Retired. Professional backgrounds in legal, accounting and general contracting. Strongly entreprenurial................many small businesses. Top 100 in some sectors as to national size ranking. Macro oriented Former CEO & Chairman of Board. Emphasis Energy, Health Care, Agriculture. Next 10 yrs future value..Very blessed.
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I am a retired investment adviser. I write a blog that concentrates on dividends and income. In my web/blog I profile dividend stocks that I call Dividend Machines because they are safe and deliver ever increasing income. High Yield Bonds bought at par or below and covered calls on dividend companies are additional sources of income that individual investors should learn to use and that I discuss on my site. My ideas and historical data are free to readers. The Money Madam
Jeffrey Dow Jones is the managing editor for Alpine Advisor. He has previously worked for PaineWebber/UBS and Ford Motor Credit Company, and he spent the last decade co-managing a group of hedge funds. He holds a degree in Business Economics with a specialization in Computer Programming from The University of California - Los Angeles.
He publishes a free weekly newsletter at AlpineAdvisor.info.
Formerly in Aerospace/Defence propulsion area, I made a transition to energy/environment in 1995 to work on renewable energy. Specifically, biomass thermochemical processing into standard drop-in transportation fuels, like high-octane gasoline. I have founded Transmediair, Inc (later renamed Primus Green Energy, Inc) in New Jersey. I am the architect of Primus' proprietary technology, specifically, catalytic biomass gasification and other patents, including a modified version of the Mobil (1972) methanol to gasoline or MTG process. I am currently the President of Verdant Aerospace, LLC, developing technologies for renewable fuels, advanced micro turbines, and non-fracking shale-gas extraction. I have a BSc from the Technion, Haifa, and a PhD from Princeton University, both in aerospace and mechanical engineering.
Semi-retired CPA. 55 years old. I am steadily relying on my investment income for retirement. My practice is slowly fading away and is a means to pay my health insurance and medical expenses.
Started investing thru my mother's account at age 14. I owe so much to my mother who taught me so much about investing. She had me keep her charting up for her. She had me watching the ticker on TV when it became available to the masses. I learned company ticker symbols using California 3 letter license plates in a game we would play whenever we drove anywhere. I learned her investment philosophy which was based on long term charting of stocks that had remained dormant for years hoping they were on the verge of breaking out to the upside. She was very successful using this methodology.
My mom had me sitting with her watching the old Wall Street Week, Agronsky & Co., Washington Week, Nightly Business Report, etc. I started out understanding next to nothing in the beginning but gradually began to understand everything. She emphasized importance of understanding the interrelationship of the economy and government because government could make or break your investments.
Our investment philosophies ended up being so different but I rely on that solid core I learned in those early years for so many things even to this day.
My focus is constructing a portfolio of solid total return investments. Too many investors focus on high income at any price or high risky income because they did not accumulate enough assets to lower their risk profile and desperately need or want a desired level of income and are taking way too much risk to get it. We all need income to live in a retirement time frame much longer than anyone could have expected when we were all young. We also need a greater measure of capital growth because life's highest expenses may be in our future and our assets must keep up with the higher cost of living in the future.
I was smashed to pieces like so many in late 2008. Had to lick my wounds and figure out how to move forward. I read an article by Prof. Timothy Considine (then at Univ of PA) in late 2008/early 2009 about the future of energy and I completely bought into it choosing the MLP space as the primary focus believing in an eventual recovery of MLPs but more importantly the story that 25 years of incredible infrastructure growth lay ahead and the MLPs were best suited to perform that service so the E&Ps maintain their capital for exploration and production.
