Please note that I do not read comments posted here, nor respond to messages here. I don't have the time. If you want my attention, you must seek it directly at my blog.
David J. Merkel, CFA — From 2003-2007, I was a leading commentator at the excellent investment website RealMoney.com (http://www.RealMoney.com). Back in 2003, after several years of correspondence, James Cramer invited me to write for the site, and now I write for RealMoney on equity and bond portfolio management, macroeconomics, derivatives, quantitative strategies, insurance issues, corporate governance, etc. My specialty is looking at the interlinkages in the markets in order to understand individual markets better.
I no longer contribute to RealMoney because my work duties have gotten larger, and I began this blog to develop a distinct voice with a wider distribution.
In 2008, I became the Chief Economist and Director of Research of Finacorp Securities (http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/02-08-2008/0004752449&EDATE=). Finacorp went into liquidation in June 2010, after which I decided to open my own asset management shop, Aleph Investments, LLC. I manage stock and bond portfolios for clients.
Until 2007, I was a senior investment analyst at Hovde Capital, responsible for analysis and valuation of investment opportunities for the FIP funds, particularly of companies in the insurance industry. I also managed the internal profit sharing and charitable endowment monies of the firm.
Prior to joining Hovde in 2003, I managed corporate bonds for Dwight Asset Management. In 1998, I joined the Mount Washington Investment Group as the Mortgage Bond and Asset Liability manager after working with Provident Mutual, AIG and Pacific Standard Life.
My background as a life actuary has given me a different perspective on investing. How do you earn money without taking undue risk? How do you convey ideas about investing while showing a proper level of uncertainty on the likelihood of success? How do the various markets fit together, telling us us a broader story than any single piece? These are the themes that I will deal with in this blog. I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University.
In my spare time, I take care of our eight children with my wonderful wife Ruth. Visit this site: The Aleph Blog (http://alephblog.com/)
Who I Am: I'm a retired individual investor. I retired at the end of 2013 after a 35 year career as a professor and research scientist at a major research university. So -- a career as a researcher and an educator, which is what I hope to continue here. Virtually every good teacher I've ever known says some version of "I learn more from teaching than my students do." There's a lot of truth in that, enough that there's an underlying selfish motivation for my writing here as I continue to learn about investing.
My professional life involved multiple international projects and collaborations, so I traveled extensively over those 35 years. I plan to continue doing so in my retirement. One consequence is that I'm liable to disappear from the site for extended periods. How can you miss me if I don't go away?
My investing priorities are building and refining portfolios designed to provide income and capital growth: Income for my retirement needs, and capital growth for my estate. My investing interests are tax-advantaged income from a range of sources, portfolio strategies, information- and bio-technology, and momentum-based strategic allocation.
Why I Write for Seeking Alpha: I learned long ago that "writing is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is." The line comes from a Guindon comic strip of many years ago, and could not be more true in my case. When I did research professionally, I learned that writing it up forces me to think about details I might otherwise overlook. It's how I spent my working career, so it comes more or less naturally to me. I consider it an essential part of doing any research. So, the writing I do here is as much for myself as for the reader. As I started to contribute articles here, they grew out of research for my personal investment portfolios. They're based on things I've uncovered that are of interest to me and may be of interest to others of like mind. My primary purposes in writing them are to help clarify my thinking and to get feedback from others who may have very different opinions. It's those thoughtful comments that make Seeking Alpha such an important resource.
I try to actively engage myself in the comment streams in my articles, contributing what I can and learning from others. As a research scientist I spent a career spanning four decades devoted to free exchange of information vetted by rigorous peer review. It's a concept I firmly believe in. I hope to bring that approach to my interactions and contributions on Seeking Alpha and welcome critical commentary on anything I may contribute here. I especially encourage and appreciate thoughtful comments from those who disagree with me (although I will ignore obvious trolls and encourage others to do so as well). So, go ahead, start a conversation in the comment threads. It's one of the best things about Seeking Alpha.
My Investment Philosophies and Strategies: I maintain two portfolios. My income portfolio is a taxable account. I try to keep it separate from the growth portfolio which is housed in a series of IRAs, traditional and Roth. My income focus is on tax-advantaged income. In 2016 I face minimum required withdrawals from my tax-deferred accounts, so tax efficiency is an important consideration. The IRAs I see as my estate and are focused on generational wealth building. That means the growth portfolios have a long-term horizon, well beyond what an investor of my age might be expected to maintain.
