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Trained as a scientific programmer, I worked on war game software for NORAD (North American Air Defense) and statistical software for Abbott Labs. For most of my 40-year career developed and sold financial and accounting software.
Was principal or founder of 3 small (5-30 employees) software companies.
Wrote a book on public pensions and a play that won an award in Writer Digest Magazine's annual writers competition, a contest that draws over 10,000 entries a year.
Cliff Wachtel, CPA, is currently the Director of Market Research, New Media and Training for Caesartrade.com, a fast growing forex and CFD broker. He covers a variety of topics including global market drivers, forex, currency hedged and diversified income investing, and is currently working on a unique project related to that asset class - MLPs.
He is also the author of The Sensible Guide To Forex, and publisher of thesensibleguidetoforex.com. Both the book and website are uniquely dedicated to providing safer, simpler ways for active traders and passive long term income investors to use forex markets to diversify out of currencies like the USD, EUR, JPY, and others that are being debased by central bank policies, and so hedge currency risk and boost returns.
Since the Great Financial Crisis began in 2007, Cliff was among the first financial writers to focus on stocks that provide steady, high yields currency diversification for insurance against currencies being steadily devalued. Articles focus on both top income stocks for exposure to multiple quality currencies, and safer, simpler less demanding types of longer term forex trades than commonly covered on other forex sites.
He also posts a variety of articles on topics ranging from weekly strategic global market analysis, conservative forex trading, assorted special reports, currency diversified income investing, binary options, and trader training articles via multiple websites. His home sites include: globalmarkets.anyoption.com, thesensibleguidetoforex.com, caesartrade.com, globalmarkets.com, and others. Most can also be found at leading financial websites like seekingalpha.com, businessinsider.com, and forex sites like forexfactory.com and fxstreet.com. His work is regularly translated into numerous languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish and Russian, Arabic, German, and Chinese, often with his express knowledge and permission!
He has appeared in a variety of offline publications including Forex Journal, and John Nyaradi’s book, Super Sectors, in which he was interviewed along with other market experts like Jim Rodgers, Dr.Marc Faber, John Mauldin, Robert Prechter, and Tom Lydon.
Prior to his current positions, he was Chief Analyst at avafx.com, and a 30+ year financial market veteran as investor, trader, writer, analyst and advisor to private clients and institutions. He attended Vassar College and Cornell University, and is a certified public accountant.
He’s married with 5 children and lives in Jerusalem, Israel, where he can follow Asian markets in the early morning, Europe through the workday, and the Americas at night.
Zacks.com brings the decades of study and stock picking expertise of Zacks Investment Research to individual investors. Now, you don't to be an investment bank or brokerage firm to get the professional power of Zacks' research. It's all available on Zacks.com. Learn more about Zacks' history and company below.
At Valuentum, we think the best opportunities arise from a complete understanding of all investing disciplines in order to identify the most attractive stocks at any given time. Valuentum therefore analyzes each stock across a wide spectrum of philosophies, from deep value through momentum investing. We think companies that are attractive from a number of investment perspectives--whether it be growth, value, momentum, etc.--have the greatest probability of capital appreciation and relative outperformance. The more investors that are interested in the stock for reasons based on their respective investment mandates, the more likely it will move higher.
Brian Nelson is the President of Equity Research at Valuentum Securities, an investment research firm serving individual and institutional investors, as well as financial advisors. Before founding Valuentum, Mr. Nelson worked as a director at Morningstar, where he was responsible for training and methodology development within the firm's equity and credit research department. Prior to that position, he served as a senior industrials securities analyst, covering aerospace, airlines, construction and environmental services companies. Before joining Morningstar in February 2006, Mr. Nelson worked for a small capitalization fund covering a variety of sectors for an aggressive growth investment management firm in Chicago. He holds a Bachelor's degree in finance and a minor in mathematics, magna cum laude, from Benedictine University. Mr. Nelson has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
Get to Know Brian:
Brian led the charge in developing Morningstar's issuer credit ratings, developing and rolling-out one of the firm's proprietary credit metrics, the Cash Flow Cushion. http://select.morningstar.com/welcome/credit/pdfs/Morningstar_CashFlowCushion.pdf
Brian is frequently quoted in the media and has been a frequent guest on Nightly Business Report, Bloomberg TV, and the Money Show.
