I'm an Army veteran and former energy dividend writer for The Motley Fool. My goal is to help all people learn how to harness the awesome power of dividend growth investing to achieve their financial dreams, and enrich their lives. With 20 years of investing experience, I've learned what works and more importantly, what doesn't, when it comes to building long-term wealth and income streams. I'm currently on an epic quest to build a broadly diversified, high-quality, high-yield dividend growth portfolio that:
1. Pays 4-5% yield
2. Offers 9%-10% annual dividend growth
3. Pays dividends AT LEAST on a weekly, but preferably, daily basis
1. Navios Maritime Midstream Partners (NAP)
2. Golar LNG Partners (GMLP)
3. Dynagas LNG Partners (DLNG)
4. Suburban Propane Partners (SPH)
5. Ship Finance International (SFL)
6. KNOT Offshore Partners (KNOP)
7. Sunoco LP (SUN)
8. Summit Midstream Partners (SMLP)
9. Gaslog Partners (GLOP)
10. Triangle Capital (TCAP)
11. Seaspan (SSW)
12. CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust (CORR)
13. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP)
14. Fidus Investment Corp. (FDUS)
15. New Mountain Finance Corp. (NMFC)
16. Ares Capital (ARCC)
17. Annaly Capital Management (NLY)
18. Terra Nitrogen (TNH)
19. Monroe Capital (MRCC)
20. Hercules Capital (HGTC)
21. TPG Specialty Lending (TSLX)
22. Enviva Partners (EVA)
23. ONEOK Partners (OKS)
24. Hoegh LNG Partners (HMLP)
25. Jernigan Capital (JCAP)
26. Starwood Property Trust (STWD)
27. New Senior Investment Group (SNR)
28. Ladder Capital Corp. (LADR)
29. Compass Diversified Holdings (CODI)
30. Goldman Sachs BDC Inc (GSBD)
31. Ares Commercial Real Estate Corp. (ACRE)
32. AmeriGas Partners (APU)
33. Ciner Resources (CINR)
34. Care Capital Properties (CCP)
35. Genesis Energy Partners (GEL)
36. Landmark Infrastructure Partners (LMRK)
37. Blackstone Minerals (BSM)
38. Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI)
39. Tallgrass Energy Partners (TEP)
40. Xenia Hotels & Resorts (XHR)
41. Holly Energy Partners (HEP)
42. City Office REIT (CIO)
43. Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI)
44. Pattern Energy Group (PEGI)
45. Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL)
46. Sabra Healthcare REIT (SBRA)
47. Community Healthcare Trust (CHCT)
48. Main street Capital (MAIN)
49. LaSalle Hotel Properties (LHO)
50. Energy Transfer Equity (ETE)
51. Chatham Lodging Trust (CLDT)
52. Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A)
53. Chesapeake Lodging Trust (CHSP)
54. Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. (MIC)
55. MPLX (MPLX)
56. Medical Properties Trust (MPW)
57. Apple Hospitality REIT (APLE)
58. 8Point3 Energy Partners (CAFD)
59. Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP)
60. Stag Industrial (STAG)
61. NRG Yield (NYLD)
62. InfraREIT (HIFR)
63. VEREIT (VER)
64. Armada Hoffler Properties (AHH)
65. Spirit Realty Capital (SRC)
66. HollyFrontier Corp. (HFC)
67. Vodafone (VOD)
68. Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (HASI)
69. Ford (F)
70. NextEra Energy Partners (NEP)
71. GM (GM)
72. PacWest Bancorp (PACW)
73. AT&T (T)
74. Easterly Government Properties (DEA)
75. Brookfield Property Partners (BPY)
76. ONEOK Inc (OKE)
77. W.P Carey (WPC)
78. MGM Growth Properties (MGP)
79. Preferred Apartment Communities (APTS)
80. Hersha Hospitality Trust (HT)
81. RLJ Hospitality Trust (RLJ)
82. Enterprise Products Partners (EPD)
83. Pebblebrook Hotel Trust (PEB)
84. Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP)
85. Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP)
86. Iron Mountain (IRM)
87. National Health Investors (NHI)
88. EPR Properties (EPR)
89. Spectra Energy Corp. (SE)
90. Shell Midstream Partners (SHLX)
91. Lazard Ltd. (LAZ)
92. Chevron (CVX)
93. Helmerich & Payne (HP)
94. Tallgrass Energy GP (TEGP)
95. Valero Energy Corp (VLO)
