Preferring to look at the big picture, Kurt is an analyst who sees sweeping market trends before they happen. Trained in the mystical philosophies of geo-economics, he has worked with non-governmental organizations such as OPEC and the United Nations, both times receiving praise for his contributions in market analysis.
Though he sees the big picture, Kurt has also established a track record as a sharp and incisive analyst who is able to select high performance stocks both domestically and internationally.
In his spare time, he brushes up on current economic theory.
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And remember to always invest wisely.
The author is an independent stock investor interested in researching value, growth and GARP stocks from a buy and hold (but monitor) perspective. The author's sectors of interest include airlines, automobiles, banking, chemicals, oil and gas, real estate and technology.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on any articles pertaining to this account is strictly on an "as is" basis, and should not be used to make any buy/sell decisions. Please be aware that the author is not a professional financial advisor. Any investment decisions should always be made in consultation with such, and according to the risk/return objectives of the party in question. While the author makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the facts contained in each article, investors are responsible for conducting their own due diligence.
I have a background in corporate finance and M&A with over 12 years of experience advising on complex transactions across various industries. From an investment point of view, I look at deep value and special situations with defined near term catalysts where the upside outweighs the potential downside risk. I prefer to analyze small to midcap companies with a market cap of under $4bn.
Retired federal government and small business owner. Have a rental business in small town in Pa and spend my time between Mexico and central Pa. Have investments for the grand kids and enjoying life. I do not get serious about any investment but like the Pharma stocks.
I have a diverse background—as a financial journalist, resident physician, mixed martial artist, painter, entrepreneur, chemistry instructor and web developer—that enabled me to pioneer the “Integrated Investing Research” approach.
I provide consulting to clients, both the retail and professional investors. I accurately forecasted many clinical trials, such as the Flint Trials for Intercept, the Ascend Trials for InterMune and the Affinity Trials MannKind, just to name a few. Through Vincata Enterprises, LLC, I helped many clients to unlock substantial values for their investments.
As an expert in biopharmaceutical analysis, I am also more than capable of analyzing any other industries. Though not shown on Seeking Alpha, I have picked an aggregate basket of outperforming stocks.
Investing in biotech is highly risky, but it can be quite rewarding when investors have an edge in data analysis. Physicians who are rigidly scientific tend to lack the analytical prowess of financial experts. Conversely, financiers usually do not possess a physician’s medical expertise. Likewise, scientists are skillful in data analysis; yet they might not be familiar with a physician’s prescribing patterns, which is a requisite to successful biotech investing.
You can visit my website at https://www.retailinvestor360.com for business inquiry.
I spend most of my time reading through annual reports looking for a small-cap stock to feature in my monthly edition of "The Conservative Investor Digest." That is where you can find my best work, and that is where I focus my research. You can become a subscriber here: https://gumroad.com/l/HmqJx
I run the long-term investing website "The Conservative Income Investor" which can be found at: www.theconservativeincomeinvestor.com
Richard is the managing principal of QVM Group LLC, a fee-based investment advisor based in Connecticut, with clients across the country. . QVM manages portfolios uniquely designed for each client on a flat fee basis through the client’s own accounts at Schwab; and provides investment coaching to "do-it-yourself" investors on an hourly fee basis. The investment approach is based on value, asset allocation, expense control, risk management, customizing portfolios to each client's specific circumstances, and regular communication about strategy and absolute and benchmark performance. Richard's extensive experience includes serving having served as a Board Director of Phoenix Investment Counsel, a U.S. pension and mutual funds manager, now Virtus Investment Partners (New York Stock Exchange: VRTS http://www.virtus.com); as Managing Director of Phoenix American Investment in London; and as a Board Director Aberdeen Asset Management PLC in Aberdeen Scotland (London Stock Exchange: ADN http://www.aberdeen-asset.com). He has been a Trustee of a $500 million pension fund, and was a charter investor and member of the Board of Directors of several internet companies, including Lending Tree (NASDAQ: TREE http://www.lendingtree.com) prior to its IPO. He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College. QVM Group LLC is a Registered Investment Advisor. Visit the QVM Group website. (http://www.qvmgroup.com). Follow him on Twitter: @QVMinvest
Wondering how well we will be doing in the future and working towards a healthier and more responsible value based economy. As an investor, I tend to look for areas of value that exceed the monetary potential, but certainly include it. In other words stocks that provide valuable goods and services that make our lives better in the short and long term. That includes responsibility in the world community.