Still licking my wounds I focused on the MLP sector in general believing in a general recovery meaning all boats would rise which they did. BUT, there comes a moment and I learned this from my mother, there comes a moment where the general part of a recovery must give way to an intense focus on the very best companies within the industry you believe in. So I moved from a general focus to specific best of breed MLPs. I chose based on an understanding of each MLP's asset map and future potential to build out. I focused on organic growth over acquisition growth because Wall Street has destroyed so many companies over the years playing the acquisition game. Prof. Considine's thesis of a long term infrastructure build out meant you had to choose companies with the financial firepower (balance sheet) and asset map that allowed for much more organic growth than competing MLPs whose history was more reliant on higher cost acquisition growth.
In this zero interest rate environment many sub-par MLPs could prosper but the trick was to find the best of breed that could prosper in a normalized interest rate world which is the next chapter in our economy. I also focused on MLPs that were starting to jettison their GPs. MMP was the first and they paid 11x ebitda to buy out their GP. BPL and NRY were among the last to buy out their GPs and paid 23-26x ebitda which was crazy and an indication of how late they were to the game. MMP has prospered big time while the latter two MLPs have faltered in large part because they paid too much and waited too long to buy out their GPs. I bought MMP when they made the announcement. Wall Street analysts were skeptical about MMP's move and thought 11x ebitda was too much to pay. These same analysts thought paying 10x ebitda for a pipeline acquisition was reasonable but understand they get a lot more fees from the latter than the former. I knew I was on to something very good and have a large portion of my assets in the MLPs that bought out their GPs.
So to boil it down I have MLPs as core and absent tax law changes will be a major factor in my retirement plan. I also own a few best of breed BDCs and some common stock with good dividend payout histories and histories of good growth in dividends.
I used the 2008/9 crash to convert my IRA to a ROTH. My first transfer out of my traditional IRA was AAPL at $167; sold in my ROTH for $596. My mom always said use tragedy and adversity to your advantage an converting to a ROTH was my greatest leap of faith.
When I was younger I did very well in growth stocks without dividends but I have reached an age where I do not want to work as hard as I have worked so I do not have that same salary backup behind me that allows for taking that level of risk. However my risk portion of the portfolio is more measured with stocks like AIG, LCC, and WMB.
I am an HNWI. Not meant to brag, simply to state that I have accomplished my dream and enjoy responding to SA writings to give some wisdom from lessons learned, ideas for what to look for in (specifically) MLP investments, and in the case of Mreits hopefully get a few people to understand they must start learning about interest rate cycles in order to successfully play the cycle. I dumped all Mreits in NOV 2012 because I could see the winds of change that very much paralleled the GNMA and GNMA fund breakdowns in the 1980s. When the time comes I will begin looking at bonds and preferred again because the cycle will eventually reach that point where it will make sense to own bonds and preferred but not yet.
Specialize in the investment in and trading of "deep-value" high-yield securities, including debt, preferred shares, common shares, put/call options, and ETF's, for my own and family accounts only. Have over seventeen years experience personally directing our personal and family accounts on a mostly full-time basis.
Was previously an international-business executive, general manager and entrepreneur in the medical-technology industry. Also provided consulting, related to general management, new-venture formation and acquisition of venture capital.
Education: Brown University, School of Engineering (Sc. B. '71); University of Virginia, Darden School of Business Administration (MBA '73).
Present Home: Sarasota, FL
Previous Homes: New York City, Mountain View, CA
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
We have over 60 years of investment analysis experience. We have published investment research from the perspective of the buy side and the sell side. Our work has been used by institutions managing over $1 trillion in aggregate. We have published reports from both the long and short perspective and have worked with the largest short selling mutual fund in the world. We are long term value investors. It is our belief that, contrary to popular opinion, most individual investors and patient professional investors have the best opportunity since the beginning of our investment career to beat institutional and mutual fund managers in terms of risk adjusted performance. The "Information Arbitrage" advantage institutional investors have had is mostly eliminated, while the individual investor still can maintain an edge with "Time Arbitrage". Our goal is to provide institutional quality buy side articles that educate and stimulate investors in the hope of improving their returns. We also are willing to mentor young analysis who wish to improve their analytical skills.
