We have a major announcement: After lots of hard work and support from some incredible investors, our Curzio Equity Owners (CEO) token will start free-trading on the MERJ Exchange tomorrow.
Based on our research, this makes Curzio Research the first U.S. company to launch a digital security on a global exchange that can be traded by retail investors.
MERJ is one of the fastest-growing exchanges in the world. But don’t take my word for it. Jim Needham, head of digital asset strategy at MERJ Exchange, breaks down the incredible growth of his exchange—and how U.S. investors can trade our CEO token.
Jim also shares the backstory of launching the exchange… and how U.S. investors can gain access to every security trading on MERJ. [30:07]
Daniel Creech joins me to discuss the election—and who we think will emerge victorious (hint: we don’t agree). We also break down the new regulations coming for social media companies… and the real reason stocks are selling off hard into the election. [1:05:36]
Wall Street Unplugged | 745
Our CEO digital token goes live tomorrow!
Announcer: Wall Street Unplugged looks beyond the regular headlines heard on mainstream financial media, to bring you unscripted interviews and breaking commentary direct from Wall Street, right to you on main street.
Frank Curzio: How’s it going out there? It’s October 28th. I’m Frank Curzio host of the Wall Street Unplugged podcast where I break down the headlines and tell you what’s really moving these markets. So much to talk about today, an election coming up, the market’s crashing, 10% off its highs now. We have earnings, everybody is reporting earnings this week. Crazy. I’m going to get to all these topics.
Frank Curzio: But I wanted to start out with Wyoming, the site I just came back from, the site visit, first time I traveled since COVID basically. I think my last trip had been in late January. The plane was perfectly safe, more safe than if you were at your house. We circulate that air every two minutes. You have masks covering your face unless you’re eating something, but they have to be on pretty much the whole flight, and they’re giving out antiseptics, all kinds of things to wipe down the front, the back, everything. People wiping down everything, it’s very safe to fly.
Frank Curzio: That’s Delta, and Delta wasn’t allowing anyone in the middle seats. I heard that’s changing, I’m hearing that Spirit is different, I’m hearing that United as different. I’m pretty sure American still no middle seats, but it been pretty safe. I said, “Hey, let me take the plunge.” Took a couple of trips, one of them was to Wyoming. I loved it, I love the small town atmosphere it’s really great, so great that it was 63 degrees, and on the day I left it was one degree. We saw Denver, we flew into Denver, Colorado to see the snow and football when they played, it’s crazy. But I went there to meet a lot of high profile people, one of them was Ryan Zinke former secretary of interior for Trump, retired Navy seal commander.
Frank Curzio: I spent the whole day with him in Wyoming, where we went to lunch, dinner, it’s a boots on the ground research and a mining site. It was just a really incredible trip, which again, was my first since January. Ryan had so many great stories, tried to get him on the podcast, which he agreed to do, but he’s traveling this whole week, busy man. We’re trying to find a window at the airport, which we could do this interview. We’re going try to have him on next week if we can. But he was sharing so many amazing stories just from being around Trump, Trump Jr, Pelosi, Schumer. It’s just funny when you hear the inside stories, a couple of cool things. Yeah, just funny things that you don’t hear out there, some of those stories.
Frank Curzio: He also had some great stories about being a Navy SEAL. The advancements in technology, he was teaching Navy SEALs, the tours he was on overseas and in the Middle East, crazy stuff, really crazy stuff that… You don’t hear those stories often, and just to hear it and put yourself there and just be like, wow, holy…. This is insane, it really is. But just really cool stuff, I really enjoyed the trip. But this idea, and the company I went to go see, it’s something I’d like to share with my subscribers next month. It’s a company, you can’t buy yet, but you’ll be able to buy next month.
Frank Curzio: I say I may share, because I still have to do a little more due diligence, but thus far I’m super impressed, checks off lots of boxes in terms of investing in a junior miner with an incredible management team. Has large insider ownership, which means they have a stake in the game, big people involved. Great geography, Wyoming, one of the best places not just to mine in the US, but in the world. Infrastructure already in place, electricity, water because this was in the past a sluicing mine. It’s a deposit I needed to see for myself, which actually blew me away. The people involved, it was very positive, I was excited. I went there with low expectations, I came back very positive, but still have to do some more due diligence on it.
Frank Curzio: If you’re a subscriber, I will be sharing that idea, which is definitely off everyone’s radar, with you. Probably the next month, maybe in about six weeks or so, if everything goes as planned, and I really like the company, after I finish the full due diligence process. But I came back on Thursday, and then on Friday night, I took my family to Disney for the weekend. Right after I got back, I was really busy traveling, drove there, we’re in Florida, it’s my wife’s birthday on Saturday, happy birthday, hun.
Frank Curzio: We took the kids and stayed on Disney property, it was Animal Kingdom. We had cool views of giraffes, zebras, right from our room, it was really nice. We haven’t gone on vacation in over a year, I have been very busy, plus COVID, and we just needed to get away, especially with a lot of crazy stuff coming up, I’ll get to in a minute, really exciting news. But the resort that we were at was pretty crowded on Saturday and Sunday, but empty on Monday, we left on Monday. They were saying that the weekend is a little bit more busy than during the week, obviously. Kids are all going back to school in Florida, so it makes sense. But we went to Animal Kingdom natural park on Sunday. As you know, Disney parks are at 25% capacity; in California, they’re still closed, they’re going to be closed until the end of the year.
Frank Curzio: Now, 25% capacity you would think, wow, I want to go there, this will be cool, it’s not going to be crowded, it was packed. Why? Because they’re closing off a lot of parts of the parks. There are no shows, if you have ever seen the shows they’re probably three or four of them going on, and I would say about 20% of the people there are going to go to their shows for 45 minutes, no people painting faces, no games. Most food places were closed, restaurants were open, the Disney restaurants, but you had to pre-order. We were hungry around 12:30 and said, “Okay, we’re going to get something to eat,” and then they’re like, “Well, did you pre-order?” You had to go on their app, and it was 60 to 90 minutes to get your food. We just bought hotdogs, which I don’t like hot dogs, for $10 each, $10 a hot dog.
Frank Curzio: They’re raising prices across the board. It did come with a small bag of chips though, which okay, justifies $10, but it was 3.50 for water and they’re just jacking up the prices on everything. I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise with 25% capacity, but I’ll tell you this is the most important takeaway: Tons of arguments, people clearly sick of wearing masks. I’m not being political here suggesting people don’t wear masks, I’m just telling you what I’m seeing and what I’m hearing. That’s what this podcast is going to be about. My kids wear masks, everyone wears a mask, you have to wear it over your nose outside on all Disney properties. My kids wear a mask along with us, you could only take it off if you’re eating, drinking, or you come off the path and you’re just sitting down. Then you can take it off and just… For drinking, eating, but you have to have it on if you’re walking around no matter what.
Frank Curzio: It is hard to wear mask for seven to eight hours in 85 degree heat. Let me tell you something, our throats were sore the next day, I spent at least $4 on water, which is like 10 bottles for my family. 85 degrees is cool for Orlando, in the summer it’s 95 plus. I have no idea if this happens to last into next summer or when it gets warmer, how Disney is going to survive this. I even asked my kids, and I said, “Hey, if we stayed another day,” and I said, “We’re not staying another day, don’t get your expectations up. I’ve got to go back, very busy for work. Would you want to go to Disney park?” They both said no because of the masks, that’s how bad it was.
Frank Curzio: We made sure we wore masks that weren’t… Everyone has their personalized mask and they’re probably a little thicker than the 95 ones. We wore more of the thinner ones, and we were told from people who have memberships there that having those thicker masks on, you’re not even going to be able to breathe all day. We’re used to putting them on when we go into stores, we don’t really have them on at home around our families, or when we go out, we put them on when we’re in a store for a few minutes. If we go to a restaurant, we have to put them on, when we sit down we take them off. You don’t really have a mask on for eight to 10 hours.
Frank Curzio: I feel for the people who own their own businesses in retail operations, they have to wear these masks all day, holy cow. But at least you’re in a cool environment with Florida, and it’s probably cool outside of Florida out there, with the winter here coming soon. But when you’re outside and it’s hot like that, I’m telling you, it definitely impacted us, it impacted a lot of people. We had encounters with several employees who were not nice, and I get it, they’re being forced to work where you can’t get… You can get COVID from someone who you don’t even know, and they need the money to work.
Frank Curzio: You have Disney no longer furloughing their employees, where they said, “Hey, you know what? We have to lay them off now.” 28,000 employees, because you have the California parks, they’re not going to open till next year. But it’s sad, Disney is a great American brand. But I tell you when it comes to COVID, by far the most impacted large cap company, no recurrent revenue streams, that’s why they’re getting into streaming, they’re just starting, but still it’s a huge… They’re going to lose billions and billions of dollars in streaming over the next five years. Hollywood is shutdown still. People are still not going to theaters. By the way, I just saw a corporate survey from a very respectful firm. It puts these out by the week and these are corporate surveys from CEOs of major companies, Fortune 500 companies. It showed that even from their point of view, and also there was another study I saw, so it’s two, it’s not just a corporate study, but it was also a consumer study showing that people are more scared to go to the movies today than back in May.
Frank Curzio: They had all these topics listed, everything. Restaurants were actually high, it was lower in May now people feel a little more comfortable, public transportation was down the same levels. But you’re looking at gyms, people are still scared, but I was just very surprised to see when it comes to theaters, people are more scared of going to theaters today than they were in May. Which is pretty insane when you think about it, but hey, those are the surveys that are out there, that I’m seeing, which doesn’t bode well for Disney and theater owners. Maybe that’s not a good play with the economy opened up eventually.
Frank Curzio: Now the parks are still closed or operating at reduced capacity, cruises grounded. I know Disney is going to report strong Disney Plus numbers as expected, we’re going all the way on Disney Plus restructuring, and the stock actually went up a little bit. Remember, when major companies announce major restructurings, it’s because shit’s not going right. It shouldn’t be a positive, it should be like, wow, okay, everything is closed, we have no revenue coming in, we took on more debt than we’ve ever taken on. We’re going all in on a business that is a very high capital intensive business.
Frank Curzio: You’re going to see Disney Plus subscriber numbers go higher, maybe their stock goes higher, that’s what people care about. But they’re going to need to spend over $10 billion annually to compete with Netflix on new content. Netflix before COVID, they’re going to spend $17 billion, that’s what streaming is about, it’s new content, you want to get excited about new content. People are not streaming things, well maybe when you first got Disney, okay, well I haven’t seen an Avenger movie in a while. You want new content, that’s what streaming is about. That’s what you’re paying for, that’s why no one ever cancels Netflix. All the new content coming out, and it costs a fortune to produce new content, which Netflix has figured out. You have Apple, massive balance sheet; Amazon huge balance sheet; AT&T, generating $29 billion annually in free cashflow. People just constantly paying their wireless bills, and Disney doesn’t have that.