96. Maiden Holdings (MHLD)
97. EQT Midstream Partners (EQM)
98. Oceaneering International (OII)
99. Dominion Midstream Partners (DM)
100. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
101. Invesco (IVZ)
102. Valero Energy Partners (VLP)
103. ExxonMobil (XOM)
104. L Brands (LB)
105. Suncor Energy (SU)
106. Wells Fargo (WFC)
107. Gilead Sciences (GILD)
108. EQT GP Holdings (EQGP)
109. Bank of America (BAC)
Mr. Leach spent his early years on a subsistence farm in western Michigan. He graduated at the top of his high school class which helped him land a scholarship to the University Michigan. Graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and a minor in mathematics in 1981, Mr. Leach took his first professional job with Westinghouse Electric in Monroeville, PA.
Mr. Leach held several positions of increasing responsibility at Westinghouse, and Fluor Federal Services in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington State. While in Washington State, Mr. Leach completed his master’s of science degree in Environmental Engineering graduating summa cum laude in 1997 from Washington State University.
In 2003 and 2004 with Fluor Federal Services, Mr. Leach worked as a civilian contractor for the US Department of Defense in various middle east locations and the Philippines. In 2005, Mr. Leach joined the AREVA Group and spent two years in France. After returning stateside in 2006, Mr. Leach held various positions of increasing responsibility with AREVA Federal Services in South Carolina and North Carolina. Mr. Leach left the AREVA group in 2014 at the age of 56 and is now quasi-retired and focuses on his wife, his 15 year old son, and his investment portfolio.
Mr. Leach has been a consistent, avid, and successful investor for more than 30 years. His investment style is conservative and he primarily invests in income oriented equities, bonds, preferred stocks and mutual funds. Mr. Leach has written more than 50 articles on Seeking Alpha and other websites.
Michael Shulman is currently editor of investment advisory services and is the author of Made in America, Otterbourn Publishing, May, 2013 and of Sell Short (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Options Income Blueprint is a unique advisory service published by Traders Reserve and based on fundamental analysis with recommendations for option selling strategies and positions to generate consistent monthly income.
Made in America: Inside Stories of Success is built around four factories -- Trek Bicycles, Red Wing Shoes, the GM Flint Michigan pickup truck assembly plant and Airstream. The book pushes aside the myth of the decline in the US manufacturing - the US is still the world's largest manufacturing nation - through the success of these four factories and companies.
Mr. Shulman joined the Traders Reserve after ten years with InvestorPlace Media, his turn to financial advisory services coming after more than twenty years actively involved in the development of new technologies. He was founder and CEO of an internet company, AtYourBusiness.com, sat on the board of The NextGen I venture fund, worked as a consultant or founding employee of several technology startups, was a product manager for a Silicon Valley Start up when the country had 49 personal computer companies and did similar work in the mid-1980s for AT&T.
Mr. Shulman graduated Georgetown University with a degree in philosophy in 1977, worked in the renewable energy field for five years – same vocabulary, hope and promises as we are hearing today - before moving to the marketing of industrial and agricultural products with several New York firms. When asked if there is a thread in his career his answer is “Yes. Change, what is new. And what other people are missing, things they think are not normal - things I see as becoming a standard or success."
