We are experiencing a crisis in higher education in the US. Total student loan debt is now over $1.6 trillion, up about 50% from only 6 years earlier. The cost of a college education continues to rise at levels that far outstrip inflation. Is this sustainable?
In this episode Gary Brode talks about the challenges facing higher education and his research that is helping to indentify opportunities to invest in the future growth of online colleges and universities.
We spoke about:
- Looking for companies that others have overlooked or mispriced
- Student debt, an investment for some professions, a burden for others
- The benefits of moving education online, for students and colleges
- Gary's belief that this is as big a disruption as the streaming services on network television
- How Software as a Service (SaaS) changes everything
“Take your time, do your research, think it through and really make sure you understand the risk that you're taking on. That advice applies to a student going to college and it applies to your listeners who are going to buy stock in a company.”
Gary has spent 30 years in the securities industry. Most recently, he was Managing Partner and Senior Portfolio manager for Silver Arrow Investment Management. Over 8 years, Silver Arrow outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 100% while providing superior downside-protection.
MORE AT GARY'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
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Stocks for Beginners.
And at some point the US Federal Reserve is going to have to raise interest rates. When they do that, high-multiple tech stocks fall. And so there is a certain amount of short and medium term volatility that you're exposing yourself to here. Now, in my case, I've got a 5, 10 year thesis on this and I'll own it right through that volatility. But just be aware that for us this is a long-term call. This is not, "Hey, we've got our Reddit pick of the week and you know, we're trying to make 50% in two days".
Hi and welcome back to Stocks for Beginners. I'm Phil Muscatello. What gets you excited? For my guests today it's that moment when he finds a misperception of business quality, an overreaction to unimportant news or a misunderstanding of a company's financials. It's that Eureka moment when he sees what the rest of the market is missing. So it's my pleasure to introduce Gary Brode from Deep Knowledge Investing. Hi Gary.
Gary (1m 3s):
Hi Phil. Thanks for having me.
Phil (1m 5s):
Thank you very much for coming on. Gary has spent 30 years in the securities industry, that means in stocks. Most recently he was managing partner and senior portfolio manager for Silver Arrow Investment Management. Over eight years, Silver Arrow outperformed the S and P 500 by nearly 100%. That's amazing Gary. Providing superior downside protection. Tell us about your approach and about yourself and what helped you achieve those returns?
Gary (1m 32s):
Thanks Phil, really appreciate the time. At Silver Arrow our first cut was really the question "Is this a great business?" We would look at competitive moat margins, free cash flow. And one of the ways you can get an advantage in the market is the market is very frequently focused on short-term results. And if you're willing to look out 2, 3, 5 years and figure out whether it's a good business or not, you can have what we would call a time arbitrage, which is just a fancy way of saying an advantage if you're willing to look over the right time period. Beyond that, we would study industries and companies for months, sometimes years, and be patient in terms of waiting for the entry price that we wanted.
Gary (2m 18s):
And frequently they were created by the kinds of events that you just mentioned. Some sort of misperception or group think where everybody was convinced that something was true and it turned out it wasn't. We would also take a look at valuation and what we thought the companies were worth and buy at what we thought was a substantial discount. And I started Deep Knowledge Investing in January of 2020 and took those same principles to finding a limited number of high probability, high return ideas a year that we provide to our subscribers. And so far we've done very well with that.
Phil (2m 54s):
Give us an example of a company that played out the way that you'd hoped for.
Gary (2m 59s):
Sure. One great one, which we just recently closed was HCA. It's a hospital company. They own hundreds of hospitals and other point of care facilities. And we bought the stock about a year ago in August and September of 2020. The reason that the company was trading and all the hospital companies are trading at a huge discount was because of COVID. And so people were afraid to go to the hospital. All of the elective procedures, which tend to be high revenue, high margin procedures had been canceled. And one of the things that we frequently see in the market, in which your listeners should be on the lookout for, is people like to take the current state of affairs and project that out into the future forever or for a really long period of time.
Gary (3m 49s):
But let's take a step back. Let's go back to where we were a year ago. And even when people were very concerned about COVID and everyone was locked down and there were fears that the disease was more deadly than it is. And I'm not saying it's not a dangerous disease, but there were worries that the right comparable was the bubonic plague from hundreds of years ago. But the truth is what you could figure out is there is no way in the world, the United States and the rest of the world was going to take all of their high-end medical treatment capacity and devote it to all COVID all the time. People have other problems. People had heart problems, heart attacks, people had cancer.