Frank Curzio: Now they’re sitting on $43 billion in net debt, by far the biggest deposition the company has ever had in its history, yet they’re only projected to generate two and a half billion of free cashflow in 2021, and about 1.7 billion of free cashflow this year, which is projected. That might sound like a lot of money, but to put it in perspective, Disney before paying, whatever it was, $78 billion for Fox’s assets in 2019, right before COVID, terrible timing and taking on that massive debt load, they were generating in 2017, $8 billion of free cashflow and then $10 billion of free cashflow for 2018. So 17 was eight billion, 18 was 10 billion, now they’re expected to generate over the next two years a combined what? Four billion? Less than that? It’s crazy. Not to mention most of their employees do not want to work at these parks during COVID, which presents a big problem for them.
Frank Curzio: It’s like a perfect storm for this company, I don’t see it getting any better through 2021, even into 2022. Yet the stock is trading at 50 times earnings, a massive growth multiple that you could say, hey 75, 100 X multiple is great for some of these companies, Peloton is putting up amazing numbers. You want to order Peloton, it’s December 23rd right now, it’s the quickest you can get it, which is a problem in itself, but you’re seeing the demand. You’re seeing Zoom, you’re seeing its massive growth, you’re seeing a company where earnings… If you’re looking at earnings, in 2018 Disney generated over 8,000 share earnings. Close to $7 a share in 2017. In 2020, they reported a loss, okay, COVID. 2021 it’s going to go to $2. 2022 is going to go to $4, which is still down 40% from pre COVID levels. Yet this company is trading at a massive premium and just being there and going to the parks, again, it’s a great brand, but it’s impacted on every single level when it comes to COVID.
Frank Curzio: But what do I know? You had Loeb and Tepper, two pretty smart guys, best fund managers arguably in the world, they bought Disney last quarter. They’re down on it now because the whole market’s coming down, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Disney gets out of this. Now I don’t want to sound too bleak on everything, it’s important that I… I saw this trip, you’ve got to get a good sentiment of what’s going on, but there was an interesting stat on Kohler that I saw, which is very positive, it would be super positive for Disney. I want to give the positives and the negatives here.
Frank Curzio: One of the best analysts in the biotech industry, his name is Josh Shimmer he’s from Evercore, now for nearly two decades in this space ranked number one in the industry in the past two years, and number two the two years before that. Very smart guy, someone I respect believes that the vaccine from Pfizer, Novavax, that vaccine is going to have an efficacy rate of 95% plus. 95% plus, sounds like a lot, let me put it in perspective. That’s how effective they think it’s going to be. If you want to put that in perspective, when we look at the flu vaccine, the flu vaccine is 40% effective annually on average. I know, a lot of you probably didn’t know that, only 40% effective. Because they’re numerous strains, they’re always new strains that come out. Here’s a guy who presented great data on this and actually said, “Hey, I could be wrong on this. I hope I’m right, but based on that there’s just one strain, you’re going to get two doses of this.”
Frank Curzio: But if you compare it to the MMR vaccine used for measles, rubella, mumps, those two shots that you get, it’s going to be similar here once it’s approved, Pfizer, Novavax, which hopefully is within 30 to 60 days. 93% effective in measles, 97% effective against rubella, 88% effective in mumps, that’s why these have been mostly wiped out. Yes, we do know of a few cases of people getting the measles, very rare, but you’re looking at a 95%. If this guy is right that it’s going to be 95% effective, you’re basically going to wipe out COVID. If this is the case, they’re a couple of things to take from this. One is that if Pfizer is first to the market and these statistics hold up, and that’s true, and again, he said “The consensus is for 65%, 70% effective.”
Frank Curzio: This guy’s pretty smart, he could be wrong, and he says, “I could be wrong.” But if it’s at 95%, COVID is gone. One is, you should be selling the crap out of the Moderna, the J&Js, well not so much J&J because they get revenue streams from every place else. But those companies strictly, Inovio that are just going for the vaccine they’re going to be done, because you’re talking about hundreds of millions that are going to be distributed immediately. I don’t know, maybe they come out a month later, two months later, but the person who’s first to market, which is Pfizer right now, and I said it’s going to be Pfizer, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be Pfizer still. Most people think it’s going to be Pfizer.
Frank Curzio: That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is, it’s going to open up the economy tremendously. Because at 95%, you have 50% of people saying, “No, we’re not going to take the vaccine. We’re not going to take it.” At 95% effective, I’m telling you more than 50% of the people are going to take it. Especially after the six months, because they’re going to say, “You know what? You take it first and I’ll see.”
Frank Curzio: But getting back to Disney, people we’re sick of wearing masks. They were sick of it, they couldn’t take it anymore. Again, I’m just reporting to you, I’m not telling you not to wear a mask, you should wear masks, of course. But they’re getting sick of it just for the point that, hey, I understand wearing a mask, but I’m sick. But the whole world has to wear a mask when they’re not sick. Would you rather take that vaccine and be like, okay, I’m okay now, and I want to go out and have fun and live my life or not? That number is going to be higher than 50%, if that efficacy rate is higher than 95%. That’s positive news. Hopefully, that happens, I don’t know, but I want to report to you what I’m seeing out there.
Frank Curzio: Getting back to Disney, I took my family to this entertainment center at night at International Drive, and it was booming. People on rides, hanging out, went bowling, we had our own two lanes, our own little spot where I paid, get ready for this, $180 for one hour of bowling. Which included a beer for my wife and I because we were there for an hour and walking around for another two hours. Some finger foods, three or four plates of whatever, wings, mozzarella sticks for the kids and stuff like that, $180. I was like, all right, I guess for four people for one hour, I was like, all right, but prices are going up everywhere. But that area was booming, and people were out having fun, smiling, laughing, living. I loved it. I’ve been saying this all along, because you know how I feel about Florida, and I’m first to come on here to make fun of them, they don’t work as hard, and it’s crazy down here coming from Europe, but they got the COVID right.
Frank Curzio: They got it right, and they opened up earlier than everybody, except for Georgia, they opened up in May. As cases spiked, they pulled back a little bit. Then they reopened basically everything, and now you’re seeing our economy do very well and we’re seeing cases come down, hospitalization rates come down in Florida. But right now the spikes that we’re seeing in these cases are happening in the Midwest. Why? Because they’re reopening, they didn’t have this yet. They are reopening and now that’s what’s going to happen. Because I know all you’re reading right now is about how cases hit a new record. This is important for your portfolio, guys, so put politics aside because all you’re reading is, cases hitting a new record in the US, you should be worried, it’s the end of the world. I’m actually hearing that.
Frank Curzio: Let’s look at the data, which is all you should care about, and I care about, again, it’s data. You’re going to have your opinion, if you weigh left, weigh right, you’re going to think whatever you’re going to think, I’ll never change your mind even if I present perfect facts in front of you. If I’m wearing a red shirt and I’m like, “Here’s my red shirt, everyone can see it.” You’re going to be like, “It’s blue, I don’t care.” I’m not talking to you people, there’s no way you’ll change your mind, I don’t give a shit. My job is to present the data, this way we can make better decisions, especially about our investments.
Frank Curzio: When you look at the data, it’s obvious cases are rising. More states are opening up, we’re testing more people than ever, but the key thing, the most important gauge is death rate as a percentage, it continues to decline. Why is that? Because the people who are getting it and going out are people outside the danger zone. The danger zone is people over 70, which we know this impacts, and people who have underlying conditions. These are the people we need to protect. Anybody outside of the danger zone, COVID is like a bad flu.
Frank Curzio: 99% of these people are going to be okay if they get COVID, just like every actor that got COVID that had made an announcement, just like every athlete that’s got COVID and made an announcement, just like almost all the people you know personally who are under 70, with no underlying conditions who got COVID and are now perfectly fine. Just like I’m watching my kids go to school and they’re handling it great. The people who are like, “Well, I’m still cautious.” Now they’re saying, “Wow, this seems to be working, the kids aren’t getting COVID.”
Frank Curzio: But again, when you look and you see what’s out there, record cases, of course. There are exceptions, I know nobody wants to see more people die from COVID, but the alternative, locking down businesses again, which is taking place across Europe. Jeremy just announced that they’re closing bars now again, closing businesses again. Some parts of Asia, even some states, New York, California, Colorado, Texas, are four states that are rolling back. They had opened up to a certain capacity, they’re rolling it back now a little bit. But the alternative here, which is what you have to focus on, what’s the best solution for Americans? Because the alternative, locking down everything, you see more deaths in terms of combined suicides, depression, domestic abuse, the stats are out there.
Frank Curzio: Have you seen the latest statistics on cancer rates? Hospitals have stopped screening for breast cancer, all types of cancers. Screening, this isn’t someone who never had cancer before and saying, “Okay, screen me.” These are people like my wife, who’s a cancer survivor, who has to get screened every nine months, it could be a year, six months, whatever. But now they’re cancer free and they need to get screened, which could be three months later, six months later, and yet they’re not getting screened.
Frank Curzio: Organ transplants have been on hold, surgeries, brain surgery, they’ve been put on hold right now. It’s insane you have to look at the whole picture, you can’t just look, “Wow. Still there’s going to be a lot of people that die from COVID, and we don’t need another 100,000 deaths.” The alternative of locking down everything and praying for a vaccine that’s going to be 95% effective. If you close down this economy guys, holy cow. Now, we have the election coming up, and stocks falling this week pretty sharply, down 10% off their highs, the S&P 500. The top headline, they’re saying markets are falling because COVID cases are spiking. That’s what you’re reading everywhere. That’s horseshit.
Frank Curzio: That’s the reason why you listen to this podcast. You want to listen to everything else, everyone’s saying the same thing, go listen to them, fine. I’m here to tell you the real story with no agenda. Like I said, cases are going to rise as you open up the economy, it makes perfect sense. The people getting COVID are people outside the danger zone, which is not a terrible thing because the only solution to ending COVID, if we don’t get a vaccine, is going to be through herd immunity, which we’re still very far from that.
Frank Curzio: That’s the only way. What do you think? Everyone’s going to wear masks and stay in for nine months and just go out and everything’s going to be fine and it’s going to be completely gone? Are you crazy? That’s not going to happen. That COVID case are rising should not be a surprise given more states are opening up their economies, and we know a lot more about this disease, where 99% of people who get it outside of the danger zone are to going to be fine. You say, “Frank, why the market’s selling off?” I’m going to tell you, and before you get pissed off, please listen, because I don’t have an agenda here, I promise you.