I have never been prosecuted on any securities-related issue, been barred from the securities industry, or convicted of a felony.
Follow @SmithOnStocks on Twitter for more updates (http://twitter.com/#SmithOnStocks
Please read this section carefully for some important disclosures.
Who Am I?
My name is Larry Smith. My career was spent on Wall Street as a biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst and also as Director of Research at Smith Barney and Hambrecht and Quist. On my website, SmithOnStocks, which can be addressed from this Seeking Alpha site, I publish articles on biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. I attempt to be objective and present a balanced view of negatives and positives. Readers should not rely on Seeking Alpha for my latest views and articles on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as informational only. The reports section of my website reflects my most current view on a stock.
How Do I Get Paid?
My only source of revenues from my articles is from subscription revenues from my website. I do not receive any compensation from companies or investor relations firms to write articles. I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity to write articles. I consider direct compensation to be cash compensation that is directly or indirectly tied to my writing articles.
I also do not receive compensation in the form of content. I believe that it is not uncommon for some writers to receive content from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity that are critical components of the articles that they write. I consider this as non-cash compensation. I do not receive advertising revenues from my website so there is no incentive to be sensational in order to create page hits. I only get paid if my subscribers believe that my articles are of value to them and they then decide to subscribe to my services.
You Should View Articles Published on Seeking Alpha as Informational Only
I want to make clear to readers that not all of the reports that I publish on my website are also published on Seeking Alpha. Also, I will sometimes make reports available on my website a significant period of time before publishing the same or a condensed version on Seeking Alpha. All of the articles that are published on Seeking Alpha and my website at the same time have consistent views and opinions. However, at a later data, it may be the case that my viewpoint and opinion may change and these changes in viewpoint and opinion may only be published in articles on my website.
For this reason, readers may want to check the reports section on my website for my current opinion on a stock and should not rely on the latest Seeking Alpha article as my viewpoint or opinion may have changed. The content on my website is intended only for subscribers, but non-subscribers can view the headlines in the reports section which in most cases but not all will announce a change in viewpoint or opinion. However, I emphasize that I undertake no obligation to update my articles on Seeking Alpha and the latest article on Seeking Alpha may not reflect my latest thinking. This is why I want to re-emphasize that any article published on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as information only.
What SmithOn Stocks is All About
SmithOnStocks is not registered as a securities broker-dealer or as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or with any state securities regulatory authority. SOS relies solely on publicly disclosed and available information. While SOS makes all reasonable efforts to confirm the accuracy of its statements and opinions, all comments should be considered only as opinion and should not be considered to be absolute fact. Investors should carefully read the Terms & Conditions and Disclosures sections of my website. Investors should carefully perform their own due diligence, seek other points of view and consult with their broker or financial advisor.
Investing in equities includes considerable risk, and investors should be prepared for the possibility of capital loss. This is particularly the case with biotechnology stocks in which hard to predict clinical and commercial outcomes can often disappoint investors and lead to unusually large declines in price. Potential investors in biotechnology stocks must often be prepared to risk the loss of substantially all of their investment. These stocks are only suitable for investors willing and able to accept unusually high financial risk. Users of my information acknowledge that SOS and its owner are not liable to any person or entity for the accuracy, thoroughness, reliability, or timeliness of the information provided. Users further acknowledge that SOS is also not responsible for any direct or indirect losses that may arise from the use of information provided to any person or entity.
Employees of SmithOnStocks or SOS do buy and sell healthcare stocks, some of which may be the subject of written articles appearing on Seeking Alpha. In the event that employees have a stock investment in a company, that ownership is fully disclosed in notes on Seeking Alpha. On any new recommendation, I have a 48 hour waiting period before initiating a position in a stock. I trade in line with my recommendations.