Gary (4m 31s):
There were people who needed joint replacements. So what we realized was that all of these high margin elective procedures hadn't been canceled: they were delayed. And it simply meant that there was going to be a gigantic future demand for hospital services and the hospitals were going to open up again. The stock was trading at a huge discount. We bought it at 115. And so that recently at 250 on just phenomenal results. People thought the company was going to earn $12 a share and it looks like the earnings are going to be closer to 17.
Phil (5m 9s):
It's very difficult to get this kind of conviction though, isn't it? It's not something that you can just sort of wake up that morning and think, "Oh, this is a good idea". You've also got to know a fair bit about the company's fundamentals. You mentioned before that you spend a lot of time working out what the numbers and the strengths of the company can be. Is that the case?
Gary (5m 30s):
That's definitely correct. We had spent years following HCA. We'd invested in it successfully in the past. So that part you're right, there was a substantial amount of historical knowledge, we had models on the company. We had a very clear understanding of the way the company operated and that part is complicated. But if we take a step back, the key understanding enabled us to make more than double our money was to realize that again, everybody was projecting this current bad situation into the future. And it just wasn't realistic to assume that all hospitals were going to be focused only on COVID forever.
Gary (6m 14s):
At some point, they were going to start taking care of other health issues.
Phil (6m 18s):
Let's turn to student debt, a topic that you're very passionate about. There's many students that have been to college and university. They've got a serious burden with university debt. Tell us about that and what that's leading you to in your current thinking for investing.
Gary (6m 31s):
So the headlines here are shocking. In the United States, we talk about $1.7 trillion of student debt. People talk about the size of student debt versus credit card debt. And the headline numbers are shocking, and everybody gets very upset about it. When you look at the nuance, and we actually were very fortunate, I got over the weekend a four-page letter from Bob Scott, who's the past president, the president of Emeritus of Adelphi University. Talking about some of the nuances. And we got really a better understanding of the situation. And he correctly points out that a large amount of student debt is associated with people who are earning higher degrees.
Gary (7m 15s):
So if somebody who is going to be a surgeon has 200 or $250,000 of student debt. It sounds like a huge number, but they'll have lifetime earnings that will enable them to pay that back. Another large chunk of student debt, a disproportionate amount, is coming from people who go to a limited number of for-profit universities. And the United States has had some issues with some of those schools there're regulatory issues around that that are beyond the scope of this conversation. So a lot of that $1.7 trillion is payable by a large number of students. But let's get to the key issue here. The key issue is it's very important to match student debt levels with the degree that you're earning and the school that you're earning the degree from.
Gary (8m 4s):
And so there are certain degrees, everybody likes to talk about the stem degrees, science technology, engineering, mathematics, where people will have relatively high incomes. And particularly if they go to some of the high-end schools, they'll be looking at higher earnings. There are other fields as well. If you're studying accounting or nursing, you're probably looking at a pretty secure living going forward. And your student debt is likely to be payable. On the other hand, if you go to maybe an elite private school and study something in the humanities or a variety of other degree programs where your future earnings may not be so high.
Gary (8m 45s):
Coming out of those programs with 100 or $150,000 of debt is likely to be a huge problem. So the key issue here is trying to match up the debt that people take on with their likely future earnings. And this is something that can be done. We just think that the universities need to do a better job of communicating with the incoming freshmen what their real prospects are. And we think part of that burden should fall on students. That they really need to understand, even though they're making these decisions, when they're 16, 17, 18 years old, they need to understand that they're taking on adult responsibilities and start to think through "How much am I going to earn? How much debt can I afford to take on?"
Phil (9m 29s):
It's like what do you say to an actor?
Gary (9m 31s):
Phil (9m 32s):
I'll have fries with that. Sorry. We love actors and we love the creative arts, but you know, to spend a lot of money is obviously not the best idea to learn your craft. And I think that's part of it, isn't it? And you just referred then to younger people having to realize that when they take on a student loan, which is incredibly easy to get isn't it, that they are actually going to have to pay it back at some point in the future.
Gary (9m 59s):
It's exactly right. And if I had, you know, two minutes to talk to every high school senior in the United States, I would tell them the same thing that I would tell your listeners who are looking at investing in a stock. Take your time, do your research, think it through and really make sure you understand the risk that you're taking on. And that advice would apply to a student going to college. It applies to your listeners who are going to buy stock in a company.
