I have been a successful Private Investor in the market for the last 18 years. My focus was mostly on the Tech/Internet sector when I started, but 13-14 years ago I became extremely interested in the Gold and Silver sector as I anticipated a major bull run. My in-depth research on gold and silver companies began during 2003 or so, and it has been a consistent passion since that time. I'm familiar with their stories, their stock patterns, their highs and lows, their operations/projects, their successes and failures, their management teams and turnover at the top, and all other facets of these precious metal companies. This sector has been my singular focus since I started writing on Seeking Alpha back in 2014, as I anticipated that gold and silver would soon be bottoming out and a massive bull market would unfold. I still follow the tech/internet space and I plan to eventually jump back into that sector (2009 was a very profitable year for me as bought tech at the lows), but it's not where my attention is at the moment as I see much better opportunities in gold and silver. I believe in buying value, and not chasing the next hot stock. I use several basic investing principles, the main one being buying the balance sheet. I wait for opportunities to present themselves and then establish positions. I believe in doing your homework, and I have a very research intensive focus.
The Insiders Forum is brought to you by Bret Jensen, one of SeekingAlpha's most followed contributors and author of The Biotech Forum which is is the second most subscribed to service of the over 60 available via the MarketPlace.
Insiders Forum will be strictly focused on small and mid-cap stocks that insiders are buying. Some studies have shown that equities with heavy insider purchases outperform the overall market over time. The Insiders Forum will consist of my 15 top small and mid-sized stocks in different sectors of the market that are not only are attractively valued but have had some significant insider purchases in recent months.
We will build out an optimized 15 stock portfolio one stock at a time and track performance using a hypothetical $150,000 portfolio. The Insider Forum will feature bi-weekly portfolio updates as well as least one exclusive article a week on stocks with recent insider buying. Deep and exclusive analysis will be provided on all new additions to the portfolio. Our goal will be to outperform the Russell 2000 over time and the Insiders Forum's portfolio will be benchmarked against.
Our goal is to outperform the Russell 2000 over time as well as to be a sounding board for new investments in attractively priced equities where insiders are stepping up to the plate.
Individual investors should feel free to message me privately about my real-time subscription service, which is very affordable. That is also included with my short idea product for institutional investors, here on Seeking Alpha.
For a better mobile experience on Seeking Alpha click the top right menu icon on most browsers and select "request desktop site".
I am a former financial communications programmer, turned full-time investor. I began investing in the mid-1990s, looking for a way to achieve early retirement. (A goal in which I have succeeded, if you don't consider full-time investing a job.) I took a scientific, experiment-based approach rather than a studious one. I feel that this approach, combined with my extensive programming work in financial markets and directly with traders has given me uncommon contrarian insight into what really drives market dynamics.
To that end, my articles will center around stocks and their derivatives because that's where I have the most experience (over 20 years). I may occasionally comment on currencies, where I believe I have a sound academic knowledge, but less trading experience.I will always refer to a company by name or some abbreviation thereof. By contrast, I will refer to the stock a company issues by its ticker symbol. I think it can be important to differentiate between the two.
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 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.
To follow me click the "Follow" button! (Easy right?)
Kumquat Research is a college student and fund manager who has been investing for 4 years. He writes mostly about the technology sector and about event-driven and momentum opportunities across various industries and sectors. He is currently studying for degrees in both finance and computer science at the University of Maryland. Some of his interests include technology, programming, drumming, video games (developing and playing) and astronomy. Articles written and comments posted by Kumquat Research are NOT financial or investment advice, and only express his opinion. Do your own due diligence!
Scouting for fundamentally-strong companies that are capable of doing well in any market. My approach will involve scanning financials, studying the industry, and link the two to provide investment advice.
Former broker, now an independent analyst/writer on Seeking Alpha and founder and editor of the Growth Stock Forum. Focusing on small-cap, mid-cap and biotech stocks. Looking for substantial sales and earnings growth potential and seeking the best risk-adjusted returns from my stock selection. Taking advantage of medium to long-term momentum.
My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be regarded as investment advice in any way. Readers and subscribers should do their own due diligence and/or consult their financial advisor before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.
Exclusive research: http://seekingalpha.com/author/oneil-trader/research
My trading experience includes over twenty five years of intense investment analysis, trend analysis and deep level due diligence studies. My interest is to find small company opportunities that have established funding sources, have a plan of action and are in the preliminary to first stages of pipeline development and execution. My coverage and investment interest includes biotech, small cap and emerging growth companies, regardless of sector. I am a contributing writer at CNA Finance and cover emerging opportunities as well as breaking news events.
