I am a specialist portfolio manager with a value philosophy bias. I employ two equity strategies, growth and income – or some blend of the two, to meet my clients’ financial goals and tolerance for risk. My best ideas often come from overlooked or misunderstood situations in public markets. I believe many of these ideas are created by the trend towards passive investing where buying and selling decisions fail to discriminate or where momentum trading forecloses any compounding potential in pursuit of short-term gain.
Individual security selection is a vital part of successful investing in the small- and mid-cap universe. My process is software light and people heavy with a significant weighting given to qualitative analysis developed through transparent, original research as a way to assess a company’s long-term prospects. For example, the advantages of screening stocks based on the calculation of simple backward-looking ratios such as price-to-book and price-to earnings have long been traded away as a source of successful stock selection. The fatal conceit of the failed ESG trend creates a lot of opportunity for portfolio managers with a background in energy.
On the risk side, I believe political risk in the USA has increased as total debt has inflated GDP growth beyond its actual productive capacity. As such, true political risk is not accounted for by traditional measures of risk and can be an unusual opportunity for high total returns.
I spent my first three years out of graduate school doing structured finance in third world countries, which is basically helping U.S. companies put capital to work in frontier economies. What I learned in being exposed to credit was formative as an equity investor today. I learned about risk management where there are multiple layers of unknowns, and I worked with leaders of some of the largest companies as they invested for growth based on long-term themes and epic changes that occur maybe once in a lifetime. Investing is an apprenticeship business where you have to play the long game, you have to see different situation and markets, get exposed to other people’s processes and outcomes and learn a lot about yourself. All of these lessons, plus a few more in between, help me shape value-oriented investment strategies in equity portfolios with high active share, which means a portfolio that does not look like an index. I concentrate in high conviction stocks – companies innovating with technology or that are deeply undervalued – starting with bottom up analysis, and I invest for long to medium term horizons. Then I take a fundamental approach and use portfolio metrics to measure and manage portfolio risk. I also use my background in energy finance to select energy stocks with great total return characteristics in terms of growth potential and/or dividend income. Energy transition is another theme that contains opportunity to outperform.
Presently, I am the CIO and owner of independent investment firm SC Capital Management LLC. Previously, I was a senior strategist for Systematic Alpha LLC, a NYC-based quantitative hedge fund. The firm is the manager of Systematic Alpha Cryptocurrency Fund LP launched in January 2018 when the Chicago Mercantile Exchange initiated trading of the first bitcoin futures contracts.
I have over 20 years of media, finance and early-stage investing experience on the frontiers of emerging trends, starting with oil & gas finance in Russia in the 1990s. I publish niche media sites as a way to test theories and explore themes I feel are important. These include Synthetic.com (emerging synthetic biology industry) CubaJournal.co and High.co (cannabis industry). Previously, I was the CEO of Instra Corp. (New Zealand), a digital marketing company, and CEO of dotRIP Ltd, a digital memorial startup and Instra holding company that was sold to Demand Media.
In my early career, I was a structured finance banker – and operating company executive – with broad exposure to hotel, oil & gas, mining, telecom and hydropower sectors in more than 30 countries including Russia, Jordan, Colombia, Guatemala and Jamaica.
I am finalizing Earth Tycoon, an autobiographical novel, and hope to publish in the year following the current year. The novel is set in a variety of countries but focuses on the human side of my experience running a mining company in the Jordanian desert that was financed by the late Forbes-list industrialist, Jerry Zucker.
Much of my writing (personal and professional) is anchored on people, the producers and consumers that make up the endless intersections of commerce. Some thrive in scarcity, and other stagnate in abundance. To be hopeful it is not necessary to think that the world is good. It is enough to believe that there is every possibility of it becoming good. My experience as a banker in the former Soviet Union showed me the societal consequences of shackling the free, industrious hands of the entrepreneur – and also to know the brutal shock of facts that rained down on half of humanity near the end of the last century as the old Soviet system crumbled. I often find my writing is smarter than me.
I studied developing country economics in graduate school (MA Economics) and I have BA in English.
sc at sccapital dot co
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