investing which has been updated and re-published regularly since then.
Preferred Stock Investing teaches risk-averse investors how to screen, buy and sell the highest quality preferred stocks. The book lists all qualifying preferred stocks that have been issued since January 2001.
The ten selection criteria from Preferred Stock Investing filtered out the 57 preferred stocks from the big banks that would be claimed by the Global Credit Crisis and let pass the 13 issues from the big banks that were saved by acquisition. In 70 out of 70 cases, a 100% success rate for almost two years running, the preferred stock selection criteria found in Preferred Stock Investing protected preferred stock investors.
As a researcher, Doug researches the market price behavior of the highest quality preferred stocks and writes to you about trends and opportunities. His premium subscription service (described at www.PreferredStockInvesting.com) providers subscribers with email alerts of new preferred stock issues, access to his preferred stock catalogs and HotLists, a monthly newsletter just for premium subscribers and much more.
Doug's academic background is in economics and statistics. Doug retired from his position as Managing Director at one of the world's largest management consulting firms in 2002 to focus on preferred stock research. Doug does not sell preferred stocks nor is he a stock broker or financial adviser.