Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rift at the SEC..........

Mr. Cox didn't know what Enforcement was up to huh?

I think Jim Cramer is on their HIT LIST now.

Too bad they don't go after the obvious conflicts rather than the media for reporting their opinions.

Monday, February 27, 2006

America's Finest City.........

Warm sunlight. San Diego's "signature" radiated across San Diego County for the 2006 World Golf Championship--Accenture Match Play Tournament. We had a marvelous time. Althougth Chippewa Partners owns shares in Accenture we may not own enough and I am highly motivated to increase the position. The talent, drive and enthusiasm of this company appears on solid footing. Impressive. I was fortunate to be at the table with the CEO for the Tiger Woods dinner last Wednesday night. The firm has the right guys leading it at the right time. Poised for growth and a first class operation for sure. Truly world class.

Now, let me be clear. Tiger Woods is the man. Without a doubt the most recognized face in sport in the world. If you didn't know it, he told us he loves to spearfish, has added a border collie to his "new" family and relishes his privacy.
The average person has not a clue about what he must go through in his daily life. His dedication to his game and to himself is examplar. A first class consumate professional and destined to make a global impact far beyond golf with his budding Tiger Woods Foundation. No one works harder at his craft than Tiger. No one.

It's always great to see friends and clients, old and new, and this trip was no exception. Time doesn't allow to see everyone but there is always next time. A fair amount of time was spent discussing the San Diego real estate market and how to play the downside when it cracks. It appears to be a ticking time bomb what with the flawed real estate appraisal process, "value inflation" and the myriad of "games" played in the sub-prime mortage market. Are we 2%, 3% or 5% from a crash in home prices? The wage scale is not keeping up with inflation and "creative" financings are the norm rather than the exception. I guess with an 11 billion dollar accounting scandal at Fannie Mae and the stock holding firm maybe my worries are unfounded. But I doubt it. Funny thing though. I said the same thing in 1979 when I arrived in San Diego. It seems Souther Cal real estate only goes one way long term, just like the stock market. Maybe the weather has something to do with it!!!

San Diego, if you are listening, God bless the military there. All of the men and women who serve so proudly and call San Diego home. But, why not do the area a huge favor and turn the Miramar Air complex into a truly global world class transportation hub? It needs to be done, the time is now.

All in all, it was a great trip to visit a great city and the old LaJolla haunts. The San Diego politico's haven't changed much either. Randy "Duke" Cunningham is a true black eye to America but frankly, what else can you call lobbying but what it is, bribery.

With Google shares pounding at the door to $400 it is nice to be home at the trading desk, doing what we love to do.

The work of Chippewa Partners.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Humorously speaking..........

With all due respect to my personal attorney, attorney clients and fellow law school students, you have to admit with a grin, Cheney fulfilled the American dream and shot a lawyer.

Over Lunch.........

A few days ago, a friend asked me sort of off-the-cuff who I would most enjoy going to lunch with every day for a week. In no particular order I rattled off John Stockton, Billy Mills, Dave Long, Bill Gates and Victor Neiderhoffer.

For those who don't know Victor Neiderhoffer, here is some background.

Victor Neiderhoffer is proudest of having a benevolent influence on people that came in contact with him. At least a dozen employees whom he started out or taught became billionaires or multi-centimillionaires, including Monroe Trout, Stu Rose, John Hummer and Roy Niederhoffer, all of whom are famous in money management or M&A.

Niederhoffer’s interests include the study and implementation of counting, ecology, electronics, entrepreneurship, free markets, music, sports, statistics, and strategy in checkers and chess. Favorite authors include Patrick O' Brian, Cervantes, Galton, Rand, Jack Schaeffer, Hugo, Melville, and Twain. He is well known in the field of racquet sports, where he was the undefeated national squash champion for a decade (1965-1975) and claimed the world squash title in 1976.

Victor Niederhoffer believes the purpose of life is the pursuit of happiness and achievement, and that the voluntary transactions that flow naturally out of an enterprise system are the key to material and personal freedom, and peace.

Monday, February 13, 2006

War is for Warriors.....................

If you haven't seen this, please see it.

http://multimedia.rockymountainnews.com/slideshow/slideshow.cfm?type=DEFAULT&ID=012006lundstrom&NUM=1

Dick Cheney's .28 gauge........

Thank the Creator it was only a 28 gauge and not a 12.

Yes, things happen quick while bird hunting. Fault lies with the man who moved up into the "hot area" unannounced as well as with Mr. Cheney. This was an unfortunate accident that turned out okay. The lesson here is to share this accident with our children, grandchildren and fellow hunters as to the "how" and "why" of this specific accident and apply it to situations we may put ourselves in down the road. Use this as a teaching tool for those and to those we hunt with. Just another reason Blaze Orange above the waist should be mandatory on bird hunters.

Without a doubt............

There isn't a person in America probably more responsible for motivating the average investor to puke up his mutual funds and stocks by reading the weekly edition of Allen Abelsons writings and rant in Barron's. He has been dead wrong since he started work at the paper decades ago. The market long term has only gone one way. Care to guess which way? Bad news sells and he sure knows how to embelish bad news. Funny thing though, I can't recall ever meeting or knowing personally a pessimist who was successful. The parent, Dow Jones outfit should be sued by the SEC for his "work". Now there's a novel thought to protect investors.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Red Road............

