I hold a PhD in the field of epidemiology a masters degree in public health. My undergraduate training is in policy, economics and the sciences. I have utilized my training in employment with government, academia, private industry and to further analyze the fundamentals and technicals of all manner of companies in different sectors. Specifically, I like to trade growth companies, REITS, biotechnology/ pharmaceuticals, precious metals, blue chips and small-cap companies.
Each market day I get up at 530 am and begin working/analyzing data before my day job. I focus much on current events, earnings, and developments. I also work after market hours to cover after hours developments or interesting action during the day. I aim to conduct 2 analysis per business day, which helps me stay focused on my own finances.
I have been investing for about 10 years. I also enjoy trading short expiration options, and investing in stocks with 3-20 year horizons. I enjoy writing with Seeking Alpha to share my opinion and analyses. I am a large believer in the crowd source model championed by Seeking Alpha and believe every ounce of analysis and opinion should be considered when you invest your personal finances.
Daniel is currently the manager of Avaring Capital Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor that oversees one hedge fund. His primary focus is on finding businesses that are trading at a significant discount to their intrinsic value by employing a combination of Benjamin Graham's investment philosophy and a contrarian approach to the market and the securities therein.
I am a former Investment and Commercial Banker with over 30 years experience in the field. I have been advising both individuals and institutional clients on high-yield investment strategies since 1991. As author of “High Dividend Opportunities”, a premium subscription service at Seeking Alpha, my objective is to bring investors the most profitable and newest high dividend ideas, with special focus on the Energy sector. The service includes an actively managed model Portfolio targeting an overall dividend yield of 6-9% in addition to long-term capital gains. My research aims to maximize returns by identifying undervalued securities in the High Yield space.
In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant CPA from the State of Arizona, I hold a BS Degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Masters degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona). I am also a Certified Mortgage Advisor CEMAP, a UK certification. My Research and Articles have been featured on Seeking Alpha, Investing.com, ETFdailynews, and on FXEmpire.
For more information on how to subscribe to “High Dividend Opportunities” and gain exclusive access to the portfolio, live alerts and market commentaries, check the post: Introduction to “High Dividend Opportunities” on my Instablog or just email me at email@example.com .
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.
I have more than 10 years experience investing in commodities and hard assets such as gold and silver miners, exploration companies, oil and gas producers, MLPs, and various other sectors.
Wall Street Breakfast, Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, is a one-page summary that gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It's designed for easy readability on the site or by email (including on mobile devices), and is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day.
Wall Street Breakfast readership of over 900,000 includes many from the investment-banking and fund-management industries.
Sign up here to receive the Wall Street Breakfast in your inbox every business day: http://seekingalpha.com/account/email_preferences
Richard Zeits is an Oil & Gas industry analyst and consultant. His background includes fourteen years as Energy industry-focused investment banker, portfolio manager and senior investment analyst with bulge bracket firms in New York. Zeits Energy Analytics use elaborate proprietary analytics and data bases to provide in-depth industry research, market intelligence, and forecasting.
I am a retired global analyst, currently busy in investing and writing articles about stocks at several investing publications and websites. I have also developed strategies for creating winning portfolios according to specific formulas.
In January 2015, I was ranked among the world’s top 10 financial bloggers according to TipRanks, which holds financial experts accountable for their recommendations by disclosing their stock ratings since 2009:
Value Digger holds MSc. in Electrical Engineering, speaks four languages and has lived in the U.S. for many years. Also, he is a full-time investor and a freelance writer with one of the highest Followers per Article (F/A) rates in Seeking Alpha. His F/A rate in Seeking Alpha is above 30.
After creating "Nathan's Bulletin" (a subscription-based investment guide for investors who can't afford a financial advisor), Value Digger launched a subscription-based Premium Service in Seeking Alpha entitled "A Fundamental Investor's Stock Club" which includes an unparalleled, actively-managed and high-return Portfolio of unknown and/or underfollowed stocks. Regularly updated and detailed lists in his Premium Posts PROVE these high returns. For reference, when Value Digger was managing money in the early 2000s, his Portfolio's annual ROI consistently exceeded 50%. His Premium Research is based on a comprehensive review of company-specific factors, macro conditions, competitors and the industry trends.
When it comes to his publicly-available picks and his free Seeking Alpha articles, Value Digger is ranked in the TOP-50 with a success rate of over 80%, an average return per recommendation of over 30% and a 5-star rating according to TipRanks.com, which is the highest category quality ranking used to evaluate financial experts. TipRanks.com is a comprehensive investing tool that allows private investors and day traders to see the measured performance of anyone who publicly provides financial advice. TipRanks.com collects data, evaluates and ranks 9,000 financial experts worldwide.
After almost 30 years of investing experience in the international markets (U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe), Value Digger has formulated a deep understanding of valuation analysis and his investment philosophy is firmly grounded in Ben Graham-style value-oriented opportunities that often have an assymetric risk/reward profile. On that front, he has created a unique proprietary database with thousands of publicly-traded companies per sector, which helps him spot the bargains and the bubbles before many investors find them.
Avi Gilburt is a lawyer and accountant by training. He formerly was a partner and National Director at a national firm.
Mr. Gilburt is also the Managing Member of Gilburt Financial Services, LLC, which provides:
- Financial market analysis to the public through ElliottWaveTrader.net;
- Elliott Wave market analysis to institutional clients;
- Specific stock analysis to retail clients; and
- Webinars and personal coaching on Elliott Wave analysis.