In 1999 I made an ethical breach that resulted in a suspension from being a registered representative in the securities industry for a period of time. I believe that this measure was harsh beyond any reasonable measure and totally unwarranted. I have gone to great lengths in this report to give my side of the story and I hope that you will read the in-depth account that I have provided. This took place over 16 years ago and has long since ended. There has been no restriction from the NYSE for many years on my working as a registered representative if I choose to go through the required registration procedures.
Still, this NYSE action is like a Scarlett letter that I carry. I would urge you to read the full account of the events that led to this NYSE action and if you do so I believe you will agree that this in no way reflects on my integrity and the way I have always conducted myself, then and now. I strongly believe that the action taken was excessive and I think that if you read my full account you will agree.
People make mistakes. Bill Clinton lied under oath, was impeached and disbarred as a lawyer in Arkansas in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair. However, society has judged him on the body of work that he has done. Suspensions in the security industry can result from serious infractions in which investors are defrauded or swindled. In the events that led to my suspension no investors lost money and as I explain in this report investors who followed my advice made significant amounts of money. Before you rush to any conclusions, let me tell you my story.
I Am Proud in How I Have Conducted My Career
Before I go into the details of this ethical breach, I want to emphasize that I have had a distinguished career on Wall Street. My record from 1971 when I started on Wall Street until 1999 was unblemished. I came to New York from Indiana with no business connections and no money but through hard work I became a highly regarded Wall Street analyst and was selected to the Institutional Investor All Star team in pharmaceuticals for ten years in a row. Based on my record as being the top or one of the top analysts at Smith Barney, I was selected to be head of research from 1981 until 1989. I also served on the Board of Directors at Smith Barney.
Based on my strong reputation, Hambrecht and Quist approached me in 1989 to head their life sciences research effort and to run the annual H&Q (now JP Morgan) healthcare conference. I was a Managing Director and on the operating committee at H&Q. I left H&Q in the late 1990s because I disliked the bureaucracy that was such an integral part of being head of research. I had made enough money to be financially secure and I wanted to get back into doing what I loved, biotechnology research. I joined Tucker Anthony in 1997 as a biotechnology analyst.
Explaining the Events That Led to the NYSE Issue
Tucker Anthony had a sister firm called Sutro and a decision was made early in 1998 to move health care research from Tucker to Sutro. Tucker was an east coast based firm and Sutro was based in Los Angeles. Sutro leased a New York office to which I moved. It was here that an unfortunate train of events was set in motion that led to the NYSE action that put a stain on what I consider an outstanding career.
When I moved from Tucker to Sutro, I maintained my brokerage accounts at Tucker. I conducted normal trading in this account for some months. Then the research administrative research manager for Sutro contacted me and said that for regulatory purposes I would have to move my account from Tucker to Sutro. After some time spent in looking for a broker to handle my account at Sutro I became frustrated. At that time, I had over $5 million in my brokerage accounts. While I was sophisticated in health care investing which made up 10% of my portfolio, I needed help with other parts of the portfolio. I could find no retail broker at Sutro that I wanted to trust my portfolio to. I asked and received approval to look for a broker outside of Sutro and contacted Schwab about finding an investment advisor there to manage my account.
While this was in process, the research administrative manager at Sutro called again and said that Sutro was probably planning to shut down the New York office and I would have to move to Los Angeles or leave the firm. Moving to Los Angeles was not an option for me as my roots were deep in New York. I informed her that given this choice I would soon be leaving Sutro rather then moving to Los Angeles and began to think about what to do. I came to the preliminary conclusion that I would start a consulting firm dealing in biotechnology. I also concluded that I would have to carefully manage my investment portfolio.
It was here that I made a major mistake that I have regretted ever since. Frustrated that my money was tied up in Tucker and I was unable to trade in my account and unable to find a broker that I trusted, I decided to open an account at Schwab without a broker managing it. I indicated on the account transfer form that I was self-employed based on the assumption that I was going to be leaving Sutro imminently. This was my Bill Clinton moment and turned out to be a major mistake.