Phil (10m 32s):
Gary you have a report just out about online education and it's about investing in online education. Give us the overview about what's led you to this thinking.
Gary (10m 44s):
Sure. Thanks, Phil. This is the biggest piece we've done since "TV is Next", which we put out in 2012, where we correctly predicted that streaming television was going to upend the business of owning and operating TV and cable.
Phil (10m 58s):
How did that work out?
Gary (11m 0s):
It worked out well for us, not so well for the large number of investors who own CBS and Viacom. And what we've done is we've just taken a look at the university education business. And let's, let's take a minute and realize that every single culture has the same education model. And that's been the case for thousands of years. For thousands of years, students have traveled to a university to learn from a professor in lectures and discussions in person. And every culture has done that for thousands and thousands of years. And so we're making actually a very dangerous but forward looking call right now.
Gary (11m 41s):
And we're saying it's different this time. We're saying that the online education business is going to open up a university education and employment credentialing for a wide variety of people who are non-traditional learners. Let's think about all the people who delayed going to school. Maybe they weren't ready out of high school to go spend four years on a college campus. People who care for aging parents, people who have children, people who'll have to work their way through school. Let's look worldwide. There are thousands, millions of people in places like Brazil, India, China, with a high drive to get an education and get a good job, but they can't come for four years and live overseas.
Gary (12m 27s):
And they can't afford that. And to deal with the visa and immigration issues can be challenging. And it's very expensive. These people can get an education, very inexpensively and do so from home. People in rural areas now have access. And the cost of an online degree is a fraction of what it will cost you to go beyond a college campus. And so a university education and that credentialing is now available to people all over the world. People with challenging personal circumstances and people who don't want to come out of school $100,000 in debt.
Phil (13m 5s):
An incredible move to reducing inequality in a way isn't it? That education, which is one of those things that people need the most of to get themselves out of inequality is now far more in reach. It's an incredible democratization that's going on at the moment, apart from an investing opportunity.
Gary (13m 24s):
Well, one of the things that we're really trying to make clear to people is rather than criticizing universities for having some degrees for some people that are on affordable, we're applauding them for being flexible, forward-thinking, innovative and enabling this worldwide education revolution. The universities, I think, have taken their responsibility to educate as many people as possible as well as possible seriously. And they're partnering with these platforms, that we'll talk about at some point in this discussion, but they're partnering with them to offer new options to a wide variety of people.
Gary (14m 6s):
And we think that's fantastic and we're applauding them for being innovators.
Phil (14m 10s):
Ok well, let's look at those companies and how this is developing at the moment. And just let me get my head around, just to understand completely you're saying that these are platforms that allow access for universities to reach new students. Is that the way it works?
Gary (14m 26s):
That's exactly right. So our favorite of these companies as Coursera, the ticker is C O U R. And let's talk about Coursera, there are other companies and we can talk about them in the course of this call, but Coursera is a platform not a competitor. They enable universities to reach more people. They're not a business destroyer. This is the opposite of, you know, like what Amazon did to retailers 20 years ago. But what a university professor or degree program will do is they will upload their content to Coursera and Coursera will then take over what for universities is very challenging and very expensive and something that nobody thinks about, it's student recruitment.
Gary (15m 9s):
And one of the ways they do it is they have almost 90 million registered learners on their platform. And that is a huge advantage. It's a way of reaching tons and tons of people. And so the question that I keep getting from people is, "Well, why won't the universities just do this themselves and keep all the money?" And you could do that if you were Oxford or Cambridge, Harvard, MIT. There are certain brands where you could do that. But for other universities, the ability to reach 90 million people, growing last year, they grew by more than 20 million registered learners.
Gary (15m 49s):
And if they grow 30%, that'll be another 20, 30 million in the next year. That's a huge opportunity to be found and to not have to recruit. I would also point out to the people who, again, we keep getting this question, why wouldn't the universities do it themselves? And edX, which is in the process of being acquired by 2U, T W O U is the ticker, edX was formed by a non-profit joint venture between Harvard and MIT. So rather than go it alone, they said, we want to be part of a platform
Phil (16m 24s):
We've spoken in the past on this podcast about software as a service. And this is one of the reasons why a university wouldn't want to build something from the ground up. Why would you build something from the ground up when there's something there that another company specializes in and redefines and you can just jump on the back of it straight away? Is that what's happening here, it's software as a service in the education space?
