My analysis focuses on the cyclical nature of individual companies and of markets in general. I've developed a unique approach to estimating the fair value of cyclical stocks, and that approach allows me to more accurately buy near the bottom of the cycle.
My academic background is in political science and I hold Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in political theory from Iowa State University. I was awarded a Graduate Research Excellence Award in 2015 for my research on conservatism.
I am an early career scientific researcher who has taken a strong interest in investing. While I invest primarily to achieve my personal financial goals, I find that doing so gives me another outlet beyond science where critical and logical thinking yield significant rewards.
On Seeking Alpha's Marketplace, I offer a premium service called the Cambridge Income Laboratory focusing mostly on research and analysis of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and closed-end funds (CEFs). Currently, we are the top-ranked service for ETFs, and also rank 2nd for CEFs and arbitrage.
The Cambridge Income Laboratory boasts a community of over a hundred serious income investors dedicated on sharing ETF and CEF ideas and strategies. Check us out to see why one subscriber calls us a "one-stop shop for CEF research.”
Within the academic field, I have a career total of over 100 publications, 3300 total citations and an h-index of 34 (metrics from Google Scholar).
Mohit Manghnani is presently a full time editor at Seeking Alpha. He covers the new IPO's and follows live market commentary. Before joining Seeking Alpha, Mohit worked with a start-up - Research firm where he worked in the capacity of a Team Leader tracking company events and results.
Born in the U.A.E, Mohit spent most of his growing up years in Dubai. Currently, he resides in Mumbai, India and is pursuing his charter in Accountancy.
Hello. Welcome to my Seeking Alpha portfolio page. I'm a financial writer and market risk analyst with over fifteen years experience in the financial services industry. I have over ten years experience on trading desks of two major banks.
My writing focuses on macro trends and identifying risks with investing in bank stocks, commodities, equities, and currencies. As a former currency risk advisor, my articles tend to focus on how international events and global capital flows impact both the equity and bond markets.
I have an economics degree with a concentration in finance from the University of Rhode Island.
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Avisol Capital Partners runs the Total Pharma Tracker Seeking Alpha Marketplace service. This is managed by Dr Asok Dutta, BVScAH and Dr Udaya Kumar Maiya, MD Oncologist. The service offers end-to-end research on both investing and trading ideas everyday, and includes a 150-stock watchlist and two 40-stock model portfolios that are continuously tracked.
Dr Dutta is a retired veterinary surgeon. He has over 40 years experience in the industry. Dr Maiya is a well-known oncologist who has 30 years in the medical field, including as Medical Director of various healthcare institutions. Both doctors are also avid private investors. They are assisted by a number of finance professionals in developing this service.
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I only look at stocks that have the possibility to double over a twelve month period and stocks in which the risk/reward ratio payout is high. In addition I focus on swing trade opportunities. I focus more on valuations and risk/reward metrics as opposed to what make companies tick. I have been a professional investor for over 20 years and during the past several years an economics analyst and financial writer for capital.gr, the biggest economic news portal in Greece. I have managed money from time to time and have also done some seed venture capital projects in the past.
Over 35 years of investing in individual stocks. Extensive business experience with small to mid-size companies, including as CEO. Many hundreds of blog posts on financial and economic matters since 2008. Focus on value with catalysts for upside price action; and biotech. Background as a physician and pharmaceutical inventor and entrepreneur.
I am a former engineer (ESGT A&M Paris 80) and specialized later in metrology or very precise measurement (CERN). I was interested in quantum metrology for a while...
I live mostly in Sweden with my loving wife.
I was managing an old private family Portfolio -- now officially retired -- and trade personally a medium-size portfolio for over 30 years.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Einstein.
I had my first passbook account in the 1960s, and lost money in the 1987 crash. Subsequently, I have run investor chat rooms and an investing blog. I also am a published author and write a film animation blog at animatedfilmreviews.filminspector.com.
I bought my first Manhattan property in 1993 and also own property in Colorado. I enjoy investing in real estate and writing about it. I invest in income stocks such as REITs and consider that my area of expertise.
Oh, and I was mentioned in "Scam Dogs And Mo-Mo Mamas: Inside the Wild and Woolly World of Internet Stock Trading" (2000), by Wall Street Journal reporter John R. Emshwiller, a good guy. It's about the bad old dot.com days.