Mr. Nelson is very experienced in valuing equities, developing Morningstar's discounted cash-flow model used to derive the fair value estimates for the company's entire equity coverage universe.
Brian worked on a small cap fund and a micro cap fund that were ranked within the top 10th percentile and top 1st percentile within the Small Cap Lipper Growth Universe, respectively, in 2005.
Mr. Nelson is also a contributor to Seeking Alpha and an opinion leader in the Industrial Goods space.
You can reach Brian at email@example.com.
Please read our Disclaimer that applies to all articles published on Seeking Alpha: http://www.valuentum.com/categories/20110613
Follow us on Twitter: @Valuentum
The writer is a long term value investor and M.Sc graduate in Financial Markets with over 10 years experience. Value can be found in both long and short ideas and uses options to enhance the risk-return profile of investment ideas.
Disclaimer: This article provides opinions and information, but does not contain recommendations or personal investment advice to any specific person for any particular purpose. Do your own research or obtain suitable personal advice.
FROM INSIDE SILICON VALLEY: Sorting the truth or likely truth from the noise is a key attribute of the successful investor. My commentary is a distillation of some of this effort relative to particular stocks and investment areas. My publishing at this point in time is limited to the blogsphere, Stocktwits as a Tweeter (@RobertinGatos), and Seeking Alpha posts as both an author (one article and trying to find time for more) and frequent commentator. I have no doubt that this truth seeking effort has been a great aid in my own efforts to be a successful high tech stock investor, which now goes back over 30 years.
Professionally, I was an Engineering Manager in two pioneering Silicon Valley high technology companies, Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor. Some will recall that Fairchild was formed by the group that William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor of Bell Labs fame. had brought together at Shockley Labs to commercialize this device. I joined Fairchild Semiconductor R&D Labs in Palo Alto in 1973. It was at the time affectionately called "Fairchild Tech" due to its propensity to create spinoffs including National Semiconductor, AMD and Intel.
I joined Intel in in 1977 as Manager of their Analytical Lab start up and retired from Intel's senior management ranks in 1998. I joined a startup called Metara as a BOD member and ultimately as VP and Chief Technology Officer. I facilitated the generation of 17 automated mass spectrometry patents and became an expert on analytical technology patents as a result. I retired a second time in 2006 due to the fact that Metara ran out of capital before the first product was fully debugged. Venture caps can be fickle people.
Through out this time, I was surrounded by high tech business activity including management and ultimately startup financing. I stayed familiar with the high tech business press throughout this time and attended relevant Silicon Valley events including many Valley technology investment conferences and shareholder meetings beginning well before the Santa Clara Valley area was called Silicon Valley.
My start as a high tech investor occurred in 1981 when my first Intel stock options became exercisable. I used margin to exercise, buy and hold my Intel stock while I added margin to buy companies like MSFT, CSCO, ORCL, JDSU, SUNW and QCOM from the 80's forward. Needless to say the returns were outstanding. I had the luck of being exposed to long term LEAP call investing by a follow Intel manager and used this technique as additional leverage for most of my tech investments since the very beginning.
I used to love to bet against Merrill Lynch'sTom Kurlak who was known as THE Intel analyst of the time. He would make a negative call on Intel that I knew was way off the mark and use this opportunity for entry into my next set of Intel LEAP calls. That taught me to take advantage of Wall Street whenever possible rather than be their victim.
My original investment specialty was tech stocks however I have expanded my expertise in many key sectors. I follow high tech trends and business activity on a daily basis. I have added Financials to this tracking in particular since the bad behavior of the Investment Banks and now regular Banks (derivatives and lending practices) has led to multiple ugly stock market crashes. Notable examples include the crash of 2008 and the 2000 dot.com bubble with more yet to come, at least in the absence of better regulation.
I am a firm believer in understanding the business model, the business fundamentals and competitive environment for any company that I invest in. I look for competent management and high performance financials that demonstrate a strong possibility of on-going earnings and revenue growth. I read CEO pronouncements with my competence and BS detector on high (for example Ballmer pegs both needles - I'll let you guess which end of the scales). Drilling into a company’s financial fundamentals is a downstream step. Excessive debt is a red flag even if it is for so called good reason -- it limits company margins and business options, and can be representative a poofly performing business segment a company is in. I avoid those kinds of businesses in spite of what may be labeled as strong positive cash flow. Debt leads to sluggish earnings growth and limits company flexibility. It can also lead to ugly surprises, stock dilution for example. Technology company stock buybacks leave me cold. If they cannot make more money by growing their own business with the money, they will flatline or worse.