Do you hear the war cries? As a member of the White Earth Band of Chippewa and managing assets for Native American entities across North America let me say that Native Americans are still getting the short end of every treaty violation. One, the wonderful folks at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of Interior have "lost" hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars of Native money in the Office of Trust Funds Management, mineral money and royalty money supposedly "managed" by the government for the tribes. If you think they did a good job 40 or 30 or 20 or 10 years ago just look at the billions unaccounted for in Iraq and in the post-Katrina debacle. Two, the government will not change the "reservation" system, hence the forced paternal control of continuing the welfare state in Indian Country. And third, the government will not step in and hold tribes accountable in fiscal matters regarding gaming finances. Millions and millions of dollars have disappeared from Indian casino's, much to the detriment of those Natives who could use the money the most, the generations of children today and the generations of children yet unborn. And lastly, the government still manages billions of dollars of Indian money in the government bond market. Probably the single worst disaster ever perpetrated on Indian tribes. Bonds, not stocks. The lost "opportunity cost" of not having Native money in the equity markets is simply beyond comprehension. The cadence of government drums still beat. The carnage continues.

It is 2006. If not now, when?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stop the buck........

Robert A. Niblock, Chairman
Lowes Companies Incorporated
1000 Lowes Blvd.
Mooresville, NC 28117


Dear Mr. Niblock ,

As the Chairman of a money-management firm I founded in 1995 I find it troubling that your firm is widening the chasm of communication in our country.

I had occasion recently to shop in two of your stores in TN and GA. At both stores I found your stores signage to communicate to customers in both English and Spanish at the store entrances. In case you haven’t studied foreign affairs, it is evident that a nation’s failure to conduct its educational, commercial and government affairs is a formula for societal disintegration. Immigrants need to embrace English, to become true citizens. We actually do immigrants a disservice by not insisting that they use the language of America.

Until I see a change in your signage I will vote with my dollars and shop elsewhere. Home Depot, Ace Hardware, wherever. This is America. Our common language is English. Our motto is E Pluribus Unum---out of many, one.

With all of our other problems, we don’t need the problems amplified like they have in Quebec. Language divisions create nothing but trouble.

Sincerely,

Dean T. Parisian

Only the names change............

Once again the fine power-mongers at DELTA AIRLINES are up to their old tricks.

There should be a Harvard Business School analysis of how DELTA management ripped off shareholders and once again are at it again. If DELTA is ever to fly high again the chief birds will have to stop feathering their own nests. Truly egregious.

On the same note is the Canadian saga of Nortel Networks. Here you had not only one management team take investors and shareholders to the cleaners but a SECOND management team that came in to clean up the first was also indicted. Now the company, (3rd management team) has agreed to pay (this is shareholder money folks, not money that just dropped into the corporate coffers from the ethernet) $2.4 BILLION to settle the earnings-manipulation scandal. Now, on top of this is the carnage they inflict on CURRENT shareholders with the massive dilution of equity stakes by issuing 628.7 MILLION new shares of stock to settle the law suits.

The beat goes on.........just another prime example of why owning real estate is great diversification, i have yet to ever have my real estate holdings diluted.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

American ingenuity................

Three guys -- a Canadian farmer, Osama bin Laden, and an American
engineer -- are walking together one day. They come across a lantern
and a Genie pops out of it.

"I will give each of you one wish, which is three wishes total"
says the Genie.

The Canadian says, "I am a farmer, my dad was a farmer, and my son will
also farm. I want the land to be forever fertile in Canada." Pooooof!

With a blink of the Genie's eye, the land in Canada was forever made
fertile for farming.

Osama bin Laden was amazed, so he said, "I want a wall around
Afghanistan , Iraq and Iran so that no infidels, Jews or Americans can
EVER come into our precious state."

Pooooof! Again, with the blink of the Genie's eye, there was a huge wall
around those countries..

The American engineer asks, "I am very curious. Please tell me more
about this wall".

The Genie explains, "Well, it's 5000 feet high, 500 feet
thick and completely surrounds these countries........ it's virtually
impenetrable. Now what is your wish?"

The American engineer smiles and says, "Fill it with water."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Legal feeding trough at the expense of Indian America...........

Jennifer Talhelm
Associated Press
Feb. 4, 2006 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Interior Department officials, ordered to pay $7 million to lawyers for American Indians suing the government over lost royalties, cut Indian programs to find most of the money.

Jim Cason, associate deputy Interior secretary, said the cuts will include $2 million from a fund for lawyers performing tribal work and $1 million from Bureau of Indian Affairs' central and regional offices and some tribal programs. The decision won't affect schools or public safety.

Cason said he tried to spread the cuts so they would have the least impact on Indians. But he said the court order gave him no option but to take the money from BIA, one of several agencies the department oversees. "This was not a Park Service or a Fish and Wildlife problem, it's an Indian problem," he said.
The Indian plaintiffs called the decision a "devious and deceptive" attempt to punish Indians for winning in court.

"This is totally unreal," said Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Indian and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the government. "Sometimes I think the department's behavior has deteriorated to the bottom of the basement, and things like this happen, and I think it's gone to the fiery bowels of the Earth."