Martin G. Seitz, I am a scientist and enjoy my investing and tennis activities. I have 20 years of experience in energy technology research (with the Carnegie Institution of Science and Argonne National Laboratory), and worked for 20 years in technology consulting (with Booz Allen Hamilton, the National Academy of Science and the U.S. Department of Energy). I served two elected terms (4 years) as Commissioner of Dewey Beach DE, and am now a Planning Commissioner for the municipality.
Benjamin is the founder of ModernGraham.com, a website devoted to the study and modernization of the teachings of Benjamin Graham. Benjamin graduated cum laude with a J.D. and Certificate in Taxation from DePaul University College of Law, and a B.S. in Finance (Honors) from DePaul University College of Commerce.
Articles posted on Seeking Alpha are a sample of the articles posted on ModernGraham.com. Please visit the website for more ModernGraham content.
I am a mechanical engineer full time and a self-taught value investor in my spare time (another full time job). My portfolio is highly concentrated in value stocks with a high margin of safety, or cash, but a small portion of my portfolio is also positioned in high impact positive black swan stocks which I believe offer a favorable risk/reward ratio.
Phillip Baldwin Jr.
Partner: Carmouche, Carmouche & Baldwin LLC
Law Firm with offices in Texas and Louisiana, specializing in Oil & Gas Law
Undergraduate degree is in Geology in 1983.
JD in 1986.
Licensed to practice law in Texas 1986.
Over 26 years experience in the Oil and Gas Business:
VP/General Counsel, and Land Manager of both small and large Independent E&P Companies.
Private Practice representing OIl & Gas E&P Companies, Operators, Surface and Mineral Owners, Pipeline Companies, Contractors, and other entities.
Extensive experience in Oil and Gas Transactions, Oil and Gas, and Commercial Civil Litigation, including, but, not limited to; all aspects of Oil and Gas Litigation, representing both Operators and Mineral and Surface Owners; Surface Damages and Condemnation; Adverse Possession and Title Litigation; Deed Construction Litigation; Probate, Trust, and Guardianship Litigation; Employment Contract Litigation; Complex Contract Litigation; Patent Litigation; and Personal Injury Litigation. Worked as both Plaintiff’s and Defense Counsel, with many successful Jury Verdicts. Also represented clients in contested hearings on the Oil and Gas Docket at the Texas Railroad Commission.
Investor/swing trader focusing on U.S. onshore independent oil E&P stocks. I don’t sell or promote anything, just a man of leisure.
I invest for fun; no successful person needs to play in the markets. Mostly I spend my time outdoors – building, gardening, or just enjoying the West Virginia mountains and wildflowers.
Bob De’Long is a pen name. I’m a former hands-on manager in the petroleum and coal industries and a former university professor (professional engineer, MBA, and PhD).
I have an active (perhaps overly active) sense of humor, and I especially enjoy looking at the metaphors others use to express themselves or to cover what they don’t know or cannot express.
Independent oil E&P stocks that I follow, own and/or trade (when the price) is right are:
Whiting Petroleum (WLL)
Newfield Exploration (NFX)
Continental Resources (CLR)
EOG Resources (EOG)
SM Energy (SM)
Rosetta Recourses (ROSE)
and GPOR, PDCE, BCEI, BBG
Natural Gas E&P stocks that I follow (but may never buy again because the industry is dying) are:
EQT Corporation (EQT)
Range Recourses (RRC)
Southwestern Energy (SWN)
Ultra Petroleum (UPL)
Deltic Timber (DEL) is the only non-petroleum stock that I follow, own, and/or trade.
Stock investment appears to me more like art than science simply because what we are dealing with are nothing else but other human minds. It is this very fact that adds the majority of complexity to stock investment. Develop a thorough understanding of psychology and human nature is the first step towards success in one's investment.