Frank Curzio: But the market is selling off for one key reason. It’s because Biden is leading in key battleground states across the polls. And the Democrats are also projected to sweep. Okay? Take up the Senate, they have the House already. I’m not being political here, hear me out. Before you send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m an asshole, “You love Trump.” Before you send me that, hear me out, because this isn’t coming from me, this is what Wall Street is telling their clients, Goldman, Bank of America, JPMorgan. I know because I have access to these people, I have access to these reports, I read them thoroughly. It’s amazing to me they are publishing these reports all of a sudden this week. And from someone who’s been doing this for a long time, you don’t see sentiment change this quickly because it was projected two weeks ago that “Hey, a Biden win is actually going to be good for Wall Street.”
Frank Curzio: These guys are sending notes out that, “Hey,” again, all of a sudden, that a Biden win along with a Democratic Senate and House is no longer good for equities. Now I’m going to break this down in detail of what they’re saying, because money’s coming off the table. You look at money flows, Bank of America tracks. They’re pulling back, they’re selling stuff. It’s like a change in sentiment over the past week. And with Biden leading, there’s a lot more stuff coming out. And a lot of this has happened after the debate. So again, it’s not a political statement, I’m telling you what the Street is telling their clients along with corporate surveys of leading CEOs who also believe, most of them, that a Democratic sweep could create some massive headwinds for the stock market. I’m going to break down the data, why they’re saying this, why we could see a 15 to 20% pullback in the markets, we’re already down 10% from the highs. I’m telling you, when I break it down, it’s going to make a lot of sense to you.
Frank Curzio: So no matter what side you’re on, if you give a shit about your portfolio, not about politics, please listen to my educational segment. I’ve been telling you to protect yourself for the past few weeks through a money flow trader newsletter, which is, it doesn’t only provide you with hedges against a pullback, but can make you hundreds of percent of weeks, months just like Genia did when the market crashed in March. That’s why I created this newsletter, it’s a great way to hedge yourself. I’m not selling it here. I already provided a great offer for you. I’m not selling at a discount price right now. So I’m just telling you, you want to protect yourself because in this market, when we see pullbacks, they happen rapidly. We’re down 10% from the highs in a week, how quick is that? In March, it was like three weeks. Over the past 10 years, our massive declines of more than 10% have taken place in a couple of weeks. It’s not this long drawn out recession that takes forever. No, it’s not like that.
Frank Curzio: But this change in sentiment, I’m telling you, from someone who’s been doing this for two decades, who reads these reports, who has access to the reports. It’s weird. You don’t really see it change that sudden. It surprised me given that these same firms was saying that a Biden win would be good for stocks just a few weeks ago. I’m going to break this down a little bit, along with a special election preview, getting my educational segment. Before we get to that, have something exciting to announce. Finally, our Curzio Equity Owners security token, it’s going to go free trading tomorrow on the MERJ Exchange. M-E-R-J, that’s how you spell MERJ Exchange where we become, I think, I’m pretty sure it is, but I hate using absolute terms, especially now we’re going to be publicly traded company. The first security token in the world of trading and global exchange, it’s available for retail investors to purchase.
Frank Curzio: This has been a long journey, actually feels long. It hasn’t been that long. It’s like two years and about 15 months after we closed our security token offering, but only 15 months later, we’re going to go free trading. And now all of you be able to own our CEO token if you’d like, it’s going to give investors, give you an equity stake in a growing financial media company, which is pretty cool. You don’t really have access to that in our industry. And we plan on paying a dividend going forward, already paid off first quality dividend to private shareholders two months ago. And that dividend on annual basis is more than what the S&P 500 is paying. Which has to own a growth company that generates income or intends on PEGA dividend I have to say, but really exciting stuff.
Frank Curzio: And I want to thank all of you for all the support. You’ve been hearing me talk about it a lot, man, new regulations in place, new things going on. When you’re doing something new and trying to disrupt an industry like investment banking, that’s been that crazy. It so tightly knit for such a long time. It hasn’t been disrupted in hundreds of years. Requires a lot of work and I want to thank my team. I want to thank you guys and some really, really cool stuff, but that’s going to be trading tomorrow. I’ll talk about that a little bit more later on, but launch it on the MERJ Exchange.
Frank Curzio: And my special guest is Jim Needham. So Jim’s a head of digital strategies, MERJ. Someone we’re in contact with almost every single day over the past six, seven months. MERJ happens to be the fastest growing exchange in the world, dealing with major banks, tons of compliance. But after this interview, you will have a much better understanding on why digital securities are the future. And why I put my name and reputation on the line to encourage your research into a digital security, to where anyone can now become an equity investor in our company. And let’s get to that interview with Jim right now. Jim Needham thanks so much for joining us on Wall Street Unplugged.
Jim Needham: Hey Frank, it’s great to be on.
Frank Curzio: Well before we start, since you’re a first-time guest, why don’t you give us a little background? You’ve been in banking, finance, been in it pretty close to two decades, I believe in primary, secondary capital markets in London. But why don’t you give us a little bit of background this way everybody gets to know you, since you are a first-time guest?
Jim Needham: No problem. Yeah, you’ve got it pretty much nail on the head there. I studied law at university and then from uni, I went straight to work at an investment banking at Morgan Stanley in London, and I was involved there and that’s Kleinwort Benson, as well. I did investment banking, the stuff you do at the junior end of your career, lots of pitch decks and Excel spreadsheets, but it was a great grounding in the whole financial services industry. And it was a fantastic team of people to learn from. So I ended up specializing in equity capital markets in particular equity linked stuff, so that’s convertible bonds and exchangeable bonds. Did that for a few years. It’s been pretty big name issuances convertible bonds, it was a big space then after the collapse of the tech bubble. So I lived through the tech bubble sitting in an investment bank in London.
Jim Needham: And then I moved on to the secondary side and I spent the next 12 years as a salesman of equity derivatives, mainly for large cap, European companies, servicing investment banks, trading desks, hedge funds, market makers. And then 2016, I had my eye turned by what was going on in the crypto space really, or more to the fact I was actually alerted to the fact that I had a complete ignorance with the space altogether. And I ended up signing up for a course that Oxford university were running, which is a blockchain program. And they taught you everything from just literally the ABCs of what blockchain is and all the way through to putting together a strategic framework for what blockchain can be used for. And I came out of the other side of that and ended up joining the MERJ team who building something just fantastically interesting. And it was a perfect sort of synthesis of the career that I’d had in this new skill set that I developed doing this a blockchain program.
Frank Curzio: When did you know, Jim, that, your individual securities, because I’m going to say it, even though you worked in London, the Wall Street side. So the Wall Street side of investment banking, I think even today, people are finally starting to realize, you’re seeing Bitcoin go even higher. You’re seeing more companies adopt where it’s PayPal, Square and now you’re actually seeing JPMorgan totally flip it and be so positive on blockchain, but getting that Wall Street over to the digital size heart? Was just by taking this class at Oxford afterwards? And when did you know this thing was for real and it’s going to be big and it has the potential to be huge?
Jim Needham: Everybody talks about going down the rabbit hole. And when you first grasp what blockchain does, what it’s good for, what this decentralized approach is capable of, it’s just a massive eye-opener and you just see this world of opportunity, really, because everything you look at, you think, “Wow, that could be done better.” And, and I think anybody who spends the time… I was actually advised by a mate who said, “Just go and lock yourself in a room for a day and just read about Bitcoin and blockchain and try and get your head round it.” And it was the best advice I was ever given because it is really, you have this breakthrough moment where you’re like, “Wow, this is going to change everything.”
Frank Curzio: I can identify with you because again, being from Wall Street and then seeing this, I wasn’t crazy about utility tokens, it just the compliance, it wasn’t enough information on the industry, you don’t get equity stakes. But then when I really started digging this security tokens and even talking to my great contacts, I know for decades, same thing, I was like, “Hey, this is really exciting stuff. What am I missing here?” And then when they all started, they’re like, “Wow, this is pretty cool. The only thing you really need is for this to be adopted and liquidity, but the idea just makes sense on every single level.”
Frank Curzio: And what was your choice? What made you join MERJ? Because I think with that Wall Street background and now into digital securities, I would think right now there’s a lot of companies, a lot of major firms out there that want to get into digital securities and want to learn more about it. So, what made you choose MERJ? And talk about that story, which is, we’re using MERJ right now. We’re going to be launching on your exchange rug, Curzio Equity Owners token, but I’d love to hear that story because I don’t think I’ve heard that story yet.
Jim Needham: So I think, it ties back to what you were saying there about utility tokens. So there’s a huge amount of potential in this technology, but you also need the, you can’t throw everything out from the old world, the world of regulation and investor protections is all there for very good reasons. And so I think the only way that this was going to work is if you’re combining a recognized traditional regulatory framework that is established and works. And you’re combining that with the technology. And MERJ had a really fantastic, almost unique opportunity to do that and was probably on to doing that far earlier than most of their competitors out there. So that’s what attracted me to joining them because they had the regulatory framework to do it properly, but they also had the foresight and the ability to start to use this technology and a select way in a way that I think most major markets around the world hadn’t got the ability to do that.
Frank Curzio: So now, MERJ Exchange, you are cooperated in Seychelles in 2011. So the exchange went live in 2011, in 2012, talk a little bit about Seychelles because, and also talk about MERJ where you’re an exchange. And I think even from my group of people and investors, they think there’s a big difference between alternative trading platform, which is what you’re seeing with the tZEROs and stuff like that. And even open finances compared to, you have an actual exchange in terms of regulation, but talk about that process and even being in Seychelles, because some people may look at it and say, “Wow, you’re already in the Seychelles,” but we went through the regulatory process, it was unbelievable as a magazine. But why don’t you talk about, and tell us a little bit about.
Jim Needham: Should I start by giving you a bit of a history of MERJ because that probably lays it all out, would that makes sense?
Frank Curzio: Yeah, that’s great. Good.
Jim Needham: Yeah. So it goes back to as early as 2009. And it was after the global financial crisis, there was an economic reform program put in place in the Seychelles, which was a project that was backed by the likes of the World Bank and the IMF. And it was really to try and regenerate and diversify the Seychelles economy post-crisis. And the central part of that was to build a securities market, which the Seychelles didn’t have. So there was a drive to build a financial services sector in the Seychelles. And in order to do that, they needed to establish a securities market. So the government put out an RFP to exchange operators globally for someone to establish and operate the Seychelles national securities market infrastructure.
Jim Needham: So people often ask, “Why are you guys in the Seychelles? And it’s not so much that MERJ chose the Seychelles. It’s more that the Seychelles needed a securities market and the MERJ team were the right people to build it. So this thing started back in 2011, like you say, was when MERJ was incorporated, but there were a few years before that applications and quite a lot of heavy duty stuff. But it launched in 2011, first listing was 2013. But really it’s been a collaborative effort between everybody in the Seychelles, the government, the ministry of finance, the central bank, the regulators, and us to build everything that you need to have a regulated securities market. So that’s the sort of background to it and it began as a, it was to service the domestic market to list hotel groups, banks, insurance companies. But the MERJ team always had an eye on… This was an opportunity to start building a stock exchange from the ground up in 2011.