I am a retired engineer with a PhD in Engineering Science (mostly exotic math) together with a Masters in Statistics. I currently manage my website www.superchargeretirementincome.com, where I use my math background to select high-return, low-volatility investments. I also love teaching so I also provide a number of tutorials about all aspects of investing. I am an avid reader and have read just about every book I could find on the stock market. I am still learning so I welcome comments and suggestions. Over the years I have learned that there is no “holy grail”; you cannot receive a good return without taking risks. However, you can choose your investments to reduce risks and those are the kind of investments I like to make. Although financial markets are my passion, engineering is my profession. I have spent the last 30+ years as a program manager at a large aerospace company, working on improving defenses for our U.S. Army customers.
If you are interested in any of my digital utility solutions to add to your investing tool box to improve your investment outcomes, please visit my site
You'll find elegant applications that make it simple for you to track your portfolio in real time, make a watch list to follow in real time, track your dividend income and growth, and other applications. These applications will allow you to set alerts at prices you choose in order to obtain the yield and income that you want. They function as real time trade assistants and will improve your investment performance. You can even mirror the successful FTG Portfolio with "My FTG Mirror Calculator", and subscribers can mirror the premium subscriber portfolio with "MY RODAT Mirror Calculator" if they wish to emulate the out performance we've achieved in capital and income growth.
I am a retired clinical psychologist, and administrator and owner of a rehabilitation clinic we founded 40 years ago. For over 55 years I have managed several portfolios composed of investments accumulated over our professional careers. Since the financial crisis of 2008, I have employed specialized, customized dividend growth strategies aimed at enhancing and growing a dividend income stream.
Since December 24, 2014, I have demonstrated on Seeking Alpha the ongoing construction and portfolio management of the Fill-The-Gap Portfolio aimed at highlighting strategies investors may utilize to close the gap between an average Social Security benefit and the much greater costs faced in retirement.
This portfolio has outperformed all of the broad market indexes by a very wide margin, growing dividend income and total portfolio value consistently while the broader indexes struggle in negative territory all year.
Aside from free articles available to the general public, additional early-access, value-added ideas and deep-dive articles are offered to paid subscribers on my premium SA platform, "Retirement: One Dividend At A Time"
Let me show you how to build and grow your portfolio and dividend income, step by step, towards a comfortable and secure retirement.
Brad Thomas is a research analyst and he currently writes weekly for Forbes and Seeking Alpha where he maintains research on many publicly-listed REITs. In addition, Thomas is the Senior Analyst at iREIT Forbes and Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter.
Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, US News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He was the #1 contributing analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2014 (as ranked by TipRanks) and he is currently writing a book on the legendary investor Donald Trump.
Thomas has co-authored a book (The Intelligent REIT Investor) that is available on Amazon.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College where he played basketball. He resides in South Carolina with his wife and kids.
I am now retired from the US pharma industry having spent over 33 years in the Mid-Atlantic corridor in Sales(Hospital mainly), Scientific Relations and Managed Care/LTC. I worked at BMY, Bayer/Miles Labs and SGP/MRK prior to early retirement..
Today I enjoy investing in Bio-Pharmas mostly, because it is what I know best!
I invest mostly in large companies such as BMY, PFE, MRK, GSK, and JNJ (love the divis) but I like the up and coming Bios like CLDX. Cancer and Immunotherapy intrigues me..so I have made that a major consideration since 2008....With BARDA,the GAIN act and QDIP Ive come to appreciate the Antibiotic cos.and have made them a major component of my LT strategy to build wealth while in Retirement....Ive invested in Trius(TSRX),CBST, CEMP, DRTX, TTPH, CTIX and just added AKAO.....
I manage personal monies and some family members..gratis of course!
Ph.D. economics and Finance MBA finance
Globe Institute of Technology
Professor – Economics and Finance, Chair of Business Department
Colorado Technical University
Adjunct Professor – courses: Applied Managerial Finance (Graduate Level), Microeconomics, International Finance
European School Of Economics (New York Campus)
Adjunct Professor – Economics (Graduate Level) Courses taught: Microeconomics
Metropolitan College of New York
Adjunct Professor – Economics, Banking and Finance
Courses taught: History of Economic Thought, Macroeconomics, Money and Financial Institutions
World Gold Council
New York, NY
• Constructed econometric models relating to gold's role as a portfolio diversifier primarily aimed at institutional investors.