I am a former investment advisor and owner of several businesses, and consequently everything related to business - including investing, macro-economics, and emerging products and services come under my research and interests radar.
The most interesting and important to me are the entertainment industry, commodities, BRICs, and the impact of loose money policies on businesses and investors.
These days I invest only for myself, while continuing to write on a variety of financial and economic topics.
Stone Fox Capital Advisors is a registered investment advisor founded in 2010. The firm offers portfolio management with a focus on opportunistic stocks providing secular growth trends at an affordable value. An emphasis is placed on fundamental analysis though charts are used for timing entry and exit points.
Mark Holder graduated from the University of Tulsa with a double major in accounting & finance. He's been interested in the stock market since college and began managing investments for friends and family more than 20 years ago. Mark has his Series 65 and is also a CPA.
Invest with Stone Fox Capital's model portfolios on Covestor.com as he makes real time trades. Covestor also allows followers to duplicate the model portfolio in their own brokerage accounts. You can find the portfolio and more details here:
Follow Mark on twitter: @stonefoxcapital
I am an activist investor in US and Chinese stocks. I was previously an investment banker in New York Hong Kong and London for 9 years, focused on Equity Capital Markets. I look at both long ideas and short ideas and typically focus on a small number on names where I can spend the time to conduct very deep research. I spend my time living between Los Angeles and Beijing, China.
James A. Kostohryz has accumulated over twenty years of experience investing and trading virtually every asset class across the globe.
Kostohryz started his investment career as an analyst at one of the US's largest asset management firms covering sectors as diverse as emerging markets, banking, energy, construction, real estate, metals and mining. Later, Kostohryz became Chief Global Strategist and Head of International Investments for a major investment bank. Kostohryz currently manages his own investment firm, specializing in proprietary trading and institutional portfolio management advisory.
Born in Mexico, Kostohryz grew up between south Texas and Colombia, has lived and worked in nine different countries, and has traveled extensively in more than 50 others. Kostohryz actively pursues various intellectual interests and is currently writing a book about the impact of culture on economic development. He is a former NCAA and world-class decathlete and has stayed active in a variety of sports.
Kostohryz graduated with honors from both Stanford University and Harvard Law School.
You can receive custom delivery of all of Mr. Kostohryz's published work on Seeking Alpha, The Street, and other media, as well as exclusive material, by following the link below. It is absolutely free:
You may connect with Mr. Kostohryz via the following social networks:
When connecting, be sure to identify yourself as a Seeking Alpha reader.
I am a licensed professional engineer specializing in control systems. I originate from near Liverpool England and now live in Maui, Hawaii - which gives me a sense of great achievement :)
I am a long term investor with 30 years experience and a focus on businesses with exceptionally high growth prospects.
In my spare time, I am an undercover organizer of Maui Business Brainstormers, a project manager for A Big Wow, and a bodysurfer.
An experienced research and advisory team of Traders and Forecasters have combined to offer free services and alerts at StockReversals.com, A free growth stock profile, research and alert service with benefits. Go to the website to subscribe for free. We also offer StockReversalsPremium.com which offers a combination of long term growth stock profiles with massive upside potential, plus swing position trading (days to 8 weeks holding).
Seeking Alpha Certified and Frequent Contributor to numerous financial websites. We specialize in behavioral analysis as it applies to market patterns and reversal trends. These trends happen over short term, intermediate, and long term time frames. We help our free subscribers with Business Disruptor growth stocks that crush the market. Sample picks include FB, YY, DATA, INVN, SPCB, MOBI, CUR and many more. In 6 months we had 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 16 of 19 companies up 30-50% or more.
Our work centers around a combination of Elliott Wave Theory, Technical Analysis, Human Behaviors, Sentiment, and Business Disruption analysis.
We have advisory clients from around the world. South Korea, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands and of course the U.S.
We give away our service for free because of the laws of nature which we have on our website:
“The possession of knowledge, unless accompanied by the manifestation and expression in sharing is a vain and foolish thing. The Law of Use is universal, and he who violates it suffers by reason of his conflict with natural forces.”
Join us today at stockreversals.com and sign up for free.
