Category Archives: Bad Investing

Laidlaw & Company: A Story of Greed and Circumstance

In his article, “Bad Investment Advice Knows No Boundaries”, Dan Solin discusses his opinion about The Globe and Mail, a well-known and highly regarded Canadian newspaper, and why they printed an article entitled, “Three top stock picks from Avenue Investment’s Paul Harris.” Paul Harris is a partner and portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management. Solin expresses his distaste for The Global Mail’s act of publishing the article and implying Harris is a stock-picking expert. Actually, nothing could further from the truth because no one is capable of the kind of success purported by The Global Mail and especially, Paul Harris. Mr. Solin further disparages The Global Mail for not taking into consideration the well-being of investors who rely on the opinions and recommendations of the paper.

Continuing on about bad investment advice and its negative effects, Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. comes to mind. To me, it seems the propensity for those in the investment game to predict stock winners is irresistible and that is what leads the so called “experts” into trouble. I give them every benefit of the doubt, but to lose once is acceptable and it’s a perfect platform from which to learn. On the other hand, too many “gurus” have an insatiable desire to do better, and at all costs. This desire to be the best leads to mistake ridden performance. Eventually, as I see it, their behavior resembles that of a gambling addict. The gambling addict feels the next “big one” is just a roll away. The same is true in the stock market game. Just one great pick, and the road to riches is paved with gold. However, as I’ve already mentioned, no one has the ability to accurately pick stock winners and losers. To have this ability would make one a billionaire overnight. So, I’ll put that notion to rest.

Two principles of Laidlaw & Company are James P. Ahern and Matthew D. Eitner, both of whom joined the firm in 2010. An interesting note is that they both held the title of Managing Director of the Private Client Group at Aegis Capital Corp., a private investment firm. More telling is that on December 10, 2015, U.S. Federal Court granted a preliminary injunction against Laidlaw & Company and its principals Matthew Eitner and James Ahern. Relmada Therapeutics, Inc. won the injunction based on accusations that Laidlaw, Eitner, and Ahern were disseminating false and misleading proxy materials. What I find suspicious is the fact that Ahern and Eitner worked together at Aegis Capital Corp, then again at Laidlaw & Company. A simple coincidence? Hard to say.