Who Is Left Banker? Ah yes, the name. When I first joined Seeking Alpha I had no intention of being anything but an occasional reader. I saw it as another research site. So, I just ported a name I've used on other sites. I spent some of the best times of my life living on the left bank of the Seine and am always thrilled to be back in La Belle Paris. Add that I also like it because I find several subtle word plays there; I'll leave it to you to decipher that comment.
Finally, I've chosen to remain anonymous, which I feel obligated to justify. First, I have no professional role in finance and nothing to sell, so there is no advantage to be gained by "making a name for myself' here. Second, I value my privacy and have kept my internet presence as low-key as my professional life allowed. I certainly want to avoid any possibility of some internet connection trying to track me down. Odds against that happening are, of course, outrageously long, but why take them on at all?
Disclosures: I have no ties to the financial or security industries in any form. My interests are strictly personal. The banker part of the nym has absolutely no relationship to the profession of the same name. Readers should be aware that I am an investing novice, some might say dilettante. I do not give advice; what I publish is much more in line with a research notebook. Anyone who finds anything of interest will necessarily want to do his or her complete research and due diligence. It would be foolish to rely on my conclusions without having done so.
Convergence Investment Management is a Registered Investment Advisory firm that focuses on unique opportunities within the Closed-End Fund and Exchange Traded Fund marketplaces. We believe that the markets, while very efficient, are not perfectly efficient and that opportunities for superior risk adjusted returns exist for those willing to put in the work to identify short-term price dislocations. Charles “Chad” Gray is Convergence Investment Management’s Portfolio Manager. Prior to launching Convergence, Mr. Gray spent much of professional his career in Silicon Valley developing better data analytics platforms and data management techniques, many of which have been applied to the Convergence approach. Mr. Gray earned both an M.B.A. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Engineering from Northwestern University. He has also earned the CFA designation and is an active member with the CFA Society of San Francisco.
I'm an asset manager at Hebba Alternative Investments with a focus on real assets. In my articles I like to focus on events that affect the macro environment for assets (especially gold and silver), and also introduce readers to different metrics that I believe are under-utilized when assessing investments.
On a more personal note, I'm a firm believer that there can be honesty, morality, and integrity in finance (though its rare) and i'd like to believe that I stick to those principles. Thus I never "pump and dump" stocks, I always list the securities we own, and I take it very seriously when I recommend a company - I do not want to see any investors/readers lose money because of my recommendations.
I'm not always right with recommendations, but investors and readers can know that I always tell the truth (there is no deception) and I eat my own cooking as recommendations are either always owned OR the reason I dont own them is given (usually related to restrictions on stocks I can buy).
Advising people in financial matters is a serious issue and integrity is much more important than money to me, but I do believe both can co-exist. You live with money, but after your death you only have your morality and integrity and thus i've made my choice between the two. A bit philosophical for a bio, but I dont think there's a better way to give investors my background than that.
We offer investors a free weekly email list detailing gold, silver, and general economic markets which you can sign up for at: http://www.communitysynergy.com/subscribe/hebbainvestments_subscribe.html
Steven Bavaria writes about finance, economics and politics, drawing on his forty-five years experience in international banking, credit, investment, human resources/training, journalism and public service. Now retired from his "day job" on Wall Street, Bavaria lives mostly off his investments. His focus is largely on income-oriented stocks, bonds and mutual funds, as well as closed-end funds, ETFs and other IRA-suitable investments. His book "Too Greedy for Adam Smith: CEO Pay and the Demise of Capitalism" was just published and is available on Amazon and at independent retailers.
Bavaria began his career at the Bank of Boston, where he handled international credit workouts that included managing a fleet of ships, chasing a Vatican-owned bank in Switzerland, and leading the turnaround of troubled branches in Australia and Panama. He also ran the bank's human resources department, which is where he saw personally the beginnings of many of today's executive compensation excesses.
More recently he worked at Standard & Poor's, where he introduced ratings to the leveraged loan market. In between Bank of Boston and S&P he was Assoc. Commissioner of the Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health, worked briefly for Citibank, and was a reporter for IDD Magazine. He also did a short stint at a smaller rating agency where he had to leave in a hurry after writing an article called "From Banker to Bookmaker" that was deemed a bit too candid in describing the conflicted role of major commercial and investment banks.
Bavaria graduated from Georgetown University and New England School of Law.