Jim Needham: And so it was a great opportunity to do something a little bit different and a key part of that was to leverage technology where possible to try and reduce costs, to try and reduce the administrative burden. But another thing that was a major principle from the beginning was not to be as insular as some stock exchanges are around the world. We deliberately built the whole framework so that we could work with regulated partners from all around the world, as long as they’re in jurisdictions that we recognize and to work in a way that encouraged people to participate in our ecosystem, it’s a multicurrency market. And we welcome infrastructure providers, sponsors, members, broker dealers from all around the world, as long as they’re regulated in their jurisdiction, they can become parts of MERJ’s ecosystem. So that was really what the goal was at the beginning in 2011, was to build this kind of global stock exchange venue.
Frank Curzio: And talk about the difference between the stock exchange venue compared to alternative trading platform. Because we know that now, because we went through the due diligence process, which was extremely thorough, which is great. But we like that. I think if someone’s going to come on exchange, you need to go through this process, we want more transparency. And if you’re doing the right thing, everything, it’s good. But the due diligence process was absolutely incredible. But talk about that difference. And also maybe you can talk about the regulations in Seychelles, regulations for you being an exchange. And the process that you have to go through is a lot more stringent than just being an alternative trading platform.
Jim Needham: Sure. So an alternative trading system is the similarities with what we do. An ATS matches buyers and sellers on a regulated venue. The difference is, an ATS isn’t regulated as an exchange. They usually run by a broker dealer and you’ll notice in the U.S., they’re not referred to as exchanges, they’re referred to as secondary market venues or trading venues. Whereas what MERJ is, is an exchange, it’s regulated as an exchange. And I think the key points of differences, like you mentioned there about the process you have to go through, exchanges have to have a set of listing rules. NASDAQ has got its listing rules, New York Stock Exchange has got its listing rules. Now issuers have to go through the process laid out in the listing rules and they have to meet all the criteria and they have to tick all the boxes that are laid out there.
Jim Needham: And that’s what it is to be a primary listing venue. And once an issue has gone through that process and has met the listing rules, and that’s initially when they list, but also there’s ongoing obligations which they’ll have to stick to. Then the security transitions to becoming an exchange listed security. And that’s a different status to securities that are unlisted. And there’s some key benefits, for example, institutional investment mandates would often stipulate they can only invest in exchange listed securities. So you’re opening up the pool of capital that can access your security quite significantly by going through this listing process on a recognized stock exchange venue.
Frank Curzio: And you are an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, why is that such a big deal?
Jim Needham: Well, I’ll tell you a little bit about the way we’re regulated. So we’re regulated as an exchange. We’re also regulated as a clearing agency and a securities facility and depository. So we’ve got all the infrastructure that’s required to run a securities market. In the U.S., you have different pieces, you have New York Stock Exchange and then DCC running these different pieces. So we have the licenses to run the whole thing from end to end, which is a great advantage if you want to support something like distributed ledger technology. But our regulatory framework is almost a bit supranational really because it’s all regulation, the whole point of it is investor protection. That’s what it’s all focused on.
Jim Needham: And a lot of these policies come from… Locally we’re regulated by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority, but they are themselves an associate of an international body called IOSCO, that’s the International Organization of Securities Commissions, I think. Now, IOSCO lay out the standards and principles for securities market regulators globally. So the SEC is a member, CFTC is a member. So a lot of these policies and principles that we have to live up to are global, they’re international principles. So we’ve got IOSCO, who’s sort of the top of the triangle. Then there are other bodies like the Financial Action Task Force, the OECD who are also laying out these international principles that operators of market infrastructure have to live up to. So our regulatory framework is really not that different from other markets that you’d be more familiar with around the world.
Jim Needham: You mentioned the World Federation of Exchanges. So that’s a global body that is a trade body for operators of securities markets. It’s for exchanges, it’s not for ATSs. And there’s a set of principles and guidelines and standards, which they want all their members and affiliates to live up to. So it’s a real sort of badge of honor that is recognized between affiliates and members, that you’re part of this group. We’re also part of other bodies like ANNA, which is the Association of National Numbering Agencies. They’re the guys that allow you to be an in vice in numbers. And if you look at the other members of ANNA around the world, it’s the likes of the London Stock Exchange, CUSIP, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Clearstream, Euroclear, big mainstays of the global markets, and these are not lightweight organizations.
Jim Needham: So there’s a ton of checks and balances and all the things that we have to do have to be really buttoned down to be able to become part of these organizations. To give you an idea, we started our journey with ANNA in 2013 and became a full member this year. So these things are, they’re heavy duty processes. OTC markets in the U.S., we’re recognized as a qualifying for an exchange. And it’s because we’ve been through lots of these processes with lots of these organizations, OTC markets are able to look at who we are, what we do, how we do things and say, “Yes, we can recognize the standards that are in place at MERJ.” So in a way the regulatory framework we adhere to is a kind of supranational one, rather than specifically a Seychelles one.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. And Jim, I appreciate you sharing all of that because… And my audiences is right now, they’re probably almost falling asleep because we’re going through regulations and stuff, but it’s very important. Because we’re talking about Crypto and a lot of people, especially with the utility tokens have done it the wrong way, and you see a lot of things show up. But everyone that’s listening to this right now, a lot of you have requested, I’ve been telling you about this process that we’re going to be launching the MERJ Exchange. I want to say, it’s going to be Thursday, which is tomorrow. So, which is very exciting, but I want people to understand what we went through and what you went through in order to do this. And the background checks and the compliance issues, because for me, and I always said this to you and you agree, it’s the most important thing for me was compliance and transparency.
Frank Curzio: Because once you have that with this industry, I really think that this is going to be a trillion dollar plus industry. It just makes sense on every single level when you’re looking at digital assets. And I wanted to congratulate you because even with MERJ, I believe you have over 40 listings. It’s over a $1.4 billion total market cap of everything listed there. And world’s fastest growing exchange from 2019 to 2020, which is amazing. It shows you guys are doing the right thing, but let’s talk about security tokens to the point because you have just regular securities trading on there.
Frank Curzio: And now we’re looking at security tokens where I believe we might be the fourth listed there, the Curzio Equity Owners token. If you could transition a little bit into that, because it seems like that platform, your exchange that trades both, securities derivatives and also security tokens, but where do you see this industry going from here in terms of security tokens? Because again, you only have four listed now, but having this as an exchange, instead of going to trading platform and having that transparency and those extra layers of compliance, I can see your exchange really taking off now.
Jim Needham: Yeah. We see it as quite important that we support both types of security. And the way we always… When we approached our regulator in 2015 to say, “We think distributed ledger technology could be a great tool for us. We’re running a multicurrency, multiproduct, multi-jurisdictional platform. And this idea of one source of truth for the ownership of securities makes huge sense. And it we’ve always wanted to use technology to strip out costs, strip out unnecessary administrative burden. And this is just a really good tool for doing it.” So when we engage with our regulators, the way we pitched it to them is that we’re not changing anything about the definition of a security. It’s the same rights, obligations, reporting requirements, et cetera. What we’re changing is the method of recording ownership. And I think that that was an important point. And I think securities regulators around the world are coming to the same conclusion that we’re not creating a new asset class here. We’re just using a new technology, which is an evolution of the old technology to do it in a better way.
Jim Needham: So we got approval last year. It was a three year process of educating the regulator what the technology does, what the risks are of using it, the ways that you mitigate those risks and so on. But right now, if I was an issuer, it makes so much sense to use this technology. If I was an issuer and I was about to do a listed company in the next year, I’d look at…
Jim Needham: The landscape and I think we’ll, do I want to use yesterday’s technology or do I want to use tomorrow’s technology? Because there are so many, apart from the basic functionality of using a distributed ledger, you’ve got all these new things that we can’t imagine yet. New business models, new incentive models, new ways of reporting, new ways of auditing all these new things that can be built into a dynamic token that can’t be built into a static security, and that’s going to be what drives the next generation of new companies, I think.
Jim Needham: You go back 20 years, you couldn’t imagine what the power of the combination of a smartphone and a mobile network would do, but here we are 20 years later and the likes of Airbnb and Uber, you could never, you wouldn’t have even conceived that these companies could exist, but here they are. And the top you’ve got your Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet, Google. What’s the other one? The FAANG stocks, Apple, that’s it. These companies are all built on that combination of smartphone technology and fast networks and mobile networks, and I think in 20 years’ time, the biggest companies in the world would have been the ones that identified that there’s a real opportunity right now to harness this technology to create entirely new business models that we can’t even think of today.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. And, you mentioned for the issue is like us for, I mean, the costs that we saved were incredible where it’s extremely expensive, and even to list on something like the NASDAQ and New York stock exchange, I mean we probably have to generate a lot more in revenue than we generate instead a few million dollars. They want you a lot bigger. The times a lot of these companies come out. So the issue is it’s great from a cost perspective, and you would talk about the technology which is amazing, or the new technology, but even for us, it allowed us to raise money as a small company, and why is that benefit actually investors? Is you’re getting into our company at a very, very early stage where listen, it is risky.
Frank Curzio: Maybe people stopped buying newsletters and a publishing industry doesn’t work and nobody likes me on this podcast anymore, but it gives me an opportunity to really raise money to grow our business, and it also gives the people who are investing in a company opportunity to get in on the ground floor, right. I think that’s so important, Jim, because you’ve been in the capital markets, you’re seeing what’s going on, like even the Airbnb” who are going to go public, but even the Uber’s, Snowflake at, what, a $50 billion valuation, Alibaba is going to have like one of the biggest IPO’s ever at 30 if they can raise $37 billion by the time these things go public and, the average retail investor could buy these things. I mean, you’re talking about a lot of that growth already gone where that’s kind of seen as that IPO is almost like a liquidity event for everyone who bought it really early. You know, I just think it checks off every single box. I mean, would you agree with that?
Jim Needham: I couldn’t agree more. I mean, it’s actually a major social problem, right? Because actually the growth of these mega successful companies, lots of it has been captured in the private markets. And really we need to share that growth. They need to be shared more in the public markets, because we need our pension funds really to be able to benefit from this upside, not just from the last 5% they need the 80000% or whatever it was with Amazon. And I think this is a tool for bringing sort of, it blows the lines doesn’t it a little bit between what’s public and what’s private market. But I think if you’ve got something with the regulatory framework around it that we have, that means you have the status as a listed security, but also you have this technology which is able to bring the accessibility down and make it available to a wider audience. I think you’re just redressing the balance a little bit there, and you’re bringing this opportunities to get into these companies to a big and important piece of the population.