When the opportunity permits, I try to be ready to buy good companies that I believe have been beaten up inappropriately or are under appreciated (the Tom Kurlak example). I also try to buy companies that I know and understand inside and out or work on getting to there if I invest. Fewer companies,
Core Equity Research (CER) is a boutique equity research firm, with a primary focus on the North American market. CER provides investment research to individual and institutional investors all around the globe. Core Equity Research brings together the experience and skills of seasoned finance professionals. Core Equity Research has an impactful combination of asset managers, financial advisors, research professionals, hedge fund and private equity personnel that can provide an impeccable insight on the stock market, justified stock price movements and realistic bets to gain value from the event - driven strategies. CER reaches out to the investors, with its best research team, to advise and assist in unlocking hidden alpha return and risk reduction strategies.
I focus on investments in the oil & gas sector with an eye for dividend income and long-term capital appreciation. I typically allocate a portion of my own portfolio and devote some of my Seeking Alpha articles to small and medium sized companies offering compelling risk/reward propositions.
I am an engineer, not a qualified investment advisor. While the information and data presented in this article were obtained from company documents and/or sources believed to be reliable, they have not been independently verified. Therefore, I cannot guarantee its accuracy. I advise investors conduct their own research and/or consult a qualified investment advisor. I explicitly disclaim any liability that may arise from investment decisions you make based on this article. Thanks for reading and I wish you much success – Michael Fitzsimmons.
I graduated from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY in May 2012. While there, I majored in Finance and achieved a 4.0 GPA. Also, I was the Valedictorian of my class. I am attending Canisius College for my MBA with a concentration in Global Supply Chain Management, and will graduate with this in May 2013.
Our small-cap hedge fund strategy beat the market by 44 percentage points since its inception 18 months ago. Visit our website to learn how you can do the same. Insider Monkey is a finance website that provides free hedge fund and insider trading data. We believe ordinary investors can beat the market by imitating insiders and best hedge fund managers. They have access to better information and experts than ordinary investors do. Take advantage of the SEC filings where hedge funds and insiders disclose their stock transactions.
Here is our team:
Ms. Krishnamsetty is the Editor of Insider Monkey. Prior to creating Insider Monkey with Dr. Dogan, Ms. Krishnamsetty was Associate Producer at Bloomberg Television. Prior to that, Ms. Krishnamsetty was on the afternoon news team at CNBC. Additionally, Ms. Krishnamsetty reported for NPR and worked as a risk management consultant at Marsh & McLennan. Ms. Krishnamsetty has a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Insider Monkey’s hybrid evaluation system ...More was created in 2003 by Dr. Ian Dogan. Dr. Dogan has a Ph.D. in financial economics with a specialization in insider trading. Dr. Dogan has provided consulting services to institutional investors and hedge funds, and managed a $200+ million fund using a strategy he developed utilizing insider transactions. Dr. Dogan recently authored the insider trading chapter of soon to be published “The Handbook of Investment Anomalies” by Zacks Investment Research. Insider Monkey will serve the outcome of the methodologies developed by Dr. Dogan to ordinary investors who don’t have access to academic quality research and tools to shape their investments.
For your inquiries please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Steve Percoco founded Lark Research as an independent provider of investment research in 1991. He has been the publisher of the Income Builder newsletter since 2001. He is a generalist, but focuses on several key sectors, including housing (and the homebuilders), real estate, utilities (electric, water and gas), telecommunications, energy and technology. Lark Research also offers institutional research services, including company and sector reports and market commentary.
Steve is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. From 1994-2004, he chaired NYSSA’s Committee for Improved Corporate Reporting. From 1996-2002, he served on NYSSA’s Board of Directors. He received the Society’s Volunteer-of-the-Year award in 1995, 1996, 2001 and 2002.
Prior to founding Lark Research, Steve was Vice President in the High Yield Corporate Bond Research Department at Salomon Brothers (1987-1990) and investment officer at Bank of Boston (1983-1987).
From 1994 to 2010, Steve chaired the Springfield NJ Investor Education Group of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). He served as a member of the FASB’s User Advisory Council from 2004 to 2006.
Steve is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Business School.