The U.S. District Court issued the order in response to a petition from the plaintiffs in their 10-year-old lawsuit. The plaintiffs had originally asked for $14 million.

Indians accuse the government in a class-action lawsuit of mishandling more than $100 billion in lost oil, gas, grazing, timber and other royalties from their lands dating to 1887.

They sued to force the government to account for the lost money but now say they are willing to settle for $27.5 billion, an amount some lawmakers have said is too high.

Cason announced the cuts in a letter to tribal leaders

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Investment Speech -- Atlanta

My Name is Dean Parisian. I am the Chairman of Chippewa Partners. Chippewa Partners is a private investment management firm and the first mutual fund manager in Alpharetta.

We are money managers. We manage investments across the globe for some very wealthy people and, for some individuals who are much less fortunate.

First let me tell you what we don’t do; We are not financial planners, we don’t sell insurance, we don’t do taxes, we don’t draw up trusts. We do not involve our clients in annuities, commodities, futures, currencies, derivatives or foreign stocks. Period.

Now let me tell you what we do. We manage wealth. We manage investments for clients in Alaska to Europe. Now, let me tell you what we are really about. We are about doing the right things the right way for the right reasons.

We work with a certain number of investors like you to establish and maintain specific goals for the growth and preservation of their assets.

It is a pleasure to be here. (I couldn’t sleep last night. I finally got up at 4 am this morning, got dressed and went through this presentation 37 times. You loved it!)

I encourage you to take notes and write down any questions… Chances are good that your question is what’s on the mind of others ….

I was born in 1953. That year the price of a 1st class postage stamp was 3 cents.

In 1982 I began my training on Wall Street with Kidder Peabody. The Dow Jones Average was 680 and the price of a 1st class stamp had increased to 8 cents.

In 1995 I founded Chippewa Partners, to manage serious money for Native American tribes who had found wealth in casino gaming.

I like having fun and I want to conduct a simple exercise to help me get a better feel of where the stock market is headed. I would like to ask each of you to close your eyes, ……. Now, if you think the market is headed higher by the end of the year please raise your hand….great ...now, if you think the market is headed lower, raise your hand….. (It looked like a tie….)

Lets talk about why we need exposure to the stock market and not just keep our money under the mattress, in money-market funds or in US Government bond funds.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, maybe I’ve been around too long, maybe I’ve made far too much money sitting in stocks over the long term. You see I am one of these guys that believes stocks solve long term problems. You should too. If you are like a lot of investors maybe you have turned off the TV and the financial news as the market has corrected. I know the drivel on CNBC from the buy-this, sell-that crowd drowns out basic, common sense.

To me and probably to you, the hallmarks of a successful retirement are dignity and independence. Today the average American male lives to be 74, the average female lives to be 80. I know the key to financial independence, perhaps over decades of retirement is an income you can’t outlive—an income that’s rising even as your cost of living continues to go up. Remember the price of stamps?

The biggest financial risk to all of us in the 21st Century, besides not losing one’s money, is outliving it, which means owning the stock market is more critical today than ever before. Remember, the CPI over the last 30 years has tripled, who triples their income? Risk is the extinction of their purchasing power. Safety is increasing their purchasing power.

Last week I paid 39 cents for a postage stamp. I will bet you my shoes that the price of stamps is only going one way. Would anyone care to guess which way the price of stamps is going?

Let’s talk about the Stock Market - What is the stock market? the stock market is simply a facility for the exchange of shares. Just like the markets for fish, or grain, oil or butter. It is driven by supply and demand. Investors often forget that stock prices are set “at-the-margin”, that is, by the selling pressure or buying interest at a central location. Share prices are NOT set by any kind of fundamental valuation formula’s or by the talking heads on CNBC….Friends of mine who work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange understand fear and greed better than most investors but they can’t tell the difference between a preferred stock and livestock. When I last checked greed and fear hadn’t changed for around 10,000 years.

As an economist by training, I understand that contrary to what I was taught, supply and demand in the stock market are in equilibrium only a very small fraction of the time. Price and value are two completely separate things in the stock market. The market is not always efficient but it is always very effective.

Securities markets are fundamental to the capital formation process in a free economy. They enable businesses to raise capital by offering shares of stock to investors. After the IPO’s, companies can invest in plants and in new equipment that produce goods and create jobs which develop a better quality of life in our communities.

Today, capitalism is the organizing principle for most of the human activity on the globe, for no one can stop capitalism.

I want to give you 10 reasons why the stock market is going to continue to go up much like it has during your entire lifetime.
First, the United States has the greatest number of Entrepreneurial Managed companies in the world, bar none.
2. we have the Leading Military in the world.
3. we have the Leading High Technology in the world both in hardware and software.
4. we have the Leading Medical Technology in the world.
5. we have the Leading Political System in the world.
6. We have 25 times more Nobel Prize winners than any other country.
7. We create more Jobs than Japan and Europe together.
8. We have 11,000 companies in the US that trade publicly under some of the better accounting rules anywhere.
9. you as an American have the Freedom to accumulate Wealth and extract out of life what it is you want.