He is also the Managing Member of the of the consulting firm of Gilburt & Associates, LLC, which specializes in transaction structuring and tax services.
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
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/)
GuruFundPicks.com offers top buy & sell picks based on the collective or Consensus Picks' of over 330 of our hand-picked top hedge & mutual fund managers, incl. 78 legendary or guru fund managers, 27 of the world's largest or mega funds, 165 sector-focused funds (in gold, biotech, tech, energy, consumer, finance & REITs), 59 billionaires, 54 new masters and 40 tiger, 52 shareholder activist and our Winners Circle Top 100 Performing Hedge Fund Managers (updated quarterly). We offer market-beating tools and services including Consensus Picks' DIY Tools, Top 20 Small-Cap and Top 30 All-Cap Long/Short Newsletters based on the Consensus Picks system, and Trade Alert Services for Self & Auto-Trading. All of our services have beaten market averages by wide margins. See our website GuruFundPicks.com for the latest performance numbers, or contact us at support@GuruFundPicks.com.
The two authors are co-managers of a family partnership long/short equity fund since 2001, that have a successful track record in trading primarily small-cap aggressive growth companies based on a fundamental valuation analysis of current news, including quarter reports, guidance, biotech clinical study results and other news. The junior partner is a self-taught private investor with a Business degree from the New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business and the senior partner has an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, including prior MS & BS (Engg.) degrees, and with experience in business strategy consulting to large fortune 100 companies.
We are generally sector and market-cap agnostic, identifying opportunities using a 'stock picking' bottom-up, fundamentals-based, valuation-driven approach. However, we find most opportunities in the small-cap space, in technology & healthcare sectors, with some also found often in the consumer, energy & basic materials sectors.
Follow us on Seeking Alpha and Twitter (@GuruFundPicks), and connect with us on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/manishbabla)
I am interested in finding deep value ideas and sharing the findings of my due diligence with readers to encourage a healthy level of discussion. All material in my articles or posts represent my own personal views only. None of my content constitutes any recommendation, financial/investment advice, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities. No warranty of accuracy, timeliness, or completeness is given. Reliance upon my content is at the sole discretion of the reader.
StockMatusow.com Writers are:
Scott Matusow; Team Leader, owner and founder of StockMatusow.com.
Scott is an independent investor/writer/trader and team leader of StockMatusow.com.
He has have about fifteen years of stock market experience which include trading, investing, and managing his family’s trust as well as his personal account.
Scott has had the most success in trading/investing in smaller cap growth companies. Because Scott is not 'officially trained' in the markets, he see things 'outside the box.' Scott uses his ability to read situations and emotion, charts, times and sales, historical data, and macroeconomic and other market forces to predict stock price movements. Using these allowed for him to completely divest his own and family's money near the top of the market before the 2008 financial crisis.
Scott has his own online talk show which can be heard at www.scottmatusow.com/radio .
During market hours, we engage in talk about Stocks and Politics. After hours, Scott engages in a variety of talk issues from Poker, Sports, Politics, Current Events and whatever the chat room people wish to talk about.
Other places you can follow Scott are:
Kyle Dennis; writer, analyst, trader, website design, and team member of Stockmatusow.com.
Kyle has a Biology degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and specializes in trading the biotechnology sector.
Kyle has extensive experience in researching, writing, and editing articles that have been published in scientific journals. He uses these experiences to write and comment about the potential of various biotechnology companies. Kyle specializes in evaluating trial success, drug potential, and market valuations.
As an investor/trader, Kyle likes to focus on chart analysis and investor/trader sentiment to identify good entry and exit points.
Kyle can also be followed at www.twitter.com/kylewdennis @kylewdennis
Michael Kovar; writer, editor, investor, trader and team member of stockmatusow.com
Michael has spent over ten years in financial roles with companies large and small. Recently, he spent time in a consulting role with Thomson Reuters legal headquarters in Eagan, MN. He currently works in an analyst position with a healthcare organization. Since 2011, Michael has worked with Scott Matusow to help research and edit articles for Stockmatusow.com.
Michael can be followed at www.twitter.com/MMK_3399 @MMK_3399
PropThink is an intelligence service that delivers long and short trading ideas to investors in the healthcare and life sciences sectors. Our Editorial Team is comprised of individuals with a strong background in science, medicine and the business of successfully commercializing therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare services. Our ultimate objective is to leverage the knowledge, experience, and relationships of our contributors to introduce our subscribers to profitable long and short investment opportunities in the healthcare sector.
Successfully trading, and investing in emerging growth healthcare companies is a difficult task. Over 90% of drugs never make it out of the clinic. Huge capital requirements along the way result in highly dilutive equity financings often done on the backs of retail investors. At PropThink, we believe that due diligence is the key to success in this industry. We leverage a combined 50 years of experience in science, medicine, legal, regulatory affairs, finance, and operational industry experience to analyze companies at a highly technical level. This detailed analysis and due diligence process defines our editorial strategy and provides our subscribers a high level of confidence in our research. Our focus is on identifying and analyzing technically-complicated companies and equities that are grossly over or under-valued.
Visit PropThink.com to see all of our coverage and research, and subscribe to our free newsletter to receive reports, articles, and trading alerts.
The Life Sciences Report features leading investment coverage of the life sciences sector, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, tools & diagnostics, and medical devices. A Streetwise Reports publication. www.TheLifeSciencesReport.com
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.
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I am an independent trader and investor seeking opportunities in energy, deep value, distressed and turnaround plays. I also invest in growth when I see a sustainable long term trend in certain stocks or sectors.
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