Gary (16m 47s):
I think that's a great analogy for how to think about it. And I think if you're a university, there are multiple reasons to partner with a company like Coursera. One is what we talked about, it's the ability to reach 90 million people, the ability to outsource that very difficult and expensive student recruitment. The other part of it is it's turnkey and it's not that universities couldn't have a production department, but they hand over the content to Coursera and it's just done and it's done quickly and easily and the universities don't have to do it. And it's not that they couldn't, it's just not their area of expertise.
Phil (17m 27s):
And what's the cost differential for students to go online?
Gary (17m 31s):
It depends on which platform and which program. So let's talk about a couple of examples. We were talking before about 2U, which is a Coursera competitor. And 2U has their focus is degree programs and their reputation is for extremely high quality. But what they tend to do is they tend to price right around the same price as an on-campus education. So the example there would be, they offer an MBA from the university of North Carolina, but they're pricing at my understanding is around $120,000, which is about what it would cost you to be on campus. And so student recruitment there is really a challenge.
Gary (18m 13s):
Now, the contrary example is what Coursera has done. And the great example there is the university of Illinois MBA program. And when they started there, Illinois had 250 students on campus. Coursera took it over. The program is now entirely online with 2,500 students. And so if you're the university of Illinois, being able to go from 250 students to 2,500 and reduce your on-campus expense of feeding and housing and administering these students, you also don't have to deal with the nonsense that might come with a lot of young people drinking and maybe not acting well under the influence.
Phil (18m 58s):
Animal house all over again
Gary (19m 0s):
Those situations get outsourced to local police departments. But let's talk about the cost of this Illinois program. The on-campus MBA program when they started it was about $65,000. I believe the cost of that MBA program online is somewhere in the neighborhood of 21, $22,000. So if you're a student. One, your cost of education has been cut by about two thirds and you don't have to be on campus. Meaning you can live at home. You don't have to eat in the dining halls. You're also able to work because you have a flexible schedule and that has enabled a whole variety of other options for people where the on-campus option isn't so good.
Gary (19m 47s):
But these people are saving more than two thirds of the cost of that education.
Phil (19m 52s):
It's incredible. Look, if I can stretch the software as a service analogy here a little bit further, and this is a question without notice, but most companies that are software as a service, once they've got the digital infrastructure in place, then the biggest cost for them is marketing to new users. Let's just take, say, as Coursera is one of the examples, how are they getting themselves in front of potential customers or students?
Gary (20m 18s):
So that's a phenomenal question and it's core to Coursera's business model. So let's talk about the difference between Coursera and 2U because it's really worth explaining to your audience. So I told you 2U focuses on degree programs and they tend to be priced on the high side. And what they have to do is call students and find them and recruit them and that's very difficult and very expensive. And 2U's cost of sales compared to their revenue, even though their revenue is phenomenal, they get great revenue, but their cost of sales is very high in relation to that higher revenue.
Gary (21m 0s):
Now Coursera has a very different business model. And 60% of Coursera's business comes in their consumer division. Let's talk about the consumer division versus degrees. And the consumer division is largely made up of people who want to take individual courses or smaller credentialed programs. So let's take as an example, let's say that you and I really like English literature, we're interested in Shakespeare. And we go on Coursera together and we look for Shakespeare classes and there are probably several universities that teach them. And what we could do is we could take that class for free, or maybe we wanted a certificate to show, "Hey look, we've studied Shakespeare.
Gary (21m 42s):
We completed this course." That certificate will cost 50 to $100. So you think to yourself, "Wait a minute, if 2U is charging thousands of dollars, $120,000 for a degree program, why would Coursera give these classes away for free? Or why would they only charge us $50 to get a certificate?" And the answer is 90 million registered learners. And where do you think the people who are taking the expensive degree programs are coming from? And as a result, even though Coursera is revenue is lower, their cost of acquiring those students, their cost of sales is much lower. We like the financial model more and it's less fragile.
Phil (22m 24s):
You're using the term cost of sales here. And now we're right into software as a service, aren't we? I mean, that is their business model. Yeah.
Gary (22m 32s):
Phil (22m 32s):
Well, tell us about then how should we be looking at the business model of Coursera?