Charles (Chuck) C. Carnevale is the creator of F.A.S.T. Graphs™. Chuck is also co-founder of an investment management firm. He has been working in the securities industry since 1970: he has been a partner with a private NYSE member firm, the President of a NASD firm, Vice President and Regional Marketing Director for a major AMEX listed company, and an Associate Vice President and Investment Consulting Services Coordinator for a major NYSE member firm. Prior to forming his own investment firm, he was a partner in a 30-year-old established registered investment advisory in Tampa, Florida. Chuck holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from the University of Tampa. Chuck is a sought-after public speaker who is very passionate about spreading the critical message of prudence in money management. Chuck is a Veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded both the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Honor Medal.
Asif Suria is an entrepreneur and investor with a focus on event driven strategies including merger arbitrage and insider trading. He publishes a weekly post that includes the latest mergers and highlights the largest spreads. He also publishes a weekly post that highlights the top 5 insider purchases and sales of the week. Asif is also one of the earliest contributors at Seeking Alpha and has been regularly contributing content since 2005.
BS in Economics, MA in Public Policy (International Economics). J is a well-known voice in the global shipping community, with unparalleled investment results and a penchant for activist investing.
Mintzmyer founded Value Investor's Edge, a top-ranked deep value research service in May 2015, with the goal of establishing a top-tier community of deep value investors and activists. Value Investor's Edge subscribers leverage exclusive in-depth analytic reports and community investment experience to discover disconnects in global shipping and a variety of other beaten down sectors.
TipRanks.com ranked Mintzmyer’s performance in the top 3% of all global analysts at the end of 2015 for his 2-year investment performance. At the end of 2016, Mintzmyer was ranked in the top 2% for online 'bloggers' for two-year performance. While compiling his research, Mintzmyer has interviewed numerous management teams at public maritime firms, and has worked with a multitude of investors. His exclusive analysis has received numerous 'Top Idea,' 'Must Read,' and 'Small Cap Insight' awards. He is commonly cited in industry news such as TradeWinds and Splash 24/7 and has been interviewed multiple times on Cheddar TV.
J is a CFA candidate and investment enthusiast who utilizes Seeking Alpha to provide an open exchange of both trading and investment ideas. Masters in Public Policy, with focus on International Security & Economic Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a B.S. in Economics. President of Mintzmyer Investments LLC, a financial services company specializing in equity research and hedge fund advisory.
Extensive background in financial analysis, equity research, accounting, portfolio management, and customized asset allocation through nearly a decade of formalized education, personal studies, and practical experience. Avid reader of business/investments and biographies.
Legal Disclaimer: Any related contributions to Seeking Alpha, or elsewhere on the web, are to be construed as personal opinion only and do NOT constitute investment advice. An investor should always conduct personal due diligence before initiating a position. Provided articles and comments should NEVER be construed as official business recommendations. In efforts to keep full transparency, related positions will be disclosed at the end of each article to the maximum extent practicable. The majority of trades are reported live on Twitter, but this cannot be guaranteed due to technical constraints.
My premium service is a research and opinion subscription. No personalized investment advice will ever be given. I am not registered as an investment adviser, nor do I have any plans to pursue this path. No statements should be construed as anything but opinion, and the liability of all investment decisions reside with the individual. Although I do my utmost to procure high quality information, investors should always do their own due diligence and fact check all research prior to making any investment decisions. Any direct engagements with readers should always be viewed as hypothetical examples or simple exchanges of opinion as nothing is ever classified as “advice” in any sense of the word.
Mr. Berger is the creator and developer of the YDP screening tool, a chart system and its analysis for screening and monitoring dividend income equity investments. The recipient of Seeking Alpha's Outstanding Performance Award, he also has been Seeking Alpha's #3 ranked Author for Income Investing Strategy & #4 for Utilities.
20 years of sitting in the board room gives me unique insights into Oil & Gas investments and corporate deal making in general. Additionally, he offers a Premium Research subscription service for boosting income while reducing market risk using covered option writing on a dividend income equity portfolio.
Residing in Brazil gives me a local's inside view on the pulse of its economy, politics, investment climate and breaking news. A view of my front yard is available here.
A former Chief Operating Officer, Director, Vice President and General Manger of Oil and Gas for Southern Pacific's Oil and Gas Operations, Business owner, geologist, and cribbage player, I've been an investor for over 48 years (started young at 13) and learned my lessons the way that makes them stick, by hard knocks and both big and little mistakes. Hopefully I can share some of those lessons with others.