I have been involved in the investment industry since 1988. I started as a research analyst for a small hedge fund. In 1992, I worked as an international equity arbitrage trader for a British bank. I worked for a variety of investment banks including Bank of America, Societe Generale and Bloomberg as a trader until 2012. I am currently managing family money using a hedged Closed End Fund model that I have developed over the years.
John Cole Scott is Chief Investment Officer at the firm and holds the Series 66 FINRA Licenses. In 2002 he earned the Certified Fund Specialist designation (CFS). For over 15 years John has specialized in closed-end fund/BDC research, analysis and trading.
He has been quoted or interviewed by Bloomberg, SmartMoney, Investment News, The Street, Morningstar, Registered Rep, Reuters, Bond Buyer, Better Investing, USA Today and The Richmond Times Dispatch and published in SR Consultant. He has presented at conferences or events in Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Boca Raton, FL, Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Minneapolis, MN, Naples, FL, Newark, NJ, Richmond, VA, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Tampa, FL and Washington DC including several keynote addresses.
In April 2008 John founded CEFA's Closed-End Fund Universe, a comprehensive weekly data service covering the closed-end fund industry currently with 185+ data points per traditional CEF and 115+ per Business Development Companies (BDCs). We launched BDCUniverse.net in August 2015 as the first BDC Research website covering all public BDCs. In November 2008 he founded "The CEF Network" on LinkedIN with 1375+ members.
John is a long time member and current Board Member of The Richmond Association for Business Economics (RABE) and serves on the Investment and Standing Committee for The New York State Society of The Cincinnati. He can be reached via: email@example.com or (804) 288-2482.
Andy Blinston is the founder of Investing Sidekick, a website that provides stock reports and analytical spreadsheets for investors. He has been working as a research analyst for 10 years and aims to share his analysis and insights with private investors.
Gary A. Gordon, MS, CFP® is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. He has more than 25 years of experience as a personal coach in “money matters,” including risk assessment, small business development and portfolio management.
Gary is often asked to consult as an educator. He has taught financial concepts in Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States.
As a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Gary has distinguished himself as a reputable and trusted investor advocate. He writes commentary for ETF Expert, Seeking Alpha and The Street. Gary’s participation on local and national radio has spanned more than a decade, and he currently hosts the ETF Expert Show.
Gary is a “good sport” when his wife, Denise, beats him at Scrabble. Most of all, Gary takes special pride in a not-so-little energizer… his 19-year old daughter, Wei Elizabeth Gordon.
Gary Tanashian is proprietor of NFTRH.com and Biiwii.com. Actionable, hype-free technical, macro economic and sentiment analysis is provided in the premium market report 'Notes From the Rabbit Hole' (http://nftrh.com/nftrh-premium/). Complimentary analysis and commentary is available at the public site (http://nftrh.com), at http://biiwii.com and by email with our free - and spam free - eLetter service (http://nftrh.com/free-eletter/).
Craig Brockie is a contrarian investment advisor in Beverly Hills, who provides wealth management services to high net worth clients. He prefers to bill his clients solely based on performance, getting paid only for results.
Mr. Rosenman has nearly 15-years executive experience in the health and wellness sectors, including weight loss, cosmetics skincare and nutrition, both Rx and OTC. Expertise areas include strategic market and product planning and corporate development (evaluation, recommendation and execution of strategic alliances and acquisitions). A MBA graduate of the Sweigart School of Business at Rider University, Rosenman devotes a portion of time back to the collegiate community as a graduate-level adjunct professor for healthcare marketing, consumer behavior and strategic planning. He has several published works in the field of U.S health and wellness, including a focus on how nutritional ingredients will transition into Rx space, specifically with lipid and herbal managment. His current professional role is with one of the fastest growing nutritional companies in the U.S., which also produces Rx and OTC products. He has served as an advisory board member to various organizations in the healthcare field, from venture start-ups to top global enterprises. Mr. Rosenman is a Senior Advisor with Guidepoint Global and is called upon by large institutional investors for insight and expert opinion on healthcare market opportunities (to date he has advised on more than $2 billion USD of related transactions/funding).