Gary (22m 37s):
So there are three divisions. We just talked about the consumer division, that's people taking individual classes or some sort of relatively short inexpensive certification. And that's a phenomenal business model. 30% of their revenue comes from the enterprise division, which is a fancy way of saying they deal with corporations. So let's talk about three different examples for how that part of the business works. One is you have companies that have employees that need to improve their skillset. When I was at the University of Michigan, when I was a student, I had an internship at Comerica Bank, which was a regional bank in downtown Detroit.
Gary (23m 21s):
And they had a mainframe system called Hogan and I had to train to learn to use that program. Well, they had to teach me at Comerica how to do that. Well, what if you're at IBM and you need to take a computer programming class or you're somewhere else, and you need to take an accounting class? These corporations, now 600 of them, almost 600 of them, partner with Coursera to provide upskilling and continuing education for their employees that allows their employees to do their jobs better, to get job security, to get promoted. This is all phenomenal for everybody. A second example would be people who are unemployed and want to get a job but don't want to spend four years in a degree program.
Gary (24m 9s):
And so let's say you wanted to go work for Facebook or Google and you needed to learn computer programming. You can take courses that have been designated by those companies. And in three to six months for a few hundred dollars, get yourself certified. You go to that company and you say, look here, I've taken the classes that you said I needed to take. I've completed them. Here's my certification. And in three to six months for a few hundred dollars, a lot of these people can get jobs that may pay 50, 60, $80,000 a year. And for them that's a much better option than spending four years on a college campus and, you know, a hundred thousand dollars. The final example is governments, this is in the enterprise division, and governments are partnering with Coursera.
Gary (24m 55s):
And think now about all the people who have been displaced by technology, people who are cashiers, or at some point it will be truck drivers or people whose jobs have been replaced by computers or artificial intelligence. That trend is not going to stop. And so those people are unemployed and they're collecting unemployment benefits. Well, if a government can, for a few hundred dollars help these people work with Coursera and take courses that will help them get a job. Well, that's good for the government. That's great for the person who's going from unemployed to employed, from uneducated to educated. It's great for the taxpayer to take these people from being net recipients of unemployment benefits to somebody who's paying into the tax system.
Gary (25m 42s):
It works really well for everyone. And that's 30% of their business. The final division is the degree division, which is exactly what it sounds like. People earning degrees through Coursera and that's 10% of the business. It's an extremely high paying, high margin part of the business. And we know with absolute certainty that that business is going to grow very quickly. And the reason that we know that is because Coursera has about twice as many agreements to provide degree programs as they have degree programs that they're offering right now. And so there's all this growth that's going to come from new programs that are being put onto the system as we speak.
Phil (26m 26s):
It's an incredible story. And you think it's as big as the effect of streaming services have had on traditional broadcast and you feel that it's that big.
Gary (26m 35s):
I do. The one adjustment I'd make to that is streaming television in many ways really up-ended the existing business model of networks and cable shows. And if you take a look, ratings for basically every show have just plummeted over the last 10, 20 years as the audience has fragmented and gone more towards streaming options. We see Coursera as partnering with the universities. And this is going to help universities reach a much larger audience. Again, let's go back to that great example for the University of Illinois MBA program.
Gary (27m 17s):
They have 10 times as many students, they're educating more people. And it's also a benefit for the alumni and for student athletes. Think about the athletes who may have, you know, 10, 20, 30 road games a year. All of a sudden they're able to keep up with our coursework. Think about tens or hundreds of thousands of alumni who have continuing education requirements in their jobs. They can stay connected to their university. And again, the person I want to credit for these insights is the president of Emeritus of Adelphi Bob Scott. This was part of the letter. He sent me one of the great things about being in public with an idea is people start sending you information.
Phil (27m 58s):
Did you want to talk a little bit more about that letter?
Gary (28m 1s):
I think the other point that he made that was really interesting is in our piece, we talk about some of the university spending on student recruitment. And that has made its way into dormitories that now look like five-star resorts with flat-screen TVs and private bathrooms and lazy rivers and unbelievable leisure and athletic facilities. And, you know, students are basically going to Cabo for four years and they don't realize that when they get out, they're going to have a giant student loan payment that they may or may not be able to make. And you know, what Bob Scott pointed out is those examples are true, but they're really attention grabbing.