And finally, the stock market Doesn’t Care who you are, what color you are, where you went to school and, because I grew up in the poorest county in America, it doesn’t care where you came from. Tell me, do I look poor?

Things are great and they are going to get better. I feel the 21st century started in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down. Change is certain. I am one of these guys that believe you set your goals in life ahead of time. Mine include being a free person; freedom is what this country is about. if I am doing what I want to be doing I am free.

The opportunities for success are greater now than ever before. For the first time in the history of the world all the people who are poor, know that they are poor. Success has nothing to do with money; it has everything to do with how you feel about yourself. Your net worth is basically your ability to function and I feel blessed that I have a high ability to function.

When I was headed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the fall 1972 postage stamps cost 8 cents and the Dow crossed 1000 for the first time. That year the first microprocessor was invented. Today 85% of the scientists who have ever lived are still working!

The internet is getting a start but remember, the internet is only another channel for communication; it resembles a tool called the telephone. And technology is a tool--- a wonderful tool in terms of saving time, effort and energy, but ultimately just a tool.

In 1976 when I completed my Economics degree the price of a postage stamp was 13 cents

As you can see, consumer prices have roughly tripled since then.

The stock market has gone up thousands of points since then.

Is there anyone here who thinks they don’t need stocks for the long-term?

The stock market is a funny place. It is the only business in the world where when things are on sale, people don’t want to buy. The greatest single enemy of long term investment success is not ignorance, it’s FEAR. You see, fear leads to panic and panic breeds the inability to distinguish between temporary declines and permanent losses. When people panic they don’t discriminate. Investors are more predicable when they’re scared and it makes it easier for those of us who can take advantage of that indiscriminate selling.

Since all declines have been temporary in my lifetime, and all advances have been permanent, we know the key to investment success is not found in intellectual gobble-de-gook like beta’s, standard deviations, quantitative analysis, chaos theory or inefficient markets. Successful investing in the stock market is about time in the market , not timing the market. Put time on your side. The single greatest thing you can have going for you is time because no on can successfully forecast interest rates over the long term and no one can forecast short to intermediate term stock market gyrations. Long term the market always goes up, that is inevitable.

Why do investors lose in the stock market? I don’t want to be critical, a tenant I try to live with is don’t criticize until you have walked a mile in somebody else's moccasins.

Investors lose because they don’t make good trading decisions, they fail because they don’t understand the market, they don’t control their risk, they don’t trade in defined time frames, they don’t understand themselves, they don’t use the right tools to help them, they get advice from brokers whose motivation is to generate sales charges and commissions and they fail, …….. because they sell-out at the bottom of temporary market declines……
Is it any wonder that the average American spends more time planning their vacation than they do planning for their retirement?

Another reason that investors are losing the investing game is because they have bought into what I call the Sponge Bob School of Selecting Mutual Funds. Some journalists and many in the brokerage community tout the mantra of counting the number of stars in ranking mutual funds, thinking, you will enjoy superior investment results with owning so many stars next to the name of your mutual fund.

You see, unaided, most people, invest through the rear-view mirror. They buy mutual funds after they’ve gone up substantially. They buy shares in the hottest fund, in the hottest sector, in the hottest country, the one that has the most stars next to its listing in Money magazine. Then what happens? You know the drill. They turn cold. In fairly short order, a perfectly normal market correction comes along. The cycle comes to an end. Investing like that is like enlisting in the Taliban on September 12th, 2001. You are joining the proudest fighting force in the world on that day. Yes your outfit just pulled off one of the greatest disasters of all time. But you know what? You are toast. Your obituary is written. It’s all downhill. Anyone want to enlist in the Taliban after loading up on the hottest 5 or 10 or 15 star mutual funds?

When you invest like that, the chances of you selling out at the bottom of the cycle, being influenced by negative journalism is pretty high.

I have no wish to drive this message into the ground like a Cruise missile but I want to make one point very clear: Pay attention. At the end of an investors life, less than 5% of his total lifetime return will come from what his investments did versus other similar investments. The other 95% will come from how the investor behaved. Let me explain…
I have a firm belief that there is absolutely no relationship between Investment performance and Investor performance. Stock market success is a function of two things: one, recognition that the markets will go down and sometimes go down a lot and two: preparation to regard those declines as either non-events or buying opportunities, and never as an occasion to sell in a panic.

With all certainty, I know that the most boring and mediocre stock fund in your portfolio, the one that you hold onto during a vicious and severe bear market is infinitely better than that world-class stock fund that you sell out of at the bottom of a temporary decline.

Now, if your portfolio is making you feel like you are sitting outside your first class cabin on the Titanic let’s talk for a moment on what you might do to help yourself as an investor. The first thing would be to shut off CNBC. I hope someday CNBC will be required by law to flash on the TV screen a graphic that says “Nothing that happens in the market in the next 30 days will matter in 10 or 15 years”.

Another thing you might want to do is fire your stockbroker. Wall Street investment firms only care if they can sell stocks, not what happens to investors. They are not paid to make clients money and are not fiduciaries. We can cover more on that that later.

Another thing might be to stop reading the financial press. Yes, I admit that I read 3 papers every morning before the average guy gets out of bed, but journalism always gets it wrong! It has a relentless bias to the negative. I call it financial pornography. Reporters haven’t written much lately about my reasons why the stock market is headed up in our lifetime and it isn’t the job of journalists to make people great investors. It’s their job to make people come back for more journalism.