It is very hard or impossible to time the broad market consistently — there are no famous investors that got rich by consistently knowing what the broad market would do next. This only makes sense, as there are just too many variables in the broad market. But there are many famous investors who got rich analyzing individual securities, and this is where you should put your focus. You can get an edge in individual securities. Joe Springer was the number 1 ranked stock analyst in the world by tipranks.com, and on most days is still ranked in the top 5%. Joe is a Certified Technical Trainer, and enjoys teaching about the stock market as well as managing portfolios. If you would like to follow Joe on Twitter, his handle is @JoeSpringer.
PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: ... Income Replacement!
Escape velocity is the speed that an object needs to be traveling to break free of the planet's gravitational pull and leave it without further propulsion.
This portfolio is looking for the point where the income being generated can allow the holder of this portfolio to escape the gravitational pull of the market and economic forces of worrying about share prices.
The objective is to generate enough income from assets that the only selling of shares will become an option, not a necessity to survive. Therefore, with enough income being generated, it minimizes the fear of meaningful market corrections as dividends are based on the number of shares owned, not the share price.
I work for Google where I am trying to productize Big Data. But, I love investing as there is no better business education than reading a 10K! I am a Class of 2012 MBA from Tuck School of Business @ Dartmouth, and a Class of 2003 Masters in Computer Science & Engineering from Arizona State University. I have experience working in technology, investment banking, insurance, and e-Commerce. I like to approach an idea top-down first. A trend will catch my eye, and then I start peeling it down one layer at a time until it makes complete sense to me. Recently, I heard a very good quote from Kyle Bass. He said "Return of capital is more important than return on capital". In these interesting times, I couldn't agree with him more. I use this philosophy when making my investing decisions.
Paul has been managing Noble Equity Fund, LP, a healthcare-focused hedge fund, since January of 2008. In addition, he manages Noble Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Prior to this, he worked on the sell side at Sidoti & Co. and Deutsche Bank covering various industries. Mr. Nouri graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in 2005, with a Bachelors of Science in Finance. He is currently seeking his EMBA at Yale.
Mike Winston, CFA is the founder and Managing Principal of Sutton View Capital LLC, an employee owned hedge fund sponsor and advisor. The firm provides its services to high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions. Sutton View was founded in 2012 and is focused on event-driven and intrinsic value investing.
Mr. Winston received an MBA in Finance and Economics from Columbia Business School in 2005, and a BA in Economics from Cornell University in 1999. At Columbia he completed the school’s program in Value Investing, and while at Cornell studied for a year at the London School of Economics. He began his career in 1999 with Credit Suisse First Boston.
Mr. Winston is a CFA charter holder and a member of the Economic Club of New York.
Spencer Osborne is founder of Satellite Standard Group [SSG], and a partner of Sirius Buzz (http://siriusbuzz.com/). Sirius Buzz covers the satellite radio industry as well as companies that do business in this sector. Sirius Buzz provides information and opinion to readers with an interest in the sector from an investment, as well as consumer perspective.
Along with his work in the media sector, Spencer covers various equities that interest him and writes about these equities from a unique and "out of the box" perspective. Over the years Spencer has built a network of resources within the sectors he writes about. His opinion and insight is oft referred to and sought after by analysts.
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
Alan Brochstein, CFA, was the first investment professional to devote himself to sharing his observations about the cannabis industry from an investor's perspective publicly. He runs 420 Investor, a subscription-based due diligence platform for investors interested in the publicly-traded cannabis stocks and is also the founder of New Cannabis Ventures, a content aggregation site focused on investors and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.
Alan has worked in the securities industry since 1986, primarily with the responsibility for managing investments in institutional environments until he founded AB Analytical Services in 2007 in order to provide independent research and consulting to registered investment advisors. In addition to advising several different hedge funds and investment managers, including Friedberg Investment Management, where he participated as a member of its investment management committee, Alan was also a senior analyst for the independent research firm Management CV. In 2008, he began providing a first-of-its-kind subscription-based service for individual investors, Invest By Model, which offered two different portfolios that investors could replicate in their own accounts for $20 per month. Alan also offered The Analytical Trader at Marketfy, where he used fundamental and technical analysis in a disciplined process to offer specific trade ideas geared towards swing traders.
Alan launched www.420Investor.com in late 2013 as the premier source of information for "Green Rush" investors seeking to capitalize on the proliferation of legalized medical and recreational cannabis. In March 2014, Alan, who is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, began to focus solely on the cannabis sector. He launched www.NewCannabisVentures.com in late 2015.
