'There Is A Lot Of Nonsense': Talking Markets With Quoth The Raven's Chris Irons
Chris Irons' experience with investing began with a loss.
In an interview with Benzinga, Irons traced his journey from a young investor to the brains behind Quoth the Raven, where his mission is to stop deception and increase transparency in the market.
Learning From IR
Irons' interest in the trading space started at a young age.
“When I turned 18, I made my first investment,” he said.
Being a huge fan of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Irons took his savings to a local A.G. Edwards, where he said the broker convinced him to invest in a basket of stocks — most of which contained assets of no interest to him.
“Long story short, I wound up selling and ultimately took a loss on it, and many years later, you would see that Apple was in the midst of a great turnaround," Irons told Benzinga. "I learned an excellent lesson from that — I should never listen to anybody else, even if I have no clue what the hell I’m talking about."
His interest in the space, though, remained. Irons attended a strategic leadership program.
“I got my first taste of some real finance courses, you know, and started to piece together … what’s a balance sheet, what’s P&L, what’s a cash flow statement.”
Later, Irons worked in investment relations for a startup. Working on annual reports sharpened his knowledge, he said.
"That took things to a level of granularity that I hadn’t seen before."
Irons' experiences inspired him to write about inaccurate and biased information within the financial space: he started Quoth the Raven on Seeking Alpha for extra money. At the same time, Irons was working at GeoInvesting, a research service.
“I did a ton of investigative due diligence, and relayed intense research and equity analysis, and on the long side, worked with a lot of microcap companies. So, I got a pretty good background in interviewing smaller companies and what to look for in growth companies.”
He has since left GeoInvesting to focus on his business venture, Quoth The Raven, and become a finance personality in the process.
'A Lot Of Nonsense'
“Once I figured out the economics of the system, I became very annoyed because there is a lot of nonsense being pulled over the eyes of the common folk," Irons said.
His skeptical tone evolved through experience, he said.
For example, Irons recently noticed that J.B. Straubel’s name was removed from Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)'s 10-Q.
Being knowledgeable about investor relations and corporate filings, Irons knew the removal of Straubel's name likely indicated his departure from the electric automaker, and warned investors that this could be the case.
Thoughts On The Broad Market
The markets could be at the beginning "of the reckoning," Irons told Benzinga. A more likely scenario, he said, is a gradual lowering of interest rates and a restart of quantitative easing in the next five to 10 years.
"That will probably work, to some degree."
Fractional reserve banking is one of the largest scams in history, in Irons' view.
"It is a giant Ponzi scheme. It’s a confidence game."
Irons sees an illusion of prosperity in the markets. People have been backed into ideology — Keynesianism and Modern Monetary Theory — and ventured into uncharted territory.
“What we should be doing is understanding guys like Ron Paul, guys like Milton Friedman, Peter Schiff, Bill Fleckenstein, the people who have a firm grasp on the Austrian school, because that’s what true economics is," he said.
"It's a very basic set of rules. You have some currency, you have supply and demand, you have more productivity equals more money, hopefully, and then the reward for the consumer is a better product at a lower price."
The market has changed in response to investor discomfort, he said.
"We started piling on Band-Aids: decoupling from gold, lowering rates, then, on top of that, quantitative easing," Irons said.
"Now we are making lower highs and lower lows on rates. We are sitting at the table about to eat a giant s–t burger, and people at the top, with all the Harvard degrees, and PhDs and Nobel Prizes, stand in front of the podium and tell everyone inflation is a mystery.”
Cautious On Cryptos
In Irons' view, cryptocurrencies are "very speculative." Though he likes the concept, Irons sees flaws in cryptos and risk in the form of regulation.
“When it becomes enough of a threat, the governments will try to shut it down. Whether that happens remains to be seen. I also don’t like the fact that Bitcoin is reliant on the electric grid."
You can see Chris Irons Oct. 11-13 at the Traders4ACause conference in Las Vegas.
Screenshot courtesy of Traders4ACause.
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