Frank Curzio: So let’s get into, so we’re going to be listing tomorrow on it, which is Thursday and Curzio Equity Owners token, and we’ve been saying, Hey, we’re almost ready. We’re almost there. We’re almost there. And again, we were talking, we just want to make sure we check off all the boxes and more important, we want to make it as easy as possible. Right. I mean, just to throw it out there, two months ago, and then people are going to be asking questions, well, how do I sign up for account? And how do I do that? Let’s cover that right now. So somebody wants to actually trade my token to trade anything else on your exchange. How could they do that? Could you take us through that process?
Jim Needham: Yeah. I mean, we’ve tried to make it pretty streamlined. You go to our website, MERJ.exchange, and you go through the process to create a new account, and that’s the sort of familiar onboarding process that most people will be aware of, customer due diligence, KYC, AML, all those processes, but if you’ve got all the information at your fingertips, it’s a 10 minute job and then it generally takes a sort of 24 hours to process those applications, and you’ll get an email welcoming you to the MERJ ecosystem as a direct participant.
Frank Curzio: Yeah, Mm-hmm.
Jim Needham: Once that’s done, you’ve actually got access to all the markets available and our boards that are open to your jurisdiction, and it’s a question of funding your account. And, it’s execution only platform, Frank. So people have to do their own, you know, they have to do their own research. So in the case of the CEO token, they need to read your materials. They need to read the disclosures, the listing particulars, and so on to understand the product, but all that information is there and that’s a core part of the listing process. All that information has to be out there for people to be able to access, but once they’re comfortable and they want to make the decision, then it’s a question of funding your accounts and putting a bit in the market.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. It’s pretty interesting because you’re saying that they have to do the due diligence where if they clicked, Curzio research, they can go over everything and everything would be list, but it’s so funny how that seems so natural for guys like us who are in the familiar with investment banking. You’ve been in the industry your whole life, but then when I look at some of these utility tokens, you have no idea how much cash to have on hand. You have no idea what they’re spending it on. Again, you’re not getting an equity stake.
Frank Curzio: There’s just no transparency there where this, I mean, for us, we want to do it right, because, and I think, same way you guys to the point where you see this industry where it does check all those boxes, and we’re talking about industry for what I see it as the investment banking industry. One of the few industries that hasn’t really been disrupted by technology by the internet is as much where, these are middlemen that provide, “hey, you want to raise money, okay, we’re going to give you the people,” and then they collect a fee, but everything that we’re doing, even if it’s Expedia or whatever, those margins are getting small, because it’s almost direct person to person, which is kind of amazing, but I want to ask you in terms of MERJ, and this is where I’m going with this. Where do you see this industry? Where do you see MERJ, where you see your exchange in three years in 10 years? I mean, how big do you think this could actually get?
Jim Needham: Well, good question. I mean, I think that, as I said before, this technology just makes perfect sense for the securities markets. It’s kind of crazy that it’s not the default already, but I think certainly in five years’ time, people won’t talk about security tokens. It’ll just be securities. It’ll just be how the markets operate. I think from MERJ’s perspective, I mean, what we’ve always wanted to do is just build a place where investors from around the world can access interesting opportunities in a regulated way. So, what we want to do is just add to that pool of possibilities. So we want a deep and liquid pool of high quality issue as that people can access. That’s what we’re trying to build.
Jim Needham: I mean, we’ve grown, you mentioned it earlier. We’ve grown, we’ve grown pretty fast over the last few years, but as we’ve been going for 10, so it’s one of those sort of overnight success stories that’s taken 10 years of hard work, but we’ve grown to I think 1.6 billion is the market cap now, and the pipeline of people we’ve got approaching us looking to issue with us, I mean, the sky’s the limit to be honest with you Frank, I think we did a small cap raise last year, early this year and our goal for the end of year five is to have a total capitalization of 30 billion US. And the way things are going at the moment, I think that’s very achievable.
Jim Needham: The other thing that we want to do is make sure we use this technology to widen the pool of people who can access this even to as many as possible. So we’re based in Africa, lots of the African population have never had, you know, fixed line computers or stockbrokers, but they’ve all got a smartphone. And what we really want to do is engage that demographic in the capital markets in a way that’s been so successful in China, for example, over the last few years. I think that’s one thing that’s really high up our agenda is to really engage with that demographic.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. I mean, I would consider that, you know, retail investors, but and how many countries, even for our token when we launch, I mean, how many countries will be available to you through the MERJ exchange?
Jim Needham: I haven’t got a number at my fingertips, but there’s a handful of countries which are sanctioned, for obvious reasons, but most countries that fall under the IOSCO umbrella of regulation. So they’re regulated by an IOSCO regulator are recognized by MERJ. So we would, we would accept participants from, from those jurisdictions. So it’s a lot,
Frank Curzio: And I didn’t mean to put you on the spot, but it is pretty cool that, New York Stock Exchange is just not the easiest for investors and other countries to buy it is right, just like it’s difficult for us to buy securities and other places, in Japan, what we can do with ETFs and stuff here, but not directly there, it’s just… To me, that’s pretty incredible that, that it is a global exchange, and you know, which we really didn’t touch on too much, but that’s kind of amazing that that’s awesome. So, I want to say, dealing with you, dealing with your company. I mean, probably around a six month process around that now, sometimes I was like, man, these guys are paying the asses because, it’s dotting every, I crossing every T and, you know, that’s exactly what we wanted.
Frank Curzio: And, I’m really, really excited to be launching in your exchange. I just want to say, thank you for everything. I know we’ve asked you thousands of questions, and you’ve been there for us for a long time, and I’m sure there’s people listening to this, to small companies. I’m getting tons, lots and lots of companies and people who run their own companies asking me about this process. They want to make sure… They want to say, if I fall flat on my face first, we’re actually launching, they are coming to me and asking me, how do we do this process? How does this work? Cause this makes so much sense. And I think you’re right. I could see the growth in, in your exchange, over the next few years be extraordinary. So I’m really excited for you guys. And I just want to say, thanks for a lot for allowing us to be soliciting on your exchange and really look forward to tomorrow as well.
Jim Needham: Thanks, Frank. I got to say the feeling’s mutual, actually, if the whole MERJ team have enjoyed our interactions with you and kind of wish all in all issues were as well-prepared, and as committed to doing things the way you’ve done from the word go. So we sort of take a hat off to you as well.
Frank Curzio: Thanks. I appreciate that. And last thing here, if someone wants to learn more about your exchange, is it just to go to the website? What’s easiest way to do that.
Jim Needham: Yeah, I mean, I think it is just to go to the website, MERJ.exchange. There’s a lot of information on there. And there’s, there’s a few email addresses on there. So if you want, if you want to spark up a conversation with us, ping an email probably best is to support MERJ exchange from one of the team, or we’ll get back to you straight away.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. And for all you out there, email@example.com is my email address. If you have any questions, and I could actually introduce you to Jim personally, I’ll vet these guys and make sure that they’re very serious about that. They won’t waste their time, but in case you want more information, you can do it that way as well. But Jim, I want to thank you for coming on. We have a big time difference here.
Frank Curzio: So I appreciate it.
Jim Needham: No worries.
Frank Curzio: Did this interview cross country, but I know we’re going to be talking a lot in the future. And again, I just want to say, thanks for letting us listen to this change. Look forward to tomorrow. And I appreciate you coming on the podcast, buddy.
Jim Needham: Thanks a lot, Frank.
Frank Curzio: And great stuff from Jim, and MERJ was great to work with. You could see how big this could be in terms of digital assets. And you’ve seen the regulatory process now come into play, especially in the U.S. Sorry about going deep into the regulatory process, but I want anyone, all you, if you choose to invest in our token to understand this market, right, which is Seychelles just off the east coast of Africa, which could be a little scary, but MERJ in terms of, going with the licenses needs to that. It needed basically to launch their exchange was 2001, 2012 long time ago, right? Build this company to where they are today. They deal with the largest banks in the country, which is a global giant on par with some of the biggest banks in the US. And this is an exchange.
Frank Curzio: So a level of safety is there. It’s not a utility token where you can’t find any information about a company burn rate, insider ownership, nothing like that. You need a proper license to be an exchange where tZERO, Openfinance, or alternative trading platforms. It’s different. You need licenses, but it’s not as stringent as what we had to go to this exchange because it is an actual exchange. So for us, going through this process, I truly believe is going to open a door to so many smaller companies doing it this way, digital assets, real estate companies. We’re seeing that across the board, globally, bond and debt offerings, are going to follow our lead, go digital, due too much lower costs, which benefits the issuers. And we’re looking at 10 X, the amount of costs. I won’t throw the exact numbers at 10 X. That’s how much it would cost us more…
Frank Curzio: If we did this on an exchange, compared to how we’re doing it this way. And then you say, well, what’s the benefit for investors while you’re able to invest in a small company during the very early stages of growth? Why is that important? Well, look at Uber, look at Snowflake. Alibaba is going to be one of the biggest, right? So whatever part that is, it’s 35 billion or something they’re looking to raise. So, so many of these companies, when they IPO, the first day of trading, they come out of multi-billion dollar valuations, where individual investors can only buy these things. After a lot of that growth has taken place. And really it’s a liquidity event for those people where snowflake comes out at 250, right? It’s supposed to launch at 125, it came out 250. That’s the price that you could have bought it as an individual investor.
Frank Curzio: Yet there’s people that bought this thing for 5, 10, 15, who was selling, dying to sell it to you. You know, wouldn’t, you rather get in with some of these guys? That’s what market offers you. And it should offer you because all you’re doing with investment banks, they’re middlemen, they’re brilliant people, they have contacts with very wealthy people. But, hey, I have a company going to IPO, okay, we’ll do the road show with you. And I, we’re going to introduce you to people, they are middlemen. And if you could eliminate that the costs are going to come down dramatically. And now we’re seeing this thing across the board. Digital security is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And its market is starting to take off still super, super early. And we were really early, which, I was a little nervous about, but I’m just excited for my team.
Frank Curzio: Excited for everyone. Tomorrow is going to be our launch. And I will be sharing more details through emails and stuff like that with you. And again, I just want to say, thanks for all the support on this. Now let’s move on. Because I talked about earlier, which I probably pissed off a lot of Democrats, hear me out. It’s not political. But I talked about how TheStreet is warning their clients. When I say TheStreet, that’s the institutional firms Bank of America, J.P.Morgan, Goldman. They just, this just happened over the past week that a democratic sweep could provide lots of headwinds for the equity market. And I truly believe that’s why the market’s selling off so much. It’s not because COVID cases are rising. Because again, when you look at the data, of course, they’re going to rise a rising, an interstates that haven’t really opened up yet, mostly in the Midwest.
Frank Curzio: And we saw the same thing happen in Texas and in Florida. And now we’re not seeing those huge rates anymore. Coming down, death rate is down. This is expected. This should be expected. Again, I know what you’re reading out there and it’s crazy, but this should be expected and they should be priced into the markets. But what’s not priced in is if Biden wins. And now we’re getting closer and you’re seeing these percentages and everyone say, well, the polls, the polls, the polls were wrong last time, wrong. Let’s say the Democrats know the polls were wrong last time as well, They not going to let up like Hillary Clinton let up last year where she decided not to go to Wisconsin and Michigan and thought Trump was crazy and laughing at him, right? And then she’s wind up… You know, she just didn’t work as hard.