• Focused on models of the embedded optionality of gold in terms of its relation to other investment assets and economic fundamentals such as inflation and business conditions.
Founder and President, Internet Startup company with polling and investment advice websites.
Fundamental Portfolio Advisors, Inc.
Chief Portfolio Strategist – President
• At the predecessor company I started the New York Muni Fund, the first single state triple tax-free municipal bond fund.
• I took the fund from a one-employee start-up where I performed every function to a family of mutual funds which had five funds with total assets above $300 million and which did all of its distribution, accounting and transfer in-house.
• I wrote the initial prospectus and was responsible for managing the portfolios of what eventually grew to be a family of 5 mutual funds.
• Was chief economist for parent company’s brokerage affiliate.
• Involved on the buy-side in the development and monitoring of various structured municipal finance products. Worked with major issuers such as New York City and major investment banks such as Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.
• Designed and submitted a U.S. Patent Application for a portfolio management system for mutual funds involving derivatives.
Note: In 1996 Fundamental Portfolio Advisors and myself were subject to civil litigation by the SEC which resulted in deregistration and a permanent bar from the securities industry.
A. Gary Shilling & Co.
Senior Economist – Vice President
Economic consulting, modeling and forecasting. Both macro and micro.
• Clients included: Emerson Electric, Bethlehem Steel, Castle & Cooke, Cooper Industries and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
• I was the author of the 1979 study commissioned by the U.S. Government Interstate Commerce Commission, which calculated the expected economic impact of trucking deregulation.
White, Weld & Co, Inc.
• White, Weld was the sixth largest investment banking and brokerage firm when Merrill Lynch bought it.
• Extensive work was done on the All-American Pipeline Proposal to tap the Alaskan Gas Reserves.
• The economics department of White, Weld formed A. Gary Shilling & Co. at the time of the Merrill Lynch merger.
American Stock Exchange
New York University
June 1978 Ph.D.
• Ph.D. dual field, economics and finance.
• Doctoral dissertation was in contingency claims (options) theory
June 1973 MBA with concentration in economics and finance
NYU Engineering School
June 1971 Bachelor of Science - Nuclear Engineering Tau Beta Pi
Analysis of the Embedded Inflation Optionality in Gold Prices. World Gold Council, 2000. New York, N.Y.
The Economic Impact of Trucking Deregulation. Interstate Commerce Commission, 1979, Washington D.C.
Editor for The Biotech Forum (www.biotechforumsa.com), the #2 subscribed to Marketplace investment service offered through SeekingAlpha. Top 5% ranked analyst (TipRanks) 2013 through first half of 2015. Daily contributor for Real Money Pro. Hedge fund manager from 2008 to 2011. Previously technology executive at Fortune 100 firm for a decade. For Free weekly investment reports on small, attractive biotech stocks just register at www.bretjenseninvests.com
Dendrites are the thousands of branching extensions of neurons, each fine-tuned to detect important inputs. My collaborators and I have backgrounds in the physical and biological sciences, particularly neuroscience. We perform empirically based research to identify extraordinary opportunities.
Tom Shaughnessy is owner of SecretCaps.com, an independent investor and analyst. He has been investing in the stock market since the age of twelve. His style is comprehensive and includes multi-layered research on a concentrated set of stocks. Tom enjoys constructive dialogue regarding various investment ideas and theories.
Tom enjoys intensive research on prospective investments. This includes valuation estimates and modeling, CEO and management interviews, product and expansion overviews, future prospects, financial analysis and the current state of affairs at the company. Moreover, Tom's articles have a focus on micro-cap companies whose potential have flown under the radar.
In his leisure time Tom enjoys playing racquetball on a competitive level.
I am currently a Junior at the George Washington University and have been investing since the sixth grade with my own money. I am very interested in the pharmaceutical sectors, but will buy just about any stock if I feel that the company is undervalued. I hope to provide some helpful insight, and to in turn learn a lot from the rest of the investment community.