Another approach in the market would be to copy Warren Buffet. He finds the right situation by locating value in businesses. He trades an economic purpose in the largest timeframe, the timeframe called forever. He spends essentially no time thinking about unemployment numbers or interest rates, the big factors that so many investors think about. He does care about the potential impact that inflation might have on various businesses much like our worry about the cost of postage stamps going up year after year after year. Warren Buffet, on October 19th, 1987 had his personal stock holdings marked down by a staggering $342,000,000. My one question to you is: How much money did Warren Buffet lose on October 19th, 1987 when the market cratered 508 points and an astounding 22%?

Do you know why he didn’t lose any money that day? On that day he didn’t sell. He was a buyer.. It was a bear market. Stocks were on sale. If the stock market falls 25% that does not mean a loss of 25%. If you don’t panic, there is no loss. If you don’t sell, there is no loss. Warren Buffet knows that no one can forecast interest rates and that no one can forecast the short term swings in the stock market. Long term, the market always goes up. Always. Today, half the volume on the NYSE is generated by traders whose long-term horizon is the weekend. The secret to making big money in stocks, is to not get scared out of them. Americans, God bless them, are totally unable to distinguish between fluctuation and loss.

[There are hundreds of thousands of Americans walking around out there, unaware that they own equity mutual funds that went down 40% and more in the 3 months that ended on that October 19, 1987 had also gone up about 40% in the first seven months of that year.]

Another approach for success might be to invest with the corporate insiders, the management teams of these companies. These managers usually have a significant vested interest in the performance of their companies shares. They usually have to justify getting in and out of their shares and we like to know what they are doing. We like to know if they put their money where their mouth is…..where the rubber meets the road…we like to know if they focus on the earnings growth of the company rather the next golf outing on the corporate jet or how much they can spend on perks provided by shareholders. And we like to know if they buy shares with real money or just exercise options that cost them little or nothing.

Another approach would be to look at the institutional ownership of a company and the quality of the institution that owns it. Fidelity is probably the largest client of the top 200 brokerage firms in America, they generate hundreds of millions of dollars in commissions and they manage a lot of money. They own a little bit of everything. There are great companies that are in demand by the largest institutions like Fidelity and you want to be on their side when they are making a move to accumulate more shares that they think have value . And speaking of money, value to me is a funny word. Value and growth are joined at the hip. Value to me doesn’t mean stocks with low price-earnings multiples or a low price to book-value relationship. Value to me is time-related. Value could mean the bond market at a point in time. Value could mean a once high-flying growth stock that has come down in price. Value could be an absurdly overpriced stock that is ripe to short…..Value shows itself in the market during times of great fear and greed and one should take a very aggressive stance in taking advantage of the imbalance.

I don't like to describe my market activity exactly, because what I do is appropriate for me and not necessarily anyone else. So by design, I am slightly vague most of the time. I would rather my comments about individual stocks be used as food for thought than as a road map for action.

If you invest for the long term in individual stocks as many of you should, the most important thing you can have working for you is the management of the company. We look for honesty and leadership and we want a protected defensible niche: let me give you an example: My wife loves to shop at WalMart, to get to WalMart in my Ford I buy gas at Exxon and when I need to fix up the house I go to what I call the “100-dollar store”, The Home Depot. After I take my two sons to lunch at McDonalds I start fixing up the house. In the evening, I take a muscle relaxant made by Merck right before I turn out the lights made by General Electric, powered by Southern Company. You see, the great franchise names in America today should be owned for the long term, not just until the market goes thru a healthy correction like it does every five to 10 years or so, heavens, the longest bear market in history, from 1929 to 1933 only lasted 4 years. …….remember, bear market, big sale…..

Now let me talk about the brokers for a bit…..A few years ago a study was done by a firm out of Chicago. They looked at around 150 families each having at least 100 million dollars in assets. There were some common denominators in the group, the obvious being money can’t buy happiness, the second was that they all thought they should be able to get 8% returns with no risk and for what they were being charged in fees they expected at least 20-25% returns every year……. Now really????

Now what they did do was put a hefty premium on paid investment advice from investment managers. Guys like myself. By comparison, trust officers, bankers and stockbrokers were relied on by no more than 4% of the group or roughly 6 out of 150. If you think you are getting sound advice from a brokerage firm or worse yet, a bank, you better think long and hard. I don’t have the time this month let alone right now to tell you the horror stories. Just never forget, there is significant potential for conflicts-of-interest in commissions. If you ever have a question on what you might be paying a broker, give me ring. I love to show investors the hidden fees. I love to talk about fees.

A few times a year as my schedule permitted I worked for the New York Stock Exchange as an arbitrator. I was a judge for investors who sue brokers and brokerage firms. It is a demanding task. But I must tell you, the longer I was at it, the more fearful I was of Wall Street brokerage firms as well as the legions of attorneys who don’t understand securities laws.

The question that I put to you is: Who is being compensated to look out for your hard-earned money and what is their motivation?