I am an American expatriate that decided to retire at age 57 in 2009 and now live in Brazil. As an early retiree I invest for income and manage portfolio risk by screening for strong and reliable historic data along with favorable fundamental and technical current trends.
I spend 6 months/year living at home in Brazil and 6 months/year traveling the world. I have structured my financial positions so that I live virtually tax free with much of my income exempt from US tax since I live ex patriot and a lot of my US derived income over the annual ex-patriate exemptions is held in my tax free ROTH and tax deferred IRA/SIMPLE plans. This enables my tax savings to pay for my 6 months of annual traveling :) .
My investing is for income and appreciation with a balance of low to moderate short term risk and low long term risk. To accomplish this I use quality dividend payors with a long track record of steady or increasing dividends along with slowly appreciating equity prices. I target a 6 to 9 % yield and almost exclusively require a minimum history of 5 years of steady/increasing dividends and no decreases in dividend ever or at least past 10 years. I diversify through sector, country and currency unit the stocks are traded in, and security type (equity, royalty trust, REIT, mlp, etf, and ADRs).
I use covered call writing to enhance my portfolio yield with no added risk. In fact, it lowers the risk substantially. Once I identify a stock I want to own and an entry price for it, I write cash covered puts at or below that entry price (with a minimum of 1%/month time premium. Thus i obtain at least a 12% annualized yield before compounding just from the option premium.
Likewise, I use the sale of cash covered puts to generate income and and generally get an entry point at 5 to 10% below my acceptable entry level price if/when the put stock does get presented. Thus my strategy provides a 12% pre compound yield on cash and entry into stock purchases at a 5 to 10% discount from "retail".
Because I only select stocks that I am willing to hold long term for their reliable dividend yields of > 6%, I am not concerned much with market volatility or short/midterm risk. Indeed, market volatility is my friend since it increases the premiums paid on the options I sell. I also selectively sell covered calls on positions I hold long so as to add to my yield that way while not taking on any additional risk.
This strategy has kept me happily living off my portfolio income and traveling 1/2 the year while my portfolio has been slowly increasing in value even after my harvesting income for living expenses. Of course my income will incrementally increase when social security kicks in for me in a few more years and I may then slightly mofidy my goals and strategies.
Readers can get an e-mail once a day from Seeking Alpha that lists all newly published articles of ALL the authors they follow in a single e-mail. To get these updates:
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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.
My name is G. "Rockie" Kennedy and although I am professionally licensed, I comment and submit articles as an individual for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am a registered investment advisor and principal of Hanover Personal Financial Services. I am experienced in the industry since 1997 with an education in finance and economics. My degree is in finance with a concentration of financial planning. Prior to financial services industry, was a veteran of the armed services experienced in engineering and nuclear power operations. In the industry I have worked as an associate financial advisor, stock broker, and investment consultant. I have been publishing on Seeking Alpha anonymously since 2013.
I am a student of Dow Theory in that I believe the markets are leading indicators for the U.S. Economy. I follow a collection of individual stocks in my personal portfolios and select others in the transportation and industrial sectors. Most of the articles I submit center around those companies. Periodically I will submit an article on a stock that has caught my attention for other reasons, but none of my articles are intended to be investment advice.
I believe in modern portfolio theory, using a core a satellite approach in an attempt to generate alpha in a portfolio, and that individuals should be responsible for, and free to include individual securities in their portfolios.
I look for a change in sentiment that precedes the change in trend. Moments of "lag" in sentiment can provide superb entry points into special situations at a discount; and obversely, manic enthusiasm can provide an opportunity to go short.
I research the fundamentals, know what I am getting into, and go long or short accordingly. Technical studies of the market are also an active part of my trading. I have invested for 22 years.
I am a simple individual investor who believes that the playing field is level, but may require active management of one's holdings. I've devised a series of steps that constitute a highly defined covered option strategy that most anyone can follow and that I've described in Option to Profit (2011). Having retired from a career in Pediatric Dentistry, approximately 10 years ahead of schedule, after spending the previous 10 years working just 2 days each week, I now spend my time trading.
For almost 5 years I alerted others of trading opportunities in large cap positions through the Option to Profit subscription service, a premium subscription service that provided actionable Trading Alerts via text messaging or e-mail at my old site www.optiontoprofit.com.