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.
Follow @SmithOnStocks on Twitter for more updates (http://twitter.com/#SmithOnStocks
Please read this section carefully for some important disclosures.
Who Am I?
My name is Larry Smith. My career was spent on Wall Street as a biotechnology and pharmaceuticals analyst and also as Director of Research at Smith Barney and Hambrecht and Quist. On my website, SmithOnStocks, which can be addressed from this Seeking Alpha site, I publish articles on biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. I attempt to be objective and present a balanced view of negatives and positives. Readers should not rely on Seeking Alpha for my latest views and articles on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as informational only. The reports section of my website reflects my most current view on a stock.
How Do I Get Paid?
My only source of revenues from my articles is from subscription revenues from my website. I do not receive any compensation from companies or investor relations firms to write articles. I do not receive any direct or indirect compensation from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity to write articles. I consider direct compensation to be cash compensation that is directly or indirectly tied to my writing articles.
I also do not receive compensation in the form of content. I believe that it is not uncommon for some writers to receive content from hedge funds, other investment managers or any entity that are critical components of the articles that they write. I consider this as non-cash compensation. I do not receive advertising revenues from my website so there is no incentive to be sensational in order to create page hits. I only get paid if my subscribers believe that my articles are of value to them and they then decide to subscribe to my services.
You Should View Articles Published on Seeking Alpha as Informational Only
I want to make clear to readers that not all of the reports that I publish on my website are also published on Seeking Alpha. Also, I will sometimes make reports available on my website a significant period of time before publishing the same or a condensed version on Seeking Alpha. All of the articles that are published on Seeking Alpha and my website at the same time have consistent views and opinions. However, at a later data, it may be the case that my viewpoint and opinion may change and these changes in viewpoint and opinion may only be published in articles on my website.
For this reason, readers may want to check the reports section on my website for my current opinion on a stock and should not rely on the latest Seeking Alpha article as my viewpoint or opinion may have changed. The content on my website is intended only for subscribers, but non-subscribers can view the headlines in the reports section which in most cases but not all will announce a change in viewpoint or opinion. However, I emphasize that I undertake no obligation to update my articles on Seeking Alpha and the latest article on Seeking Alpha may not reflect my latest thinking. This is why I want to re-emphasize that any article published on Seeking Alpha should be viewed as information only.
What SmithOn Stocks is All About
SmithOnStocks is not registered as a securities broker-dealer or as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or with any state securities regulatory authority. SOS relies solely on publicly disclosed and available information. While SOS makes all reasonable efforts to confirm the accuracy of its statements and opinions, all comments should be considered only as opinion and should not be considered to be absolute fact. Investors should carefully read the Terms & Conditions and Disclosures sections of my website. Investors should carefully perform their own due diligence, seek other points of view and consult with their broker or financial advisor.
Investing in equities includes considerable risk, and investors should be prepared for the possibility of capital loss. This is particularly the case with biotechnology stocks in which hard to predict clinical and commercial outcomes can often disappoint investors and lead to unusually large declines in price. Potential investors in biotechnology stocks must often be prepared to risk the loss of substantially all of their investment. These stocks are only suitable for investors willing and able to accept unusually high financial risk. Users of my information acknowledge that SOS and its owner are not liable to any person or entity for the accuracy, thoroughness, reliability, or timeliness of the information provided. Users further acknowledge that SOS is also not responsible for any direct or indirect losses that may arise from the use of information provided to any person or entity.
Employees of SmithOnStocks or SOS do buy and sell healthcare stocks, some of which may be the subject of written articles appearing on Seeking Alpha. In the event that employees have a stock investment in a company, that ownership is fully disclosed in notes on Seeking Alpha. On any new recommendation, I have a 48 hour waiting period before initiating a position in a stock. I trade in line with my recommendations.