Healthcare (developmental micro-cap biotech in particular) is what attracts me most. This is the sector that produces the most number of 100% gainers in any given year, and thus gives value investors the best opportunity to buy undervalued stocks that have yet to appreciate. In this particular sector, I believe 100% or more annualized return can be achieved if invest wisely (plus some luck of course). Personally, I only look at those stocks that have the potential to at least double over a twelve-month period while taking the least amount of risk.
Part of my investment philosophy is reflected in the following remarks,
re. general market
a) Mr. Market would not correct itself JUST for the purpose of correction.
b) "It truly is a market of stocks and not a stock market; therefore, the broad stock market has little to do with the performance of individuals stocks."
c) "Fear is the foe of the faddist but the friend of the fundamentalist."
d) "The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing."
e) "Doing nothing is one of the most under-appreciated skills in investing."
f) "The desire for constant action irrespective of underlying conditions is responsible for many losses in Wall Street even among the professionals, who feel that they must take home some money everyday, as though they were working for regular wages."
g) "Risk is when you don't know what you are doing."
h) "It's not what you buy. It's how much you pay for it."
i) "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
j) For true value investors, high return doesn't always come with high risk.
a) "Companies with management that engage in stock promotion mainly focused on its price per share often tend to fail in executing its core business initiatives."
re. healthcare in general
a) The beauty of stock market is in biotech; and the beauty of biotech is in nano cap.
b) "Surety in biotech, after all, is an illusion few of us can afford."
"Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation."
It is very hard or impossible to time the broad market consistently — there are no famous investors that got rich by consistently knowing what the broad market would do next. This only makes sense, as there are just too many variables in the broad market. But there are many famous investors who got rich analyzing individual securities, and this is where you should put your focus. You can get an edge in individual securities. Joe Springer was the number 1 ranked stock analyst in the world by tipranks.com, and on most days is still ranked in the top 5%. Joe is a Certified Technical Trainer, and enjoys teaching about the stock market as well as managing portfolios. If you would like to follow Joe on Twitter, his handle is @JoeSpringer.
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling glacier walls and hang gliding off tall buildings to survey the best urban party spots. I can ride my bicycle up almost any incline without slowing down—the laws of physics do not apply to me. I am a talented academic, but absent-minded: I once figured out the meaning of life, but forgot to write it down. Although not a commercial success, my book “What Your Orchestra Teacher Never Told You About Double Reed Technique: The Oboe and Bassoon Player’s Guide to Dating Beautiful Women” drew enthusiastic praise from both sexes.
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.
My investment work is strictly non-professional. I seek to maximize value by developing data-rich, bottom-up models that forecast future company performance based on prior history. I focus on companies in the energy sector that deliver value to investors through regular distributions.
Professionally, I'm an engineer with experience in statistical process analysis.
I seek to liberate investors from the chains of borrowed opinions by teaching metric awareness that leads to the formation of your own opinions. I am a retail investor that gathers, processes and analyzes significantly more data than average. I share that data in my articles. I let the data do the talking. I am only taking dictation as the data tells its message.
Jeff is a mortgage broker, published author and educator. He is a value/dividend investor who specializes in long term growth. He lives in a beautiful seaside town in BC Canada with his wife and two children.
Just a small time private investor that is currently investing in oil & gas related energy names from Canada in order to generate dividends and income in case I ever get to retire. Still trying to find those monthly dividend payers for future income.
As an Equity Analyst at a buy-side firm, I focus on researching companies within the industrial sector and materials. In this role, I am also responsible for managing research and portfolio construction for fixed interest and property portfolios.
My previous job role was as a Research Analyst in a multi-manager team at ING Investment Management. I hold a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and Economics), and have successfully completed the Level III examination of the Chartered Financial Analyst program.
I work in the natural gas industry for and I have spent the last 2-3 years researching all aspects of the the booming NGV industry. My investment horizon is typically no shorter than 3-5 years and I am currently heavily invested in NGV related companies.
Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual accelerator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Full bio can be found at http://www.sramanamitra.com/bio/