Author of the value investing newsletter detailing the formation of the "Punch Card Portfolio" (http://valueinvestorcanada.blogspot.com/). Devon Shire is an accountant and an investor with 15 years experience managing a private portfolio. Devon Shire's preferred portfolio management style is a concentrated approach, investing only when finding opportunities that offer a sufficient discount to the intrinsic value of a business. Devon can be contacted at email@example.com.
I founded Seeking Alpha, and lead it for its first 10 years until I passed the CEO role to Eli Hoffmann. I started Seeking Alpha after working for five years as a technology research analyst for Morgan Stanley in New York. Seeking Alpha is now the dominant crowdsourced equity research platform.
I wrote the ETF Investment Guide (http://seekingalpha.com/article/15136-etf-investing-guide-one-page-summary-of-the-entire-guide), and I blog about startup best practices at http://davidjaxon.wordpress.com .
I have a B.A from Oxford University and an MSc from The London School of Economics, and am married with five children.
Ashraf Eassa is a technology specialist with The Motley Fool. He writes mostly about technology stocks, but is especially interested in anything related to chips -- the semiconductor kind, that is.
Dr. John Hussman is the president and principal shareholder of Hussman Econometrics Advisors, the investment advisory firm that manages the Hussman Funds ( http://www.hussmanfunds.com). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University, and a Masters degree in education and social policy and a bachelors degree in economics from Northwestern University. Prior to managing the Hussman Funds, Dr. Hussman was a professor of economics and international finance at the University of Michigan. In the mid-1980's, Dr Hussman worked as an options mathematician for Peters & Company at the Chicago Board of Trade, and in 1988 began publishing the Hussman Econometrics newsletter. Virtually all of Dr. Hussman's liquid assets are invested in the Hussman Funds.
Note: Dr. Hussman is not an active contributor to Seeking Alpha; rather, SA editors excerpt regularly from Dr. Hussman's public commentary.
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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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.
I began my professional career as a capital markets lawyer at the New York firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. In 2010, I returned to Notre Dame (’05 undergrad) for my MBA and graduated ('12) with an Investments concentration. I currently work as an equity analyst for an asset manager.
Please feel free to connect with me here or elsewhere--my linkedin profile is below:
I am a Portuguese independent trader, analyst and algorithmic trading expert, having worked for both sell side (brokerage) and buy side (fund management) institutions.
I've been trading professionally for about 20 years and also launched www.thinkfn.com in 2004. Thinkfn (Think Finance) carries thousands of educational articles on finance and the markets.
I trade futures, stocks from the long and short side, forex and options. I trade both discretionary and fully automated systems (Metatrader, Quantshare and others).
I can be reached at paulo.santosATthinkfn.com or followed on Twitter at twitter.com/ThinkFinance999
I am a market enthusiast and part-time trader. I started writing for Seeking Alpha in 2011, and it has been a tremendous opportunity and learning experience. I have been interested in the markets since elementary school, and hope to pursue a career in the investment management industry. I have been active in the markets for several years, and am primarily focused on long/short equities.
I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree from Lehigh University, where I double majored in Finance and Accounting, with a minor in History. My major track focused on Investments and Financial Analysis. While at Lehigh, I was the Head Portfolio Manager of the Investment Management Group, a student group that manages three portfolios, one long/short and two long only. I have had two internships, one a summer internship at a large bank, and another helping to manage the Lehigh University Endowment for nearly a year.
Disclaimer: Bill reminds investors to always due their own due diligence on any investment, and to consult their own financial adviser or representative when necessary. Any material provided is intended as general information only, and should not be considered or relied upon as a formal investment recommendation.
Nothing I write should be considered investment advice. Only you can decide if any specific financial asset, security, allocation, opinion, idea, etc. is best for your financial portfolio.
Author of two books, available here, Options Strategies Every Investor Should Know and The 5 Fundamentals of Building a Retirement Portfolio (both available in paperback and eBook).
Philstockworld.com is the fastest growing stock and option newsletter on the Web. "High Finance for Real People - Fun and Profits" is our motto and our Basic and Premium Chat Sessions offer readers a chance to speak to Phil live during the trading day as well as authors like Optrader, Sabrient, Income Trader and Trend Trader - who send out Alerts during the market sessions and discuss trade ideas live with Members.