Gary (28m 45s):
And a huge part of these costs go to deferred maintenance. And really think about a university, you're talking about dozens of buildings and dorms and dining facilities and laundry facilities, athletic facilities, meeting facilities. That's a huge amount of property, plant and equipment, PP, and E, to keep up. And there's a huge amount of deferred maintenance that these universities have to do. And he correctly pointed out that in our report, we talked about some of the attention-grabbing kinds of things, the more salacious stuff. And what we pointed out is true, but he correctly pointed out that the issue is more complicated.
Phil (29m 27s):
Again we come back to the software as a service model. It's like banking that doesn't have to have bricks and mortar anymore. That's this whole infrastructure that's in place for physical universities just doesn't have to be there anymore.
Gary (29m 39s):
And that's exactly the point we've made on this. And we think that Bob is right in everything that he said and further point out that companies like Coursera and to you are providing educational platforms that will be less taxing for that infrastructure. And if you have students dialing in online, then you don't have the same wear, tear and maintenance on those expensive facilities. And so actually this trend will help with the stuff that he was pointing out.
Phil (30m 11s):
And presumably as well, but the bureaucracy that's involved in running a university that can be reduced eventually as well.
Gary (30m 18s):
That's correct. A lot of the administration costs on a university campus relate to record keeping and also to student recruitment. Well if you start outsourcing some of that stuff, it gets a lot less expensive on campus. So this I think is a phenomenal investment idea. Coursera's talking about 30% compounded annual growth for an extended period of time. I actually think that's reasonable. When you look at the numbers it really could happen. And companies like that will often trade at 15, 20 times revenue. Right now it's trading eight and a half times revenue, but let's say the multiple doesn't change.
Gary (30m 58s):
Let's say the market has the multiple right. Okay, well, let's start compounding 30% growth for a few years. And this is the kind of thing where over a five, 10 year period, you could make a multiple of your money. We see this as a huge idea for a long period of time. You know, for what it's worth I do own the stock. I own it personally. The thing that I would caution people about, and this may be a little challenging for your audience, but, you know, just realize that the market is expensive right now and inflation is increasing. And at some point the us federal reserve is going to have to raise interest rates. When they do that, high-multiple tech stocks fall.
Gary (31m 39s):
And so there is a certain amount of short and medium term volatility that you're exposing yourself to here. Now, in my case, I've got a 5, 10 year thesis on this and I'll own it right through that volatility. But just, you know, be aware that for us this is a long-term call. This is not, "Hey, we've got our Reddit pick of the week. And you know, we're trying to make 50% in two days."
Phil (32m 5s):
This is what I always try and say to listeners. We're not actually talking here about finding the next hot stock or the next hot meme stock, we're talking about actual living, breathing businesses that we believe in and have conviction in. And I think this is what you're referring to here.
Gary (32m 20s):
When you asked about Deep Knowledge Investing, I talked about group think. But I think the thing that we do really well is we focus on what we think the market is missing. We focus on those situations where we think the market is missing something in particular. And in this case, the difference we have with the market is a lot of people think COVID gave the company a one-time bump. And to a certain extent that's true. They're right. You see 60, 70% growth. Well, yeah, the company is not going to grow 60% a year in perpetuity. That's not going to happen. Our view on it though, is this wasn't a one-time bump, it was proof of concept.
Gary (33m 2s):
And so what we're going to see is more and more people saying, "Wait a minute, this works and we can get a degree in this way. And I don't want to go live on a college campus for four years, or I don't want to pay for that for the next four years or for the next 50 or 100 or $200,000." And so we actually think the last year and a half has proven that the concept works. And that's why we're much more bullish about the long-term future. Rather than seeing this as slowing growth, we see this as an opportunity for long-term growth.
Phil (33m 36s):
Okay Gary, tell us about Deep Knowledge Investing and how listeners can also access this report that you've just published.
Gary (33m 43s):
Oh, thank you. So you can find me on LinkedIn at Gary Brode, B R O D E, or go to deepknowledgeinvesting.com. If you go to the blog, the report is available there as well as other work that we've done. What we do is we work with hedge funds, portfolio managers, family offices, registered investment advisors and individual investors. And what we do is we help people get better returns in the equity portion of their portfolios. We provide people with actionable, well-researched, well thought out investment ideas. And at times timely market commentary. We did advise people to short the market in late February of 2020, which turned out to be a pretty good call.
Gary (34m 29s):
So we work with a wide variety of people, including individual investors to help them get better returns and we've done so successfully.
Phil (34m 37s):
Gary Brode, thanks very much for joining me today.
Gary (34m 39s):
Thank you so much.
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