Do you think Michael Jordan logs on to the Internet to get some coaching on his portfolio? That Internet broker never, not once, talked anyone out of a bad decision. No amount of fast Internet access saved the legions of newly impoverished who bought one dot.com stock after another in the last bear market. Investors who confuse a sales pitch that generates a broker’s income with impartial investment advice continually amaze me. Do you think Tiger Woods uses a broker who is paid to sell him something or an investment management firm that is hired to increase his net worth and protect his assets? The answer is they have competent, unbiased investment managers. They hire investment management professionals to manage their assets. You probably should too.

What is a broker? Stock brokers are merely small business people that buy services from the firm with whom they are licensed. Invariably they are more concerned with their income than your outcome. Have you ever looked in an annual report from a brokerage firm and tried to find how much money they made for their customers in dispensing their expensive research? It isn’t in there. I wonder why? No one on the planet knows the folly of brokerage firm research better than a retail broker.

And let me touch briefly on these Wall Street analysts. I know several of them.
Investors who rely on earnings estimates of Wall Street analysts usually get clobbered. Analysts avoid writing anything negative about a company. My own view is that anyone who buys a stock solely on the basis of a research report deserves whatever carnage comes their way. Most research, by the way, is NOT geared for the small retail investor. No one on the planet knows better the folly of analysts research than a retail stockbroker. The reason they pay analysts so much money is that they continually embarrass themselves.

Investors should pay heed. 1.Analysts who work for major wall-street firms are forced to spend increasing amounts of time marketing. Their time demands are critical factors in leading to error. 2.Analysts are now reporters. Their earnings estimates are based more on their latest conference calls with corporate chieftains than on analysis. They “fudge” the numbers to agree with the latest guidance from the management team. 3.Most analysts understand macro factors, but they can always find reasons why the company they are recommending will withstand the negatives of the industry. Like I said earlier, it is difficult to swim upstream. 4.When there is a shock to the financial system such as the crisis in the fall of 2001 it takes a while for all the implications to be factored in. The “herd” mentality envelopes the analysts and they then rely too much on the latest conference call “guidance”. Indeed a vicious circle because the whole game had evolved into nothing more than a big conference call with the implementation of Regulation FD.

I have always felt it is important for an investor to have a disciplined investment approach and to understand the level of risk that he or she is willing to take. But what is risk ? What is risk management ? Is it to prevent loss? If that is your objective then put your money in US Treasury bills and stay away from the bank and stay away from stocks. Warren Buffet says that if you aren’t willing to see your long term stocks go down by 50%, you shouldn’t own stocks at all. The objective assessment of risk is a money managers foremost consideration.
My definition of risk is simple. I like to define my risk ahead of time. I define risk as the amount of money I am willing to lose on a trade before I exit the trade. To do that I had better understand in what time frame I am trading in..

Am I trading in a Short time-frame of days to weeks?---am I risking my capital in an Intermediate time frame of weeks to months or,,,, in the Long-term time frame which I like to call FOREVER. Another idea that should be considered is having your money managed on an absolute basis versus a relative basis and we can discuss that later.…….

For most Americans investing in mutual funds is their exposure to the stock market.
There are two easy ways of investing in Mutual Funds. You can do it thru ACTIVE investing, that is owning mutual funds that promote the active buying and selling of stocks or PASSIVE investing; the ownership of index mutual funds.
Why do index funds make sense for virtually all investors?
One, low portfolio turnover resulting from a commitment to long-term investment in asset classes 2) the relative certainty of achieving the expected return of an asset class invested by an index fund 3) minimal costs and taxes that maximize performance 4) broad diversification that impacts investment risk and 5) full investment in the respective market at all times due to the absence of cash reserves and any market timing activity.

With very low costs involved in the ownership of index funds, they prevent the long-term tyranny of costs compounding against investors.

With Index Funds the investor is saying to himself: “I don’t want to try my hand at being smarter, or faster or better in selecting individual securities. I am going to leave that out.” The whole point of indexing is that you are investing via a process and not a manager who is buying this and selling that. A key attraction of simply buying the index is the assurance, in every single time frame, of avoiding below-market returns.

By leaving out the most time demanding, attention gathering and expensive part of the business. It is simple, buy an index fund. You are free to de-index, to go neutral and stay neutral at a very low cost. Wall Street does NOT want you to be buying index funds.
I wonder why?

The evidence on mutual fund managers success with market timing is impressive--- and overwhelmingly negative.

A few years a fancy, academic study concluded that asset allocation is the most important determinant in investment returns. Stockbrokers love to tout that this means that the way in which an investor allocates his money among different asset classes will determine over 90% of his overall return. What they want you to believe after they rearrange your portfolio with the highest “yield to broker” investments that you will be okay. What that study really said, listen to me, is that stocks, long term, produce higher returns than bonds and it says nothing about investor behavior.

Lets not kid ourselves. The bottom line is this, and if you don’t believe it you have the right to be wrong….. but don’t forget it……the higher your equity exposure as a percentage of your assets, the better your overall return, over the long term. Listen carefully, assets having the least short term volatility embody the greatest long term risk. Conversely, those asset classes that have the greatest volatility near term supply you with superior returns.