In 1999 I made an ethical breach that resulted in a suspension from being a registered representative in the securities industry for a period of time. I believe that this measure was harsh beyond any reasonable measure and totally unwarranted. I have gone to great lengths in this report to give my side of the story and I hope that you will read the in-depth account that I have provided. This took place over 16 years ago and has long since ended. There has been no restriction from the NYSE for many years on my working as a registered representative if I choose to go through the required registration procedures.
Still, this NYSE action is like a Scarlett letter that I carry. I would urge you to read the full account of the events that led to this NYSE action and if you do so I believe you will agree that this in no way reflects on my integrity and the way I have always conducted myself, then and now. I strongly believe that the action taken was excessive and I think that if you read my full account you will agree.
People make mistakes. Bill Clinton lied under oath, was impeached and disbarred as a lawyer in Arkansas in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair. However, society has judged him on the body of work that he has done. Suspensions in the security industry can result from serious infractions in which investors are defrauded or swindled. In the events that led to my suspension no investors lost money and as I explain in this report investors who followed my advice made significant amounts of money. Before you rush to any conclusions, let me tell you my story.
I Am Proud in How I Have Conducted My Career
Before I go into the details of this ethical breach, I want to emphasize that I have had a distinguished career on Wall Street. My record from 1971 when I started on Wall Street until 1999 was unblemished. I came to New York from Indiana with no business connections and no money but through hard work I became a highly regarded Wall Street analyst and was selected to the Institutional Investor All Star team in pharmaceuticals for ten years in a row. Based on my record as being the top or one of the top analysts at Smith Barney, I was selected to be head of research from 1981 until 1989. I also served on the Board of Directors at Smith Barney.
Based on my strong reputation, Hambrecht and Quist approached me in 1989 to head their life sciences research effort and to run the annual H&Q (now JP Morgan) healthcare conference. I was a Managing Director and on the operating committee at H&Q. I left H&Q in the late 1990s because I disliked the bureaucracy that was such an integral part of being head of research. I had made enough money to be financially secure and I wanted to get back into doing what I loved, biotechnology research. I joined Tucker Anthony in 1997 as a biotechnology analyst.
Explaining the Events That Led to the NYSE Issue
Tucker Anthony had a sister firm called Sutro and a decision was made early in 1998 to move health care research from Tucker to Sutro. Tucker was an east coast based firm and Sutro was based in Los Angeles. Sutro leased a New York office to which I moved. It was here that an unfortunate train of events was set in motion that led to the NYSE action that put a stain on what I consider an outstanding career.
When I moved from Tucker to Sutro, I maintained my brokerage accounts at Tucker. I conducted normal trading in this account for some months. Then the research administrative research manager for Sutro contacted me and said that for regulatory purposes I would have to move my account from Tucker to Sutro. After some time spent in looking for a broker to handle my account at Sutro I became frustrated. At that time, I had over $5 million in my brokerage accounts. While I was sophisticated in health care investing which made up 10% of my portfolio, I needed help with other parts of the portfolio. I could find no retail broker at Sutro that I wanted to trust my portfolio to. I asked and received approval to look for a broker outside of Sutro and contacted Schwab about finding an investment advisor there to manage my account.
While this was in process, the research administrative manager at Sutro called again and said that Sutro was probably planning to shut down the New York office and I would have to move to Los Angeles or leave the firm. Moving to Los Angeles was not an option for me as my roots were deep in New York. I informed her that given this choice I would soon be leaving Sutro rather then moving to Los Angeles and began to think about what to do. I came to the preliminary conclusion that I would start a consulting firm dealing in biotechnology. I also concluded that I would have to carefully manage my investment portfolio.
It was here that I made a major mistake that I have regretted ever since. Frustrated that my money was tied up in Tucker and I was unable to trade in my account and unable to find a broker that I trusted, I decided to open an account at Schwab without a broker managing it. I indicated on the account transfer form that I was self-employed based on the assumption that I was going to be leaving Sutro imminently. This was my Bill Clinton moment and turned out to be a major mistake.