You can follow Alan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/420investor) or on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Invest420). Alan also moderates a large LinkedIn group focused on the cannabis industry, Cannabis Investors & Entrepreneurs (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/6523904)
Avi Gilburt is a lawyer and accountant by training. He formerly was a partner and National Director at a national firm.
Mr. Gilburt is also the Managing Member of Gilburt Financial Services, LLC, which provides:
- Financial market analysis to the public through ElliottWaveTrader.net;
- Elliott Wave market analysis to institutional clients;
- Specific stock analysis to retail clients; and
- Webinars and personal coaching on Elliott Wave analysis.
He is also the Managing Member of the of the consulting firm of Gilburt & Associates, LLC, which specializes in transaction structuring and tax services.
Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of FMD Capital Management, a fee-only registered investment advisory firm specializing in exchange-traded funds.
At FMD Capital Management we excel at developing and managing growth or income strategies for our clients in every market environment.
A fundamental tenet of our firm is that risk within any investment should be identified and planned for well in advance of any purchases. It’s this type of strategic planning that will segue into successful changes to our client's portfolio as part of our active management philosophy.
Investors in today’s turbulent times have to face real threats to their retirement nest egg that include: stock volatility, inflationary fears, currency manipulation, and commodity price swings. The combination of these factors and more, have provided us with an unprecedented level of opportunity and risk in today’s markets.
The global landscape has never been more accessible to capital than it is today. Our technical expertise in research and trading allows us access to virtually any market in the world. This opens the door to select the investments that we feel are the strongest opportunities for your assets.
Dr. Chris Martenson is an independent economist and author of a popular website, ChrisMartenson.com. His Crash Course video series explores the intertwining significance of the “three E’s”—the economy, energy, and environment and offers articulate, dynamic insight into the workings of our monetary system.
Chris earned a PhD in neurotoxicology from Duke University, and an MBA from Cornell University. His background as an educator helps him animate complex material with wisdom and humor. A fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, Chris’s work has appeared on PBS and been cited by the Washington Post. He is a contributor to the Huffington Post and FinancialSense.com.
Chris is an accomplished presenter who has offered the Crash Course seminar all over the United States. The online course has been translated into several languages, and been viewed nearly a million times. His website offers ongoing commentary and rigorously factual analysis into financial and energy-related issues and events as they unfold.
Joe Eqcome is the pen name of Robert A. Frank, CFA, a Wall Street executive who has spent over 30 years as an investment professional. Mr. Frank is the founder of GrowthIncome Research & Management, LLC.
GrowthIncome Research & Management, LLC’s business mission is focused on generating supplemental retirement income through investment in regulated investment companies (“RIC’s” or “investment companies”) whereby the Firm can maximize investment income for its clients by virtue of the RIC’s conduit status.
RIC's include closed-end funds (CEF’s), open-end funds (mutual funds) and exchange traded funds (ETF’s). Other non-RIC, conduit vehicles include real estate investment trusts (REIT’s) and Master Limited Partnerships (MLP’s). Particular emphasis is placed on CEFs given their under-research and inefficient valuations.
Mr. Frank, a chartered financial analyst (CFA), spent his first 20 years in the investment business as a real estate research analyst for the investment banking firm of Alex Brown & Sons, Inc., (later sold to Deutsche Bank) where he was a managing director and group head of the real estate securities researched division.
Mr. Frank was later an executive vice-president, director of equity research and co-head of capital markets at Legg Mason, Inc. Mr. Frank founded Intellectual Capital Markets, Inc., a financial services firm in which he sold his interest; he also served as a real estate investment banker at a regional investment banking firm.
Mr. Frank has been a former "Institutional Investor" All-Star Analyst for multiple years, a featured interviewee for Barron's Magazine multiple times, a guest on Wall $treet Week and Bloomberg TV, former governor of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (“NAREIT”), charter member of the Berman Institute at the Johns Hopkins University, former Trustee of the University of Baltimore, former Trustee at Friends School of Baltimore, former director of Mid-Atlantic Realty Trust (sold to Kimco Realty Trust, Inc.), recipient of the “Life-Time Achievement Award” by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the American Real Estate Society's "Award of Merit".
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Chris DeMuth Jr. is the founder of Rangeley Capital LLC. Rangeley is an investment firm that focuses on event driven, value-oriented investment opportunities. Rangeley Capital and his value investing forum, Sifting the World (StW), search the world for misplaced bets. Rangeley exploits them for its investors and then Mr. DeMuth writes about them on StW.