As an investor you have the ability to control major investment variables

You can control Risk ----- by having predetermined exit points.
You can control Reward---- by how much money you choose to invest
You can control Diversification parameters by your asset allocation
You can control Costs by who you hire and prevent costs compounding against you.
The one variable you can not control is Time…. the amount of time you have available to invest your assets.
And time in the market creates the 8th wonder of the world……the power of compounding …. Time is the key element in the power of compounding stock returns.

Trading stocks is a very difficult endeavor. Professionals have a rough time of it. The largest hedge funds in the world went out of business in 2001. There are no market timers or day traders on the Forbes 400 list. Yet trading by individuals and professionals is reaching epidemic proportions. The average mutual fund has portfolio turnover of about 90%. The average holding period of the QQQ’s is about 4 days. If you are going to leave here and go it alone let me offer you some points to protect your capital when the going gets rough. And it won’t be a question of “if”, it will only be a question of “when” because the public never understands until it is too late.

First, you have got to plan. Have written goals. Treat your trading P/L as a business.
Take small losses. No one wins 100% of the time Protect your capital, play great defense.
Integrate chart analysis. Charts show 2 things….price and volume…charts are facts, not opinions. They show fear and greed, supply and demand. Learn to understand chart action.
Stay with the trend. Make sure the stock is right, the sector is right and the market is right…..it is hard to swim upstream when 7 out of 8 stocks move with the general trend of the market.
Understand proper position-sizing techniques. If you don’t know what they are you better get some help….. and quick…….
Never average down in stock trades. Always average down in mutual funds in bear markets….when things are on sale…….when the stock market averages come down 30-40-50% off their highs you have got to be a buyer.
Control your risk. Have predetermined exit points.
Stay off margin. Leverage cuts both ways. It is intoxicating on the way up but it can take you out on the way down. The markets are organized around nature and physics. Stocks fall 3 times faster than they go up. Things are destroyed quicker than they are created.

I tell clients that, in the long run, no mutual fund manager controls their investment fate. They control it. Bailing out of markets is like quitting a marathon because you get tired. Stocks solve long term problems over the long term. Patience, discipline and faith in the future are virtues that with a good investment manager by your side, will determine 90% of your lifetime returns.

Before we begin taking some questions I want to make a commitment to each and every one of you if you decide to hire Chippewa Partners. I can promise you that, throughout all the years we work together, you will never find another investment advisor who will care more about you and your family, or who’ll be more deeply committed to the realization of your financial goals.
I promise to invest your capital as carefully as I do my own, because I know that your hopes for your future are every bit as sacred to you as mine are to me.
I commit to tell you the plain, unvarnished truth all the time, especially when you may not want to hear it. I will never, ever, tell you I can do something I can’t do. Nor will I tell you I’ll do something and then not do it.

You will surely encounter financial advisors “smarter” than I am. You’ll run across advisors who are cheaper than I am. But you will never in your life find an advisor you can trust more implicitly than you can trust me. I insist my clients plan and stick to their goals. Their goals, not mine. Beyond that, I encourage them to hope, because I know that long-term optimism is the only realism.

Clients understand that the serious money we manage for them is serious business. It deserves our serious attention. We view money management as a profession that takes tremendous effort and expertise to achieve excellence. Our partners recognize that what distinguishes us from others is that our assignment to manage investments is just not about portfolio growth but about financial goals, retirements, hopes, dreams and to improve the quality of our clients lives.

Understand clearly you are being asked to entrust your financial future to Chippewa Partners.

Not to a generic financial plan spit out from some computer and not to the latest investment fad de jour…..… to me.

And I, for my part, am offering to accept that responsibility.

Native American Speech -- NYC

BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I BRING YOU GREETINGS FROM THE CITY OF ATLANTA, THE STATE OF GEORGIA, AND GREETINGS FROM ALL OF INDIAN COUNTRY. IT IS A PLEASURE TO BE WITH YOU TODAY.

WHEN I WAS ASKED TO SPEAK AT THIS CONFERENCE I TOLD THE ORGANIZERS THAT I HAD A CONFLICT WITH AN ELK HUNTING TRIP TO THE WOLF MOUNTAINS OF MONTANA, THE LAND OF THE CROW INDIAN TRIBE AND THAT IF POSSIBLE WE WOULD HAVE TO REARRANGE OUR SCHEDULE. WELL, WITH A BIT OF LUCK WE’LL STILL MAKE IT TO MONTANA AND THOSE ELK WILL STILL BE THERE LONG AFTER THIS CONFERENCE AND FOR THAT I AM THANKFUL. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE BEING HIGH UP IN ELK COUNTRY TO CLEAR ONE’S THINKING AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR.