We even have a new low-cost "Trend Watcher" Membership that lets readers view our chat sessions without directly participating a great solution for people who want to test-drive the site and profit from our experience! Trend Watchers get to view all of our Chat Archives, weekly Webinars - as well as the amazing PSW Wiki, which gives you Phil's recent opinions and trade ideas as well as technical and fundamental analysis of hundreds of stocks that we follow.
Philip R. Davis is a founder of Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com), a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders. Mr. Davis is a serial entrepreneur, having founded software company Accu-Title, a real estate title insurance software solution, and is also the President of the Delphi Consulting Corp., an M&A consulting firm that helps large and small companies obtain funding and close deals. He was also the founder of Accu-Search, a property data corporation that was sold to DataTrace in 2004 and Personality Plus, a precursor to eHarmony.com. Phil was a former editor of a UMass/Amherst humor magazine and it shows in his writing -- which is filled with colorful commentary along with very specific ideas on stock option purchases (Phil rarely holds actual stocks).
Visit: Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com)
Market Blog is a daily compendium of market news and analysis. You can find the blog at GlobeandMail.com, the website of Canada's national newspaper The Globe & Mail, or at The Globe's investment website, Globe Investor.
Market Blog is primarily written by David Berman. He has has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He began his career at Canadian Business magazine, where he wrote full-length features on a range of topics, from goose slaughterers to broadcasters. Later, he moved to MoneySense magazine, where his emphasis turned to investing. More recently, he worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist. He has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and studied journalism at Ryerson University.
David Parkinson has been covering business and financial markets since 1990, and has been with The Globe and Mail since 2000. A Calgary native, he received a Southam Fellowship from the University of Toronto in 1999-2000, studying international political economics.
Simon Avery has covered telecom and technology for the Globe since 2004. Previously, he was a staff reporter for The Associated Press in Los Angeles and for The Wall Street Journal in San Francisco. He covered the boom and bust in Silicon Valley for the Financial Post between 1998 and 2001. Mr. Avery holds a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from the University of Western Ontario.
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
John Petersen is executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a company that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 25 to 35 percent depending on terrain and payload.
John is a lawyer and accountant with over three decades of corporate finance, due diligence, M&A advisory and related legal services for manufacturers, innovators and investors in the energy storage and renewable energy sectors.
Over the last eight years John has earned a global following for his articles on the energy storage and alternative energy sectors. He has contributed to AltEnergyStocks, Seeking Alpha, The Street, NASDAQ.com and Batteries International Magazine. He currently works as a senior editor at InvestorIntel.
John is a 1979 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School and a 1976 graduate of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. He was admitted to the bar in 1980 and licensed to practice as a CPA in 1981. John’s diverse experience in corporate finance, natural resource development and energy storage give him a unique and sometimes unsettling perspective on the technical, economic and supply chain challenges of the battery industry.
Dr. Price writes about stocks, options and the market every weekday on Real Money Pro, a subscription site onTheStreet.com.
Paul has been a speaker at the International Traders Expo in New York City and the Options and Forex Expo in Las Vegas. He also gives investment seminars for subscribers of TheStreet's multiple subscription sites.
Dr. Price is a featured contributor on Market Shadows.com, GuruFocus.com and TalkMarkets.com.
He also teaches bi-weekly investment webinars for Rule #1 Investing.
IndexUniverse's website and related sub-sites cover product and market developments related to index funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), index derivatives (futures/options/swaps), and the sophisticated investment strategies which use these financial tools. The sites provide top quality news, columns, research, and features about the dynamic field of index-based investing and trading.
IndexUniverse also supplies valuable tools and data to assess markets and investment products, and specialized discussion boards for registered members to exchange cutting-edge ideas and market views. The site aims to be educational, thought-provoking, and most importantly, rigorously independent in perspective.
IndexUniverse was founded by Steven Schoenfeld in 2002 and the current Editor and Publisher is Jim Wiandt.
Visit: Index Universe (http://indexuniverse.com/)
John Lounsbury, Managing Editor and Co-founder of Global Economic Intersection, provides comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory services to a small number of families on a fee only basis. He has a background which includes 34 years with a major international corporation, 25 years in R&D management and corporate staff positions. More recently he was a Series 6, 7, 63 licensed representative with a major insurance company brokerage from 1992 to 2001. Since 2002 he has operated his own sole proprietorship business. Specific interests include political and economic history, econometric analysis and investment strategy analysis. Recreational activities include hiking, non-technical mountaineering and alpine skiing. He is also founding partner and managing editor of EconIntersect.com.