I continued to work at Sutro while I was waiting for the New York office to be closed which I thought would be in a matter of days or weeks and during this time, I began to execute trades in my account at Schwab. However, after some weeks the research administrative manager at Sutro called and informed me that based on the response they had gotten from clients and the work that I was doing that the firm had reversed itself and now wanted to keep the office in New York and they were also willing to hire two assistants to aid me. There was also the promise of a significant bonus in the upcoming review that based on my work could amount to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Not surprisingly, I decided to stay on at Sutro instead of leaving and starting my own firm. I then looked for and finally found a Sutro broker that I could trust to help manage my portfolio. The brokerage accounts at Schwab were opened in February of 1999 and transferred to Sutro in April 1999. When I moved my accounts to Sutro the compliance department at Sutro saw that there was this hiatus when I had an unauthorized account at another firm. This was reported to NYSE.
NYSE Reviewed My Case and Took No Action for Three Years
Management at Sutro looked very closely at what had occurred and decided that while it was certainly not something they could condone, it was a minor infraction and they thought that given my stellar and unblemished record that NYSE would not take any meaningful action other than a wrist slap. Sutro decided to be pre-emptive in administering the wrist slap and fined me and suspended me for one month. They thought that this would satisfy NYSE based on their interpretation of what had occurred. They wanted me to continue with the firm, paid the sizable bonus I was due and committed to picki up all legal fees.
I then had a deposition with a lawyer from NYSE in early 2000. During a one day interview, he went over all of the details of the accounts that were held at Schwab and all of the trades that occurred in detail. He also looked at all of the reports that I had issued as an analyst during this time to compare to the trading in my account to the issuance of research reports. I then heard nothing more from the NYSE for three years.
Sutro concluded as did I that this issue was behind us. Three years later in mid-2003, I heard from NYSE to my shock that they were re-opening the case. Why after three years was the case being re-opened? In talking to the lawyers at NYSE, I came to understand that this was the result of Elliott Spitzer’s attack on Wall Street research. Remember the famous case of Henry Blodgett who recommended stocks of investment banking clients to clients that he thought were actually sales.
NYSE enforcement was under pressure because this unethical practice had been brought to light by Spitzer and they had missed it. They were under pressure to show how tough they could be as enforcers. They reviewed their records and came up with my case which they decided to reopen it in order to show that they were aggressive enforcers.
They went over the same information that had been gathered in early 2000, but came up with an entirely different interpretation. They said that I effected stock transactions shortly before issuance of research reports which I had prepared and this was a violation of Exchange Rule 472.40(2) (iii). They also said that I failed to disclose that I held securities in stocks recommended in a research report. They said that I opened accounts at a member firm that concealed fact of my employment at another member firm; violated Exchange Rule 407(b). They recommended a censure and two and one-half year suspension.
Two Stock Trades at Question
The information on opening an account at another firm is something that I just discussed at length. This was not in dispute. However, NYSE focused on two stock trades that I made and explained the suspension largely on the basis of these two trades. I believe that they were clearly wrong in their conclusions. Let me discuss those trades in detail.
The first trade was in Stericycle, a medical waste disposal company. I had been following the company for some time with a neutral rating. In my reports, I noted that the Company wanted to buy the medical waste disposal business of Waste Management and if they were successful, I would immediately go to a strong buy.
This acquisition was announced on April 14, 2009 after the close at 4 PM EST. Because it was 1 PM in Los Angeles I held a conference call with Sutro’s traders and the salesforce and told them I was going to a strong buy on the stock. It was the practice of Sutro to initiate new ideas with a conference call in this manner. The traders and sales force would then go out to the clients with the idea. After this, the analyst would follow-up by publishing a note on First Call (an electronic distribution network) and this was done on April 15 This was then followed up by a written research report on April 16. On April 16, I bought 2500 shares of the stock at a price of $12. This was accepted practice at Sutro for research analysts buying stocks that they recommended. There was no requirement to wait for a period of time to buy the stock. The analyst was allowed to buy the stock at the same time as other Sutro employees and clients
The NYSE judged my conduct on standards that were different from those that were accepted practices at Sutro. By today’s standards, the Sutro practices seem very loose but they were common at the time. This is why Sutro did not view this trade as a breach of conduct and kept me as an analyst. The NYSE also said that I did not disclose that I owned Stericycle in my written report. However, none of the analysts at Sutro were required at the time to do so. This was also standard operating procedure.