I continued to work at Sutro while I was waiting for the New York office to be closed which I thought would be in a matter of days or weeks and during this time, I began to execute trades in my account at Schwab. However, after some weeks the research administrative manager at Sutro called and informed me that based on the response they had gotten from clients and the work that I was doing that the firm had reversed itself and now wanted to keep the office in New York and they were also willing to hire two assistants to aid me. There was also the promise of a significant bonus in the upcoming review that based on my work could amount to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Not surprisingly, I decided to stay on at Sutro instead of leaving and starting my own firm. I then looked for and finally found a Sutro broker that I could trust to help manage my portfolio. The brokerage accounts at Schwab were opened in February of 1999 and transferred to Sutro in April 1999. When I moved my accounts to Sutro the compliance department at Sutro saw that there was this hiatus when I had an unauthorized account at another firm. This was reported to NYSE.
NYSE Reviewed My Case and Took No Action for Three Years
Management at Sutro looked very closely at what had occurred and decided that while it was certainly not something they could condone, it was a minor infraction and they thought that given my stellar and unblemished record that NYSE would not take any meaningful action other than a wrist slap. Sutro decided to be pre-emptive in administering the wrist slap and fined me and suspended me for one month. They thought that this would satisfy NYSE based on their interpretation of what had occurred. They wanted me to continue with the firm, paid the sizable bonus I was due and committed to picki up all legal fees.
I then had a deposition with a lawyer from NYSE in early 2000. During a one day interview, he went over all of the details of the accounts that were held at Schwab and all of the trades that occurred in detail. He also looked at all of the reports that I had issued as an analyst during this time to compare to the trading in my account to the issuance of research reports. I then heard nothing more from the NYSE for three years.
Sutro concluded as did I that this issue was behind us. Three years later in mid-2003, I heard from NYSE to my shock that they were re-opening the case. Why after three years was the case being re-opened? In talking to the lawyers at NYSE, I came to understand that this was the result of Elliott Spitzer’s attack on Wall Street research. Remember the famous case of Henry Blodgett who recommended stocks of investment banking clients to clients that he thought were actually sales.
NYSE enforcement was under pressure because this unethical practice had been brought to light by Spitzer and they had missed it. They were under pressure to show how tough they could be as enforcers. They reviewed their records and came up with my case which they decided to reopen it in order to show that they were aggressive enforcers.
They went over the same information that had been gathered in early 2000, but came up with an entirely different interpretation. They said that I effected stock transactions shortly before issuance of research reports which I had prepared and this was a violation of Exchange Rule 472.40(2) (iii). They also said that I failed to disclose that I held securities in stocks recommended in a research report. They said that I opened accounts at a member firm that concealed fact of my employment at another member firm; violated Exchange Rule 407(b). They recommended a censure and two and one-half year suspension.
Two Stock Trades at Question
The information on opening an account at another firm is something that I just discussed at length. This was not in dispute. However, NYSE focused on two stock trades that I made and explained the suspension largely on the basis of these two trades. I believe that they were clearly wrong in their conclusions. Let me discuss those trades in detail.
The first trade was in Stericycle, a medical waste disposal company. I had been following the company for some time with a neutral rating. In my reports, I noted that the Company wanted to buy the medical waste disposal business of Waste Management and if they were successful, I would immediately go to a strong buy.
This acquisition was announced on April 14, 2009 after the close at 4 PM EST. Because it was 1 PM in Los Angeles I held a conference call with Sutro’s traders and the salesforce and told them I was going to a strong buy on the stock. It was the practice of Sutro to initiate new ideas with a conference call in this manner. The traders and sales force would then go out to the clients with the idea. After this, the analyst would follow-up by publishing a note on First Call (an electronic distribution network) and this was done on April 15 This was then followed up by a written research report on April 16. On April 16, I bought 2500 shares of the stock at a price of $12. This was accepted practice at Sutro for research analysts buying stocks that they recommended. There was no requirement to wait for a period of time to buy the stock. The analyst was allowed to buy the stock at the same time as other Sutro employees and clients
The NYSE judged my conduct on standards that were different from those that were accepted practices at Sutro. By today’s standards, the Sutro practices seem very loose but they were common at the time. This is why Sutro did not view this trade as a breach of conduct and kept me as an analyst. The NYSE also said that I did not disclose that I owned Stericycle in my written report. However, none of the analysts at Sutro were required at the time to do so. This was also standard operating procedure.