Frank Curzio: She didn’t campaign as hard, especially the past final days. You could argue that with Biden to be a little bit more while Trump’s going out three events a day. But here’s the difference when you’re looking at the facts: Biden wins, we’ll see lots of selling until the end of the year, given that capital gains taxes are going to rise considerably next year, right? It’s a Biden said, this is going to happen. So it’s about institutions looking to sell. Also, if we take away the stimulus of $6 trillion injected into our system, central government, that’s six trillion. It’s like 6 trillion. If you take Japan, if you take Asia central governments, 6 trillion, 6 trillion is 30% of GDP. If we take that out of the market, we would be in a massive recession right now, 25% unemployment rate easily.
Frank Curzio: And what do we have? Biden’s running on raising taxes on people who make more than 400,000, right? Something that he said. Well, these are people who usually own businesses, provide jobs for people. And they’re expected to be taxed over 60% if they live in New York and California, which is going to result in these people, doing what? They’re going to move to income tax free-states like Florida, Texas, Nevada, Washington. But what does it mean for people in California, in New York? If this happens well, how do you generate revenue as a state? Through taxes. Well, if you’re taking the rich people out who provide the jobs, and all the jobs are going to go to Florida and Texas and Nevada, and again, it’s about seven or eight states, I think, where taxes are much lower, no income tax. How are they going to generate revenue? To make up that difference, going to have to raise taxes even further on those regular folks, right?
Frank Curzio: Simple math. That’s just going to happen to people saying, whoa, wait a second. Plus, after the debate, or during the debate, Biden said, look, we need to take a more conservative approach on COVID. And I thought he won that part of the debate against Trump, but now that’s being taken as rolling back. These are putting those restrictions in place again, in terms of what businesses can open and at what capacity. Now, we’re already burned through a lot of the money. There is money on the sideline of the fiscal side, but we really need this stimulus to come out. Now you’re seeing that. There’s a reason why MasterCard, Visa… I mean, you had a lot of companies come out, which is surprising, right? And that’s because numbers are bad, but… Which doesn’t indicate the economy is really, rebounding, sharp, like everyone’s saying.
Frank Curzio: But when you’re looking at these companies, they’re not offering guidance still because they don’t know what’s going to happen. If we don’t get the stimulus, we’re talking about 1.8 trillion, this market is going to get crushed, at least in the short-term, until we hopefully get a vaccine. After going to Disney, I’m telling you: People, aren’t going to stand for this. They’re not going to close your business again, or business that took decades to build, when only 1% of the population is at risk of dying of catching COVID. You may say, well, Frank, okay, well, the stimulus is on the way. 1.8 trillion, at least, that’s on the table right now. Maybe it’s a little bit more than that, but it’s going to take place once the election is over, which is going to support the economy we need, right? And that’s going to happen no matter who wins, but, but do you think that this is a contested election?
Frank Curzio: I mean, you have hundreds of lawyers on both sides. The case go to Supreme court because it’s not just Florida, it’s going to be close during the Gore Bush election, right? That whole recount was Florida. You have Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. I mean a few thousand, 10,000 votes separated these states in the last election, it’s going to be close, going to be recounts. And nobody in Congress during that time is going to be focused on the stimulus package no way, too much at stake. And let’s say, if Biden wins, I can see McConnell and the Republicans be pissed off and stubborn and saying, “You know what? You guys took longer. We had a deal on a table. You didn’t want to take it or whatever. Well, we’re not negotiating a new deal.” I believe, I truly believe this, it’s my opinion, that we’re not going to see a stimulus package until next year.
Frank Curzio: And if that’s the case, while you’re closing the economies, while you’re raising taxes, things that Biden said, that’s why you’re seeing, that’s what I’m reading from these reports saying, holy shit, you know what? This could be bad. This really could be bad for stocks. At least in the short-term, at least in the short-term, the low interest rates, the savings will come out.
Frank Curzio: COVID’s going to go away. Just a matter of time. In other words: We could see a major rollback in states across the country and I mean put new time restrictions on certain businesses, closing for a few more months higher taxes on the way when we’re in a recession, whether it’s for rich people or not. Higher capital gains taxes, which is going to result in lots of institutional selling before those rates go higher next year. And no stimulus, maybe for a few months. Now, that scenario, pretty common sense there, assuming that Biden wins, and just taking what Biden is saying, but that wasn’t priced into stocks two weeks ago when you think about it that way. The market’s trying to price a scenario, and now it’s not COVID, it’s a Biden win. Now I’m bringing in Daniel Creech, senior analyst at Curzio Research, who thinks I’m completely overreacting, because he believes Trump is definitely going to win with absolutely no doubt.
Daniel Creech: What’s happening, Frank.
Frank Curzio: So give us your take on it. Because for me, when I’m looking at, I want to look at both sides, just the way I compare myself the right way to give you guys the best advice to make money in your portfolios. So I’m looking at the polls, but what are your thoughts?
Daniel Creech: Well, in short, I do. I feel the exact same way as I did in 2016. And I know that nobody knows that I called it in 2016 because A, wasn’t part of this. But I think there’s a lot of similar factors here. Let me break this down. So the polls, and you’re exactly right, and you got to follow the polls. You got to pay attention to the other side, but in 2016, they couldn’t have been more wrong. I mean, there was polls showing Trump had what, less than a 10% chance of winning.
Frank Curzio: Mm-hmm.
Daniel Creech: Hillary was just going to wipe the floor and all that. And as you said, she quit campaigning. You know, you could argue… And I understand that. I don’t understand how the polls have… When you mess up that bad. And there is totally by it. And they’re biased on both sides. So, I’m not picking one or the other, but the polls were so bad and so wrong. And I would just argue this: When you look at those, you have to take it with a pound of salt, because the difference in 2016 to 2020 is hardly different at all. When I mean this, the polls were so wrong, the same people that are doing those same polls now. Would you say that there is more or less hatred or bias towards Trump?
Frank Curzio: Of course, both sides, probably more hatred.
Daniel Creech: And I would agree with that.
Frank Curzio: Yeah.
Daniel Creech: Both sides. Definitely. So, that’s one thing. So the polls are just… and polls are really more to kind of influence stuff anyway. And hey, both sides. I don’t, if you’re voting for Trump or Biden, you ought to go out and vote. Don’t let the polls detour you a one way or the other, it’s a great right to get out and vote. So I would say you can go exercise that, but the polls, I don’t put much faith in those because they screwed up so bad. And again, the hatred and all that has only gotten out of hand. Number two is that in 2016, there was no way to argue that there is this, and Trump likes to refer to it as a silent majority, and that’s basically the fear of people out there saying, hey, Frank, if I come and ask you who you’re voting for, do you think there’s more repercussion if you say, and I’m talking publicly on Twitter or whatever, if you say, “Oh, I’m voting for Trump, I love Trump,” or if you say, “Oh, no, I love Biden. I want, I want everybody to be happy.”
Frank Curzio: No, I mean, a good example of this is, people would just, I loved this, in my town, we had a bunch of people just holding up signs and “Honk, if you like Biden” or whatever, which is cool, which is awesome, right? It’s patriotically showing you that your support. And then we had the same thing for Trump, “Honk if you support him and this and that.” And I can tell you if people have their kids in the car, they’re not honking for Trump. I mean, what you see with the anger out there. People are just… It doesn’t make sense in terms of risk-reward to say, “Hey, I’m voting for Trump right now.” I mean, even my kids, if they like, we go through things, if it’s Biden and there’s a Trump or anything like that.
Frank Curzio: That I’m like, just don’t learn anything political right now. It’s pretty freaking crazy. I mean, there’s a lot of patriots out there, so people aren’t going to say what they’re going to do. Absolutely. Everybody learned that.
Daniel Creech: So, so you have a huge there’s. That was the way it wasn’t 2016. I would argue. There is no way that is not significantly increased over the last four years. And the reason I would say that is because why did Donald Trump win in the first place? Well, obviously this is my opinion. I could be wrong, but people were tired of the status quo and people wanted an outsider to come and shake things up. Now we’re… I’m from a small town in the Midwest. Every time you’d see the media going crazy about Trump did this, or Trump said that Trump, Trump is a Russian agent. We have proof, how many times did you hear that on all this BS, everybody would kind of giggle and be like, “Well, he’s doing exactly what we sent him there to do. Go shake things up.”
Daniel Creech: So you have, the outsider comes in, is victorious. You have a media that is just four years of pedal to the metal onslaught of this guy. They even impeached him. Okay, and that was a good move. You know why that was a good move? Because they knew he was never going to leave office, but it was a good move because Trump, like every other politician, is an egomaniac. And what hurts your ego? Because even if you don’t get reelected, you were already president once. But guess what? That little asterisk next to your name says you were impeached. And that has got to just piss him off. I don’t doubt that, but it was a good move by the Democrats politically. So you have… It’s got nothing but worse on the people that are more scared are just going to say, screw it to them and they’re not going to admit who they’re voting for.
Daniel Creech: Now, you have to look at what happened over the last four years. Now, obviously, this is pre-coronavirus, but you look at lower taxes for everybody. I’m not going to go as far as to say the strongest economy in the history of the United States. But it was to the point where it was a lot better than the previous four years. We were at a situation to where if you wanted a job, you could go get a job. You could go out and make it on your own and work your way up the chain of ladder. And I think that’s what a lot of people really want deep down. So you had a very good economy, a strong economy, easily, the world’s strongest economy. You had a good record-breaking stock market. Okay. So let’s go back to 1992, before I paid attention to politics, James Carville… What do you think about when I say James Carville, who was whatever strategist or he was with the Clinton campaign, but what do you, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Frank, when I say, James Carville.
Frank Curzio: I just like him because I like him as a political analyst because you know he’s a Democrat, but he looks at both sides. But I mean, I know there was controversy early on about him, but-
Daniel Creech: It’s the economy, stupid, that’s what I think about. It’s the economy, stupid. That was big, and it was brilliant. And he was right and it worked. So now-
Frank Curzio: The economy is crap right now. Right?
Daniel Creech: Right now because of the coronavirus, but who doesn’t blame the economy on the coronavirus? I would say everybody blames the downturn on the economy.
Frank Curzio: Not everybody.