As of January 2, 2017, the site and the name "option to Profit" are no longer mine. as I've again joined the dark side and taken the easy money. But I've returned to my blogging roots on January 2, 2017 by resurrecting the old TheAcsMan.com ad supported web site, open to all.
That, too, ended and the new, subscriber based LEAPtoProfit.com will launch on July 1, 2018 and will be geared to the less active trader who is either shifting into a "buy and hold" strategy, as am I in this next to final stage of my investing career or seeks to milk an existing "buy and hold" portfolio.
Ultimately, I hope to make my stock portfolio improve the quality of my life.
Whatever stage of life you are in, you can make your stocks improve that quality by putting them to work for you and perhaps LEAPtoProfit can be part of that process.
Fredrik Arnold is my pen name. In 2012 I retired from doing quality service analysis in Boston and moved to North Carolina in 2013. My fascination with capital preservation, long-term investments, and trading systems keeps me blogging for Seeking Alpha. My articles focus on dividend yields, analyst mean 1 yr targets, free cash flow yields, and one year total returns as stock trading indicators. These are essential tools for catching the most valuable dividend dogs. My dividend dogcatcher premium site in the Seeking Alpha Marketplace shows real-time trading results.
Spencer Osborne assesses equities in a data supported realistic manner that is often missing in analysis that the average retail investor receives. His analysis is what investors NEED to hear rather than what they WANT to hear.
He believes that the foundation of an equity price is based on what is probable rather than what is possible, and the trade focuses on possible near term catalysts and news. Smart investing is understanding how the market works and how that market mentality impacts a given equity.
Spencer believes that investors should model their expectations and maintain a critical eye on whether those expectations are being met. If an invesor finds herself making excuses for missing the mark, then they are losing objectivity.
Mr. Hui has been involved in the equity markets since 1980, both on the buy side and the sell side. He is a CFA Charterholder, and has presented numerous papers to quantitative discussion groups (Sample topics include: How Global are Resource Sectors).
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.
Recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University looking to use the markets as a way of travelling and snowboarding! Studying the markets since middle school, particularly interested in distressed investments with solid balance sheets, but interests vary far and wide.
Charles Rotblut, CFA is the editor of the AAII Journal, the flagship publication of The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). Charles provides both insight about individual investor sentiment and market analysis. He is also the author of "Better Good than Lucky: How Savvy Investors Create Fortune with the Risk-Reward Ratio" (W&A Publishing/Trader's Press).
Richard Zeits is an Oil & Gas industry analyst and consultant. His background includes fourteen years as Energy industry-focused investment banker, portfolio manager and senior investment analyst with bulge bracket firms in New York. Zeits Energy Analytics use elaborate proprietary analytics and data bases to provide in-depth industry research, market intelligence, and forecasting.
John Cole Scott is Chief Investment Officer at CEF Advisors. In 2002 he earned the Certified Fund Specialist designation (CFS). For 17+ years John has specialized in closed-end fund/BDC (business development company) research, analysis and trading. He has been quoted or interviewed by Barron's, Bloomberg, Kiplinger's, SmartMoney, Investment News, The Street, Morningstar, Money Life, Investius, Registered Rep, Reuters, Bond Buyer and others outlets.
He has presented at conferences or events in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boca Raton, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Naples, New York City, Newark, NJ, Richmond, VA, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington DC including several keynote addresses.
In April 2008 John founded CEFA's Closed-End Fund Universe, a comprehensive weekly data service, now daily and called www.CEFData.com, covering the closed-end fund and BDC industry. In August 2015 he launched www.BDCUniverse.net as the first BDC Research website covering all public BDCs. In November 2008 he founded "The CEF Network" on LinkedIn, their largest CEF or BDC community. In January 2017, created 30+ CEF/BDC indexes (www.cefdata.com/index) including both "Portfolio" and "Sector" indexes. They included: a 12 Major Sector (Eq Wt), a 60/40 Balanced, a Debt-BDC, a BDC Baby Bond (leverage of BDCs) and a "Discount" and "Premium" Fund Index.
John is a long-time member and past Board Member of The Richmond Association for Business Economics (RABE) and serves as Assistant Treasurer and on the Investment Committee for The New York State Society of The Cincinnati; previously on their Standing Committee. He can be reached via: JCS@CEFadvisors.com or (804) 288-2482.