Stericycle was a major success for investors. Adjusting for stock splits the stock traded at about $3.00 when I first recommended it. Fifteen years later, the stock is trading at about $119. This was one of my best recommendations ever. I held the Stericycle stock for many years and only sold it recently.
The NYSE did not accept that my actions were in line with the practices of Sutro even though I produced a letter to that effect from the research administrative officer. I also argued that a $30,000 investment in a portfolio that amounted to $5 million at the time was de minimus. I argued that the stock was bought and maintained as a long term investment. I argued that it was an excellent money making idea for investors. The NYSE dismissed all of these arguments and maintained that I traded ahead of my recommendation.
The second trade that the NYSE emphasized was a trade in Schering Plough. On April 18, the stock had traded down by 5%. I had an accumulate rating on the stock essentially telling investors to buy the stock for the long term, but connoting less emphasis than a buy. In the morning call to traders and salesmen, I alerted them to the price weakness, but told them there was no change in the fundamental outlook and there was no change in my price target. I was not intending to issue a report, but the research administrative manager told me that the price drop in Schering Plough based on my price target indicated 25% upside that was the accepted criteria for a buy recommendation. Hence, I needed to put out a report in which I upgraded my opinion from accumulate to buy.
I bought the stock on April 20 at the same time as the written report was issued. I previously owned 500 shares and this increased my position to 1000 shares for a total investment of about $35,000 which again was within a $5 million portfolio. The NYSE again accused me of the same things as in the Stericycle situation. They said that I traded ahead of my recommendation and did not disclose that I owned the stock. My responses were the same as for Stericycle and were once again rejected.
Was The NYSE Action Justified?
I think that the NYSE action was out of all proportion to what actually transpired. I think the enforcement officers applied new standards in overturning the prior decision to take no action on this case that had been in effect for three years. They were under pressure to make a big splash in the Elliot Spitzer era to show how tough they were. My recommendations were solid recommendations and indeed the Stericycle recommendation was outstanding.
I fully recognize that my decision to open the brokerage account at Schwab prior to resigning from Sutro was an ethical breach on my part even if I was planning to resign from Sutro. When I decided to stay with Sutro, I transferred my accounts immediately. I strongly and absolutely maintain that my trading in Schering-Plough and Stericycle was in accordance with policies in place at Sutro at the time. By today’s standards these seem loose, but this was common industry practice at the time.
The NYSE review was conducted by a mediator and it was he that determined the punishment. He had spent his entire career as an enforcement officer for the NYSE. He was also friends with the NYSE lawyers on my case and sent out to lunch with them during the hearing. He was the judge, jury and executioner of my fate. As I look back, I question his objectivity and motives. In writing his opinion, he did not acknowledge documents from Sutro that showed that my stock trading disclosures were in-line with their internal procedures. I had no opportunity to review or correct his opinion in the opinion he wrote. In a country in which, guilt or innocence is established by one’s peers, mine was determined by a hanging judge with no experience in the securities business and an apparent pre-determined view on my actions.
I retired in 2005 at the age of 64. I live in Santa Rosa, CA. My pension and Social Security benefits cover my needs. In May of 2010, I decided to take over managing my securities. Being a novice, I struggled the first year. In 2012, I found SA and the Dividends & Income section. The articles have been invaluable. I value the authors and the many who comment (some more than others). My investment style has evolved to be a total return investor. My goal is to seek a total return of 10.3% annually. My credo about money is to spend some, save some and give some away. My belief about life is to be of service. Thus, I volunteer at the Ceres Project where I deliver meals to those who are undergoing cancer treatment, at the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa, where I sing in the choir as a baritone/bass and I help with my two grand sons. My icon is the Chinese character for Snake representing the year I was born under the Chinese Zodiac. My username Hoisan is the area in China where my father and mother were born.