Daniel Creech: Well, not everybody, but I would say a lot of people have to admit it to themselves. And so now you have a situation where you said, okay, and there was a Gallup poll around the 9th of October that came out. And it was interesting because it had 56% of the people said they were better off for years than they were four years ago. Now, this is exciting because Trump, of course, went to Twitter and said, “Hey, even during a pandemic, you guys are better off.” Okay. So you could take that out of context if you want, but it does come down to the economy and I think the majority of people are going to say, hey, if the coronavirus didn’t happen, which is a big if, obviously, we have to live in reality. Then the economy and the stock market, I think would have been humming along just fine. And it’s going to be very hard and not to mention. It’s very hard to unseat a sitting president anyway, just by the odds, and we’re odds people, we’re analysts.
Daniel Creech: So I think those big tailwinds are why I think he wins in a landslide again. And I felt this way in 2016 because people are tired of the status quo that if you have an opinion that goes against the majority of the media, people are tired of hearing. You’re just a dumb redneck, and you’re a racist and you’re big and all that just because you support Trump. And I think there’s a lot of that out there. So yeah, it is weird as it feels, because I know I’m kind of walking out on the limb and giving people the Sol.
Frank Curzio: You’re not though.
Daniel Creech: But yeah, I think he does. I think he wins hands down, and I think the only way he loses is with the whole, ballots and all that. What can we count? Because I don’t know if you talked about it today, but I think you have in the past, how some states wanted to try to let you count your vote after the election day, someday… Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s just beyond crookedness and fuckery, but you know, whatever let’s ignore that. But the only way I think he loses if you have these lawsuits and basically fraud, and you know what happened on Monday, with the Supreme court, when there was a new person announced.
Daniel Creech: So now we have a new justice. Well, that’s interesting. Now don’t flip out there, everybody, if you’re upset about the six to three, cause it’s not really six to three conservative because Roberts isn’t as conservative as what everybody makes him out to be, but they do have a majority. And of course, that’s going to play in the favor of ballot testing and all that kind of stuff when it comes to voting. So yeah, everybody at ease, hopefully, we can get through the coronavirus and move on with our lives. But yeah, that’s my presidential election prediction.
Frank Curzio: Well, it’s funny because I think a lot of Trump supporters and Ryan Zinke, who I spent time with him in Wyoming. He’s like thinks he’s going to win a landslide. I mean, a landslide. I was like, “Whoa.” But if you, depending on what you’re watching, right? I mean, if you listen to Trump speaking at a lot of these events, which is like three a day right now he’s going a little crazy. The people at these events, it is remarkable, right? I mean, everyone’s the only thing you could say is “Some of them aren’t wearing masks” but just that the passion is unbelievable when you just see people honking their horns and stuff and you know, 70 cars at Binance, it’s so different. Right? The excitement level. I feel like when Obama gave that speech right after he won, I mean, the people, the faces of people, like they were crying, like the emotion behind it, like you got it, like holy cow, and these people were really, really behind it.
Daniel Creech: Yeah. He definitely captured the moment. He inspired people and he did a great job. And I think Trump is doing… I mean you look at the crowd, you look at the enthusiasm, it’s remarkable, and you got to give him credit on that. But yeah. I think it’s the exact repeat as 2016. So, but hey, I could be dead wrong.
Frank Curzio: It’s going to be interesting, but there are a lot of people that think that I mean if you’re listening to Trump. I was saying, he’s saying “We’re winning in this poll, winning in this poll” all the polls say that he’s not. So you’re watching, if you’re a Democrat, you’re watching CNN. If you’re a Republican, you’re probably watching Fox. If you’re left, you’re watching MSNBC, who’s really out there, man. I mean, that’s pretty much very entertaining if you watch that, but it’s crazy. But you know, if you listen to CNN, it’s over, they definitely going to win. If you listen to Fox, it’s Trump’s going to win. But what does that mean? It means it’s probably going to be contested, if I had to guess. We’ll see what happens. Nobody knows what’s going to happen.
Frank Curzio: I do know it’s only like 10,000, to 40,000 votes, which separated and we’re talking about a couple of counties here, when you look at a lot of these battleground states, North Carolina, Wisconsin. Yeah. You have a Michigan. So it will be interesting to see, yeah, how the campaign is doing, how the money’s being spent. And it’s something that’s going to impact your portfolio. But like I said earlier, when it comes to Biden it’s just surprising, I know you’re going to be pissed off saying that if you’re a Democrat, I don’t care. I care about your portfolio. That it’s amazing how sentiment just switch on a dime and on a dime it’s like two weeks, all of the South side analysts, institutions are like, “Whoa,” if Biden wins this is what’s going to happen because he said, what was going to happen? Especially during that debate, what we finally heard his policies, people like, “Whoa, you’re raising taxes, we’re in a recession. We might not get the stimulus done.”
Frank Curzio: It had nothing to do with Biden. It’s going to have to do it both sides, unless they control everything. But even if that’s the case, it won’t get done until January. That’s a long time. That’s a long time right now of money that we need, which was the only support for our system, in terms of the reason why we’re not in one of the biggest recessions since the Great Depression. Now, we do have some interesting stuff to get to in terms of earnings, but before that, we have today, Twitter, Google, Facebook on The Hill. I know you have some strong thoughts about this. You know, it’s entertainment, very entertaining. I mean, they really go after him, but does this mean anything at all for these companies. I mean, let’s talk from an investment perspective. I mean, this really means nothing. Right?
Daniel Creech: No, it means you should buy them on pullback. What is Facebook down today? Facebook is roughly down 5% today. Google is down 5% roughly. Obviously, we’re doing this on the fly, and the market’s down 3% on the Dow, 3% on the S&P 500. Yeah. So most of you know, and Frank, I have right here, this is hilarious. So we get the Wall Street Journal here at Curzio Research, although we don’t get it every day. The Florida mail does not go out every day, which is interesting. But anyway, so you get the Wall Street Journal, excuse me. And it comes in the plastic bag. Well, I opened it up the other day or one-day last week, and it had a separate plastic bag in it with nothing but this. And I know you guys can’t see at home here, but Frank, look at this beautiful ad that somebody took out in the Wall Street Journal. How much do you think this cost to take out in the world?
Frank Curzio: A lot. I mean, you open it up and it’s two, eight by 11.
Daniel Creech: And it’s thick it’s not cheap paper. And it’s purple. It’s a beautiful purple.
Frank Curzio: Like one side, the whole side of a Wall Street Journal when you open up for it.
Daniel Creech: Yeah. It’s a beautiful purple and it’s got white letters and when you open it up, it says, “We support updated internet regulations.” And you think if your radar doesn’t go off about screwery, then you need a new radar because this is a Facebook ad. And why are they getting out in front of this? Because they’re dragged on front of The Hill today and they’re talking about repealing section two-thirty or whatever two-thirty is called. And two-thirty basically just gives a free go for… How do I say that, Frank? Facebook isn’t liable, Google isn’t liable, Twitter isn’t liable for whatever the users posts, so that’s what’s in the rules to protect them. Now, what’s funny about this is that CNBC just ran an article… What was it? About how Twitter and… I’m sorry, not Twitter, but Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all up their lobbying efforts in the third quarter. So Facebook outspent everybody else. They spent $4.9 million, which was up one and a half percent from the previous quarter. So what does this mean? That means that… Frank, what’s the market cap on Facebook, off the top of your head?
Frank Curzio: Off top of my head, It’ll have to be-
Daniel Creech: Gazillions. It shows how cheap you can buy favorites in Washington for, they donated $4.9 million during the quarter. I don’t have the earnings right in front of me, but to say that’s a drop in the bucket on Facebook. That’s hilarious.
Frank Curzio: I mean it’s just the amount of money, of course.
Daniel Creech: So everybody’s up there. They’re talking about how, hey, we support further regulations. And as an investor, if that makes you nervous, you need to dig deeper. Because of course, they support for the regulations because they want to be on the room, inside the room, to help make these game plans and make these regulations. All of this is political BS. The reason you have these hearings is for people to grandstand. Ted Cruz had a good takeaway line. I’m sure he’ll put it on Twitter and try to get reelected by it. But I don’t know which one he was yelling at, but he basically asked one of them, “Who the hell elected you?”
Frank Curzio: Yeah, they suppress the story and just, they were like, and they’re saying that “200-year-old paper and founded by Alexander Hamilton.” And they came out with, basically, a story that was backed by whatever. And again, if you’re Democratic, you think it’s all bullshit. If you’re Republican, it’s a smoking gun.
Daniel Creech: Hey is this your October surprise, you think? Because the election is not till Tuesday, that is an eternity in politics, people. Do you think this is the October surprise on the Trump side? And what do you think is on the Biden side? because there’s got to be some coming out, just like the Hollywood tapes in 2016 with Trump. That was the big drop right before the vote. I mean, there’s got to something there, right?
Frank Curzio: Yeah. I mean, they tried the rape allegations again and stuff like that just recently. I don’t know if you saw that with Trump and that just fell through.
Daniel Creech: Saw he had to get a judge said he has to defend himself or something.
Frank Curzio: Something like that so he threw that seeped in sticks, but that’s the thing even with the tapes that came out, which have you saw interview, man, it really is freaking great. I mean, the guy isn’t getting paid, right. That guy’s not getting paid.
Daniel Creech: You’re talking about Hollywood types. You’re talking about the-
Frank Curzio: I’m talking about the Biden, Biden son’s tapes and everything. And just, I mean, that interview, it was kind of telling when I saw it, I was just like, this guy is not getting paid. He’s like it’s to protect his family, he had no agenda and it was just like, whoa, it was like… But nobody’s going to care about it. But I think that’s the bombshell, where, “Yeah, we got the tapes.” And we got the manager or the campaign manager saying, “You’re going to destroy us all if you come out with this.” Right? He has him on tape saying that again no one’s really going to care. I think everyone who’s going to vote is going to vote the way they want to vote.
Frank Curzio: I don’t know what’s going to come out on the other side with Trump because I mean, you’ve got, you hit him with impeachment. I mean, he’s a racist, he rapes women. I mean, you hit him what, everything that you could possibly hit the guy with unless you have something on secret tape or whatever like you had last time. But I don’t know if any of that stuff is going to work the last week because we had, what was it, 60% of the votes already.
Daniel Creech: I don’t know about that number. I know it’s over 60 or 70 million already voted. Yeah. I don’t know what percentage that’s going to equal out to be.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. I mean, and that might be the 60 million. I don’t know the percentage, but it’s much more than as of compared to last year, as feeding those totals…
Daniel Creech: And the interesting thing is even if because now we have to ask ourselves, even if another October surprise happens, who’s going to cover it and who’s going to see it? And this brings us back to the hearing today with Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Well, the big takeaway here as an investor is that if you get a pullback in these stocks because you honestly think they’re getting broken up, and we’ve talked about this before, you can buy them. Because even if the government breaks them up, hey, economically, they’re amazing, amazing companies. So I’m not taking away anything. I think they’re biased. I just wish they’d be more than… I just wish they’d be more honest say, “Hey, we lean Democrat, screw you.” They’re a private company. They’re publicly traded but still, they’re allowed to do that. I mean, they’re allowed to censor people.