I am a highly trained professional equity analyst. My specialty is finding companies with excellent ratios of risk to reward. Before going independent, I was the head analyst at a boutique Israeli hedge fund. Today I am a consultant to several multibillion-dollar firms. I have covered many sectors, including technology, solar and semiconductors. I have learned to connect the dots and discern how forces in these various industries will affect individual companies. I am a big believer in analyzing investments from the top down. This means identifying themes and trends that can reveal where industries and individual companies will be in the future. There are no magic formulas for this process, just a lot of hard work. After I've found a company, analyzed it and concluded its value, then it is just like a poker game with endless cards. All we have to do is sit and wait for the next card to reveal itself and adjust our thesis accordingly. Once we find the true value of a company, we must ignore day-to-day market chaos. If we have done our research properly, we do not need to worry if the Dow goes up or down a particular day, week or month. Peter Lynch, Ben Graham and Phillip Fisher are my biggest influences. I encourage anyone who wishes to learn more about the market to read any of their books.
Portfolio Manager, Puplava Financial Services, Inc. - Registered Investment Advisor
Registered Representative, Puplava Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC
Chris graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He joined PFS Group in 2005 and is currently pursuing the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst. His professional designations include FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Exam. He is the lead portfolio manager of PFS Group's Dividend Growth Managed Account, Strategic Real Return Managed Account, and the Precious Metals Managed Account. Chris also contributes articles and Market Observations to Financial Sense.
Chris utilizes a top-down approach with an emphasis on macro economics while also taking key inputs from the market to formulate an investment narrative and structure portfolios. Chris utilizes a strict disciplined risk management system to protect client capital for all market conditions.
I have over 20 years of investment and financial management experience, and have actively managed my own investment portfolio for 15 years.
I have held management positions with multiple large companies, including Fortune 500.
I'm a long-term investor. My current portfolio comprises of small cap growth, dividend paying stocks, and high yield ETFs. Largest stock holdings: TSLA (since IPO), KNDI.
I'm fascinating with green technologies, and special situation. Currently electric car companies and China's embrace of NEV are on the top of my list.
Follow me on StockTwits (mnguyen_saa). I frequently post breaking news from China, charts, facts etc. mostly for KNDI, and some TSLA.
10 years investing in $10 or less stocks. My portfolio has grown from an initial $4K investment to well over a million in that period of time. I specialize in identifying under-the-radar, unloved stocks with great upside.
I'm an independent equity researcher, writer and investor based in Amsterdam. My primary focus is on the micro-cap segment of the market. I also work for pension funds as a member of the Board and Investment Committee. Lastly, I enjoy soccer, sports in general and brewing the best coffee one can make at home.
-I have been investing since the fall of 2008 and invested through one of the most difficult investing periods in history and know the importance of dividend growth and stability during those times as well as during the good times. I started writing for Seeking Alpha a little over three years ago and I have been successful with the companies I write about, which is shown by my high TipRanks success rate (Link Below). https://www.tipranks.com/bloggers/brad-kenagy
I have retired from a 35 years career in the semiconductor industry. I now have the time to do the deep research necessary for successful investing.
I freely provide investment information for friends and family.
I am a member of MENSA, which means precisely nothing except I wake up in the middle of the night doing pointless math problems in my head:)
Arthur Porcari is a retired former regional stock brokerage firm President with 40 years stock market experience. His finance background includes, three years a stockbroker and two an investment banker with Merrill Lynch, ten years a Regional brokerage firm President, and OTC Market Maker and Analyst, twenty three years an Investment Banker to include 15 years as Managing Consultant to Corporate Strategies, Inc. a firm specializing in advising young public companies and companies about to go public on the “Ways of Wall Street”. He currently is a Contributing Author and blogger on Seeking Alpha under his own name and has in the past been an on-air guest as well has a guest host on the old Financial News News Network TV channel and more recently on Business Talk Radio Network His passion and particular expertise is for small cap emerging growth companies.
“Full Disclosure under Seeking Alpha author rules: 25 years ago in 1988, after I sold my brokerage firm and left the Industry, my FINRA license was revoked for non-payment of a fine assessed a year later in 1989. The fine was the result of a minor record keeping violation that was levied on my brokerage firm and as President, I was held responsible but was only required to pay it if I elected to go back in the brokerage business.“
Whether you are a large or small firm, GeoInvesting will cater to your needs and create a sound process for corporate diligence. Our specialty is Portfolio Protection – in fact, every aspect of what we do boils down to various ways that your M&A process or investment portfolio can be safeguarded against red flags.
To accomplish this we choose to work closely with you so you can be kept abreast of the progress of our due diligence from start to finish, making sure that we cultivate a relationship of trust between our team and yours.
Who Can We Help Specifically?