Stericycle was a major success for investors. Adjusting for stock splits the stock traded at about $3.00 when I first recommended it. Fifteen years later, the stock is trading at about $119. This was one of my best recommendations ever. I held the Stericycle stock for many years and only sold it recently.
The NYSE did not accept that my actions were in line with the practices of Sutro even though I produced a letter to that effect from the research administrative officer. I also argued that a $30,000 investment in a portfolio that amounted to $5 million at the time was de minimus. I argued that the stock was bought and maintained as a long term investment. I argued that it was an excellent money making idea for investors. The NYSE dismissed all of these arguments and maintained that I traded ahead of my recommendation.
The second trade that the NYSE emphasized was a trade in Schering Plough. On April 18, the stock had traded down by 5%. I had an accumulate rating on the stock essentially telling investors to buy the stock for the long term, but connoting less emphasis than a buy. In the morning call to traders and salesmen, I alerted them to the price weakness, but told them there was no change in the fundamental outlook and there was no change in my price target. I was not intending to issue a report, but the research administrative manager told me that the price drop in Schering Plough based on my price target indicated 25% upside that was the accepted criteria for a buy recommendation. Hence, I needed to put out a report in which I upgraded my opinion from accumulate to buy.
I bought the stock on April 20 at the same time as the written report was issued. I previously owned 500 shares and this increased my position to 1000 shares for a total investment of about $35,000 which again was within a $5 million portfolio. The NYSE again accused me of the same things as in the Stericycle situation. They said that I traded ahead of my recommendation and did not disclose that I owned the stock. My responses were the same as for Stericycle and were once again rejected.
Was The NYSE Action Justified?
I think that the NYSE action was out of all proportion to what actually transpired. I think the enforcement officers applied new standards in overturning the prior decision to take no action on this case that had been in effect for three years. They were under pressure to make a big splash in the Elliot Spitzer era to show how tough they were. My recommendations were solid recommendations and indeed the Stericycle recommendation was outstanding.
I fully recognize that my decision to open the brokerage account at Schwab prior to resigning from Sutro was an ethical breach on my part even if I was planning to resign from Sutro. When I decided to stay with Sutro, I transferred my accounts immediately. I strongly and absolutely maintain that my trading in Schering-Plough and Stericycle was in accordance with policies in place at Sutro at the time. By today’s standards these seem loose, but this was common industry practice at the time.
The NYSE review was conducted by a mediator and it was he that determined the punishment. He had spent his entire career as an enforcement officer for the NYSE. He was also friends with the NYSE lawyers on my case and sent out to lunch with them during the hearing. He was the judge, jury and executioner of my fate. As I look back, I question his objectivity and motives. In writing his opinion, he did not acknowledge documents from Sutro that showed that my stock trading disclosures were in-line with their internal procedures. I had no opportunity to review or correct his opinion in the opinion he wrote. In a country in which, guilt or innocence is established by one’s peers, mine was determined by a hanging judge with no experience in the securities business and an apparent pre-determined view on my actions.
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I am a small-time writer/blogger who dreams big and enjoys researching and writing about biotechs and pharmaceuticals. My work experiences include food safety, water quality, pesticides, food additives, paints, plastics and pharmaceutical precursors. My focus as of late has been researching the treatment options for many cancers and prevention of their recurrence. Additional recent research has been in the stem cell field, an exciting field in its infancy but now becoming a teenager! My ongoing goal for investors is attempting to find under-the-radar or oversold pharmaceuticals or biotechs for investment potential.