Daniel Creech: There’s nothing illegal about that. You can be pissed off, but there’s nothing really wrong with that. It’s ridiculous. But that’s neither here nor there. But because even if they break them up, they’re going to have to give them ownership, and basically they would turn them into royalty companies. So this is a great marketing thing. If you’re a Trump guy and you can’t stand Facebook and all of them, put them in your portfolio and at least make money off the people you hate. And if you’re a Democrat, hey, join your own and make money off them too. So use polling backs as a chance to scale into these companies because they are amazingly run from an economic standpoint.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. They are and they just… I mean, the numbers that you’re going to see, a lot of these companies reporting today, tomorrow. So Microsoft’s number is incredible. Yeah. They offered again, the guidance, that’s what I want to talk to you about, I mentioned it earlier, and switching to earnings season here, because I agree with you. I mean, even when you broke up the major oil companies, you’ll be better off buying them. And it also solved it where it wasn’t a total monopoly. But I would disagree a little bit where there’s nothing wrong with them suppressing people, but this is how these sites make their money, right. They’re taking all the information that we are putting on their site and selling it to other people to make money to advertisers. And then you’re choosing which people could say what they want. And it’s not fair. It’s not, it’s not the same.
Daniel Creech: I do agree with that.
Frank Curzio: That’s what pisses me off either have your policies in place and make it fair, or don’t make it fair, because you can suppress the post article without suppressing I think something with Trump’s taxes, which were illegally obtained, right? I mean they were hidden. So, but yet they posted that and said, and yet they’re like, well, the drive was hacked and… You got to be consistent, and they’re obviously not. And that’s why you’ve seen them on The Hill today. And they’re going to get destroyed in terms of, grilled to death by Republicans and even some Democrats. But yeah, it’s all a sideshow. It’s all a real sideshow, but let’s get to earning season because we’re looking at companies report earnings, and even the companies are reporting strong earnings with the whole market’s selling off right now…
Frank Curzio: It’s interesting to see it’s going to provide an opportunity because long-term, I am bullish guys, you know that, especially on a small caps. The economy’s going to open up, we’re going to get a vaccine I believe. But the next two months, we’ll see pullbacks, right Dan? I mean, you can go back 10 years. Our pullbacks don’t happen like a recession from 2000 to 2003, where you just see a gradual ugly market for years. They happen in three to five weeks and you see a 20%, 25% decline. This is what happens. You go back, what was it, 2018 from the end of the year with tariffs, the market fell 20%. I think that was one of our first corrections since the credit crisis or the one other one. But you’re looking at these things happen quick. We’re right down 10% and it feels like a week, maybe a little bit more. We can go down a lot more if we just have contested elections, some of the things that I mentioned, but it is going to provide an opportunity. I think because there’s certain companies are reporting very strong earnings that are actually getting nailed right now, right?
Daniel Creech: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s a great learning curve and learning moment for me just because I’m younger on the investing side and in the business, but it really drives home of, you got to know why you own something. So we’ve had several portfolio holdings across Curzio Research Advisory, CRA, and Curzio Venture Opportunity, the CVO newsletters report, and several of them have been really positive. Well, that all sounds great until you go look at your screen the next day and they’re down to fucking 8%. Well, that don’t make you feel very good. And it’s the baby getting caught out with, caught up in the bathwater, as the old saying goes. So, a resort, a casino resort comes out with great news: They’re down 7% today. Why? Because the overall market’s down. So it really makes you have to have conviction and how to separate the mass up and down to the market, to the individual.
Daniel Creech: And yeah, right now it’s tough to see a sea of red across your brokerage account. But like Frank says, there’s opportunity out there ,and this will pass. I mean, this election will be over one way or the other, no matter who wins. And it’s a driving point home of, hey, if you think about your portfolio, just know, why do you have it? And on a day like today, when it’s selling off unrelated to the fundamentals, and we’re going to see more fundamentals separate themselves from each other, both in stocks and in private companies all over the world, all over the country, as the economy either opens up more or shuts down, depending on what the regulators and Powers That Be say. But yeah, that’s the driving home message. Just understand why, and that’ll help put you at ease and it’ll help make you make a lot better decisions on when to add more and when to take advantage of your watch list because you see it selling all for unrelated reasons to the business.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. And my thesis on this was, hey, look, COVID going to go away eventually. And we’re going to see a recovery take place, economic recovery. So by some of those names that got impacted, most of COVID, which is travel, right, airlines. You can buy hotels, casinos what we buy in theaters now that I’ve seen some of the latest data on them when people are more scared to go to theaters today than they weren’t may, which is unbelievable.
Daniel Creech: That was interesting. That shocked me.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. So it’s… But that was my thesis. But now I think it’s changed. And I’m saying you’re not used to seeing this change in TheStreet’s sentiment so quickly that if Biden gets elected, he is going to roll back a lot of this stuff. I mean, as we said, this, we’ve got to have a conservative approach. You going to see cases spike, which is again, this is normal. They’re happening in the Midwest, where they haven’t really opened up yet. Now they’re opened up a lot more. You see more people get out to your economy and not seeing these spikes in Florida, in Texas, which had them already. So this is normal. And death rate is down. We understand, right. We went through all the statistics, whatever. You can believe whatever you want. If you hate statistics, then don’t listen to me.
Frank Curzio: But now I think that’s where you’re like, hey, if Biden does win. And that is not factored in. I wasn’t factoring that into my thesis. I thought this was all like smoke and mirrors where it’s just like, “Hey, we got to say the economy is horrible. So we win the election.” I really believe that he may roll back, dial back some of these restrictions. I’m telling you, it’s going to result in riots in the streets.
Frank Curzio: I went to Disney World. There were so many arguments. People are sick of wearing masks that aren’t sick. Whether you agree with that or not because they noticed statistics. Now they know 99% of people are going to be okay outside the danger zone and it’s just pissing them off. And it’s going to result in people going all right enough is enough because you’re looking at that cure where, is that going to be worse? No, it is going to be worse. When you look at, hey, open up the economies and we’re going to see more deaths on the COVID side, but you’re going to see more deaths with so many different things that we’re seeing, depression, where we’re seeing it in suicide rates. We’re seeing when you’re closing these schools and keeping people and keeping the economies, closing businesses. These people are getting crushed now, no stimulus coming. I’m telling you, that’s my biggest fear right now, short-term fear. And earnings, I never thought I’d say this: They’re pretty meaningless right now. Right? I mean, it’s really meaningless, whatever they report…
Daniel Creech: We’re caught in the fog of political and, like you said, I mean the election is coming down to basically opening or closing the economy. I mean, you could dumb it down to that right now.
Frank Curzio: An interesting trend: Companies that reported last… So two quarters ago, they said, this was like whatever in the March, April… We’re not offering guidance, I get it. Then the next quarter, a lot of these companies said, “Hey, all right, we got to figure it out. We got a supply chain, figure out if we’re offering guidance.” Now, they’re not offering guidance again. You would think at this stage, it would be more clear, but they really don’t know because they don’t know if we’re going to see the country closed down again, which we’re seeing in Germany. They just came out with an announcement, bars and everything, announcing closures.
Daniel Creech: You see how they’re selling it? What are they calling it? The lockdown light.
Frank Curzio: Is that what they call it? Lockdown light.
Daniel Creech: Like that makes you feel any better. Hey, you can’t go to work and don’t worry about it, but don’t worry about it. It’s ruining your family and your paycheck. It’ll be a light locked down.
Frank Curzio: And guys think about it this way, too. Even at 75% capacity, 80%, which I think was a level that we will open in the US if you take the average 75%-ish. I would say 90% of businesses can’t function at below 80%. Right? I mean, that would think that would be the profit margin. It lets you just have a credible business with massive margins. But usually, if you do, then you’re going to have more competition and more people steal at to get some of those profits. But you look at restaurants, how many restaurants do you know that can operate successfully 80%? Well, they’ve been less than 80% since March. And now you’re going to go into the next year with no stimulus coming with possibly a few months held up.
Frank Curzio: Think about that as an investor, it’s going to provide lots of opportunities for you, but you need to protect yourself too. Right? That’s what we’re here for it. We’re here to tell you about the good times and bad times and throw everything out there, but… Daniel, really great stuff. I love your opinions on this, that a lot of times, it’s much different than mine. So it’s really cool. And it’s probably going to result in a lot of people hating you and other people loving you, which you better get used to.
Daniel Creech: Tuesday night will be interesting. I’ll either look really good or really bad.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. Guaranteed Trump landslide. Trump in a landslide is a pretty bold call, but I’ve heard that a lot.
Daniel Creech: It was bold back in 2016 too, and that’s exactly what happened with Hillary.
Frank Curzio: Yeah, no, I hear you.
Daniel Creech: Or against Hillary.
Frank Curzio: Yeah. All right. So really great stuff. Guys thanks again, for all your support in terms of the Curzio Equity Owners token, which is officially launching tomorrow, how many times did you hear me say that it’s going to watch this week or next week finally, tomorrow going to be a publicly-traded company. I have to say when we found this out on Monday that everything was official, it was the first time I got excited and about two months because just going through the regulatory process and making sure everything was approved and like, let’s just, it was kind of like a downer because you get so excited and you’re like waiting, waiting, but some really, really cool stuff. And we’re going to be sending out more details about how you could own our tokens for the MERJ exchange. And it’s spelled M-E-R-J, if you want to do your own research. But please make sure you do your due diligence.
Frank Curzio: We’re a small-cap company. There are tons of risks, just like every small-cap. Thousands, I’ve researched over my career. So it’s not right for everyone, but you could start your due diligence by going to our site curzioequityowners.com which is going to be available for everyone to view starting tomorrow. So guys, thanks so much for listening.
Frank Curzio: Really appreciate all the support election coming up, but you know what, enjoy Halloween first with your kids. I’m excited for Halloween, where we can dress it up. Hopefully, it’s not as bad where people are actually going to open their doors, which should be interesting these days in Florida. It should be okay, but I can picture Halloween it’d be a lot different in other states. But enjoy it have fun with the kids because next week everybody’s going to hate each other. They’re going to pit us against each other. And at the end of the day, we really, as Americans don’t hate each other, right? We just hopefully will rally behind whoever wins. And a lot of this stuff will go away, but it is going to be an interesting six, seven days, hopefully, six, but could be seven or eight or 10 or weeks, but hopefully, everyone will come together afterward. It will be interesting and appreciate all your support. And I’ll see you guys in seven days. Take care.
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- Guest: Jim Needham, head of digital asset strategy at MERJ Exchange [30:07]
- Educational: Why stocks are selling off hard into the election [1:05:36]
Frank sees nationwide chaos coming on November 3. But chaos often brings opportunity… By taking steps today, you can not only survive the pandemonium… but potentially come out of it with triple-digit gains—several times over. Here’s the strategy Frank recommends…