We actually do not limit ourselves to any specific group? We have worked at great lengths with:
>High Net Worth Investors
>Private & Public M&A
>Other Due Diligence Firms
There is really no one that we can’t work with since we’ve covered just about every facet of the due diligence process, whether it be on-the-ground or “through the files.” We can even tailor our services to your specific requirements.
We have a retail solution for everyone – the long investor, the short investor, the pump and dump investor and the every day trader that is interested in the micro cap arena. We’ve shown that we can overcome the challenges posed by any market environment, quickly seizing investment and trading opportunities as they arise. Because of this, our Premium members have been able to enjoy above-average returns on our ideas. Our solutions enable us to cater to what matters to you the most.
Do you want access to reports that can convey the proper valuation of equities, reports that can immediately convince the market that these valuations are warranted? Do you want information arbitrage that allows you to be among the first to take action based on the intel? Do you need daily ideas, some of which have proven to be some of the most rewarding calls to action that the GeoTeam has offered? Would you like to follow our GeoBargains and select trades? Or do you just need to be part of an exclusive twitter following that receives alerts before the rest of the market?
If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, then don’t wait any longer. Join our Network and see why our following continues to grow on a daily basis. The faster you join, the more likely you will be among the first to harness the power of our offering.
Sign up today and start to get:
>Daily Trading Ideas
See GeoInvesting Prime on Seeking Alpha Marketplace
Ivy League grad, summa cum laude, 4.0 in Economics, Columbia J.D., 20+ years experience identifying early trends and themes b4 the Wall St herd. In search of undervalued, underfollowed, explosive growth opportunities, principally in, but not limited to, the biotech sector.
Bookmark QTR's new blog, where exclusive (and always FREE) content will be available: http://www.quoththeravenresearch.com
Visit QTR and check out trading ideas, commentary, and me arguing with idiots on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/quoththeravensa
QTR's ARTICLES ARE BOUND BY SA'S CONTRIBUTOR POLICY IN ADDITION TO THIS ENTIRE LENGTHY, YET EXTREMELY PERTINENT ADD ON DISCLOSURE, WHICH SERVES AS BOTH A STANDALONE DISCLOSURE AND AN AMENDMENT TO ANY AND ALL DISCLOSURES ALREADY PRESIDING OVER SEEKING ALPHA:
Quoth the Raven's ("QTR") articles are the sole product of QTR and his personal, individual opinions. These articles are not associated with, in any way, the opinions, strategies, or works of QTR's employer, associates, or entities in any way otherwise related to QTR.
(i.e. This are solely my personal thoughts and opinions)
You agree that by reading Quoth the Raven's articles, you are acting at your OWN RISK. In NO EVENT should QTR be liable for any direct or indirect trading losses caused by any information contained in QTR's articles, StockTalks, or other internet-based dissemination methods. Information in QTR's articles are not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security, nor shall any security be offered or sold to any person, in any jurisdiction in which such offer would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. QTR is not suggesting the transacting of any financial instruments and QTR suggests consulting your personal financial adviser with regards to any such transactions.
QTR makes no representations, and specifically disclaims all warranties, express, implied, or statutory, regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of any material contained in this site. Again, you should seek the advice of your personal financial adviser or a security professional regarding your stock transactions.
QTR does not, in any way, guarantee that he is providing all of the information that may be available on any topic written. QTR recommends, again, that you do your own due diligence and consult a registered financial adviser before buying or selling any security.
QTR most always holds a position in any of the securities profiled in his pieces and he constructs his SA disclosures in accordance with SA's Contributor Policy, to the best of his knowledge in order to maintain transparency and also to uphold and respect pertinent securities laws. QTR may or may not report when a position is initiated or covered. Each investor must make that decision based on his/her judgment of the market.
I am not a stockbroker or financial adviser. I am a casual investor making casual observations for the purpose of discussion and open communication and analysis of companies and stocks. All articles are my opinion only and are not suggestions to buy or sell any equity, bond, option or other financial instrument. QTR may have long or short positions in any tickers mentioned at any time and reserves the right to open, close, or modify positions at all time without notice. My conclusions are the result of my personal due diligence and have been wrong in the past. There are tons of unqualified people out there offering up financial advice and its your responsibility to sort through the BS. You don't hit the button to fill my orders and I don't hit yours, so no whining or praising over stocks covered by me.
Follow QTR on Twitter: https://twitter.com/QuoththeRavenSA
View QTR's Stock Picking Performance for every article at TipRanks:
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.