I worked in New York's financial sector for almost exactly 20 years, mostly as a healthcare analyst (drugs, biotech, and medical devices), but also as an assistant research director, portfolio manager, and options strategist. My last formal job had me in charge of Value Line's premium priced "Select" and "Special Situation" products. The former highlights the company's top stock pick of each month and the latter introduces relatively small companies. I quit that job in June, 2009 for reasons that a dozen or so confidentiality agreements preclude my discussing. In September of that year, I launched 3DimensionalResearch.com (3DR), which allows me to continue doing what I was doing previously.
I am a strong believer in maximum transparency, in both personal and business relationships. So, in that vein:
A google search will show that my former employer sued 3DR and me in November, 2009 for copyright infringement, hot news misappropriations, and the proverbial kitchen sink. Although a search won't show this, unfortunately, I represented myself in a federal courtroom in December and, in accordance with the judge's instructions, the case was settled in a matter of minutes.
Additional Disclosure: 3DR has been a financial failure thus far, in terms of getting subscribers. I detest marketing and few people want to pay for information anymore, least of all from a no-name website. That said, the vast majority of my recommendations have done very well and my personal portfolio is doing extraordinarily well (65.5% in 2013) since I tend to follow most of my own recommendations, the "event driven special situations," in particular.
I am an experienced businessman and entrepreneur from an early age. My trajectory went from hauling wheeled carts of printer parts thru the streets of Philly and up cargo elevators. To key managerial roles within the financial industry 'complex'. My Start in the Financial world was in 1998. I've always been told, and have been, a 'thought leader' within my circles since the age of 7. From whiffle ball in the alley to seriously impactful business situations. Executive level Corporate Business Development, Sales Strategies via Key Strategic Relationships, Service Teams. Synergies. Particularly well rounded within the financial sector, from the phones straight up into roles including the most challenging industry topics. I am Degreed within the 'Media Tech' Complex, or 'B&C;Communications, Media, Telco' with a Business Minor specifically focused within these exact 'Communications' sectors. And did a stint in Italy traveling with professors from Temple University to Yale. This was focused around Art & Architcture; History & Printmaking, truly cannot leave that fact out. It has shaped my life to this very day, including post study travels across the world. Living abroad young opens your mind and the characters met along the way are never forgotten. Did it right...
Family runs a 55 year old TPA. This means the most detailed guidance & administration for your 401k plan document itself. The rules and regulations mandated et al. Pension Administration & Record Keeping Services. Our family firm has thrived/survived as an 80% consolidation within the market has dominated these days. Per Example; Ascensus, Paychecks or ADP.
We focus in person, can work nationwide. and seriously at fractional costs compared to anyone else we know of. In fact, we have survived because of this philosophy. Other TPA firms and related professionals send us work! This advanced consulting for smaller Businesses, Owners from doctors to attorneys, landscapers and non profits has certainly influenced my well rounded views of the markets. The cherished SMB plan administration sector. Hundreds if not thousands of business owners and Financial Professionals, Accountants and the IRS, over time. Why? We are a non producing TPA; meaning Advisors seek us out, as their TPA of choice to provide IRS mandates for plan design templates and further guide them with the massive amount of rules and regs, behind the scenes. Meaning, they will have time to seek out more business partners come audit season to advise correctly, ethically and to the letters of law. We can be and often are present at the long sales process to explain the always changing IRS and DOL rules; yet we do not pick investment options. The owner/FA does. No conflicts at all.
Other past work includes help in the designing, build and rolling out of Nationally Sold financial products. Creating and managing revenue generating marketing campaigns, with complete ownership of the related accounts. I have worked with and co-managed wholesalers nationwide, working with the best from all firms imagined. From full firm CE conference calls to executive retreats. Representing our well known Chief Economists, Gerontologists, Actuarial Geniuses, even Celebrities of many stripes for speaking slots at meetings, executive boards, management teams. Yes, the conference and key accounts circuit and 'believe me' all related experiences. I am well traveled, currently residing outside Philadelphia with my incredible family and am a proud father. A passionate musical and media fan, and family. I also play Dejembe and percussion 'in a band' called Mama Mac! She is a multi nominated musician including the Grammy Awards. If you read all of this, thank you. Message me. JBg