ALLOW ME TO START WITH A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY . ABORIGINAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIVED ON THIS CONTINENT FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS PRIOR TO WHAT THE HISTORY BOOKS CALLED THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. YET IT WAS COLUMBUS WHO WAS LOST, HOW COULD HISTORIANS SAY WE WERE DISCOVERED? IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES THEY WOULD HAVE ALL STARVED, YET THE HISTORY BOOKS IN SCHOOL CALLED US THE “VANISHING AMERICANS”. THE NATIVE PEOPLES MET THE EUROPEANS UPON LANDING. THEY PROVIDED SHELTER AND MAIZE, AND IN RETURN WERE GIVEN SMALLPOX AND MEASLES, SICKNESSES THAT HAD NO IMMUNITY , AND OF COURSE THE BIGGEST SCOURGE WE STILL HAVE TODAY, ALCOHOL, THE FIREWATER OF AMERICA. AT ONE TIME A FEW MILLION INDIGENOUS LIVED ON THIS CONTINENT, TODAY ONLY ABOUT A MILLION NATIVE PEOPLE LIVE ON OR NEAR THE ACREAGE THE US GOVERNMENT SET ASIDE FOR THEM IN THEIR FORCED ASSIMILATION. THE LARGER TRIBES ARE THE CHEROKEE NATION AND THE NAVAJO, THEN MY TRIBE THE CHIPPEWA, FOLLOWED BY THE SIOUX, THE CHOCTAW, THE PUEBLO, AND THE APACHE.

IN 1626, THE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN WAS PURCHASED FROM THE NATIVE INDIANS FOR A MERE $24 WORTH OF TRINKETS. BY 1887, NATIVE AMERICANS STILL CONTROLLED 150 MILLION ACRES OF LAND. TODAY THAT ACREAGE HAS DWINDLED TO ABOUT 50 MILLION ACRES. AS THE WHITE MANS APPETITE FOR LAND BEGAN TO DEVELOP, THE WESTWARD EXPANSION DEVOURED LARGE TRACTS OF OPEN SPACE. THIS EXPANSION TRANSFORMED THE INHABITANTS, ANIMALS, AND OPEN SPACES INTO A NEW SOCIAL, POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ORDER. TO BE SURE, NOT MUCH TIME WAS SPENT REALIZING THAT THIS NEW ERA WAS REPLACING A CULTURE AND RACE WHICH HAD INHABITED THE LAND FOR A THOUSAND YEARS. QUITE SIMPLY, THE LAND BECAME AN OBSESSIVE MONSTER WHERE GREED AND POWER DETERMINED THE LIFE OF IT’S INHABITANTS. BY 1934, INDIANS CONTROLLED ONLY 70 MILLIONS ACRES OF THEIR FORMER TERRITORIES.

ABOUT 125 YEARS AGO, INDIANS WERE SLOWLY BEING CORRALLED INTO SPACES NOT MUCH LARGER THAN THEIR FAVORITE HUNTING GROUNDS, THE NATIVE POPULATIONS WERE MASSACRED, RELIGIOUS STRUCTURES LOOTED, AND LEADERS SLAIN.

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAD THIS CONTINENTS FIRST FREEDOM FIGHTERS. THEY WERE LEADERS AND FIGHTERS FOR THEIR FREEDOM WITH NAMES LIKE TECUMSAH, DULL KNIFE, SITTING BULL, CRAZY HORSE, AND GERONIMO. BUT, WHY IS IT, WHEN THE NATIVE INDIANS KILLED THE ENCROACHING WHITE SETTLERS IN PROTECTION OF THEIR LAND THEY WERE LABELED “RUTHLESS SAVAGES”? I ASK, WHY WAS GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER DEPICTED AS BEING MASSACRED WHILE THE RUTHLESS SLAUGHTER OF CHIEF BIG FOOT AND HIS BAND AT WOUNDED KNEE IS STILL CALLED A BATTLE?

YET, DESPITE MORE THAN FOUR CENTURIES OF ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION, RELIGIOUS INDOCTRINATION, AND SOCIAL UPHEAVAL, THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE STILL MAINTAIN REMARKABLE ETHNIC COHESION. MANY GROUPS STILL ADHERE TO CERTAIN CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS THOUGH MANY ARE SLOWLY FADING. ALLOW ME TO GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE OF RESERVATION HISTORY AND LET ME USE MY RESERVATION, THE WHITE EARTH CHIPPEWA RESERVATION IN NORTHERN MINNESOTA. IN 1867 A TREATY WAS SIGNED BY THE US GOVERNMENT THAT SET ASIDE 837,000 ACRES, TODAY ONLY ABOUT 7% OF THAT LAND IS OWNED BY TRIBAL MEMBERS. THE LAND WAS OWNED BY ALL MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE UNTIL THE EARLY 1900’S WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PASSED THE GENERAL ALLOTMENT ACT, SOMETIMES CALLED THE DAWES ACT, TO SUPPOSEDLY TURN THE NATIVE PEOPLE INTO FARMERS. THE ACT DIVIDED THE RESERVATION INTO 160 ACRE PLOTS FOR EACH TRIBAL MEMBER. AND REMEMBER IN THOSE DAYS MOST TRIBAL MEMBERS COULD NOT READ OR WRITE, NOR UNDERSTAND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE FOR AT THAT TIME MOST ONLY SPOKE ANISHINABE OR FRENCH , MANY WERE TOTALLY UNAWARE THAT ANYTHING WAS HAPPENING. HUNDREDS OF INDIANS FORFEITED LAND BECAUSE THEY FAILED TO PAY PROPERTY TAXES THEY COULD NOT COMPREHEND. OTHERS WERE DUPED BY SPECULATORS AND TIMBER COMPANIES AND MANY OTHERS, MY GRANDFATHER INCLUDED, WERE ENTICED INTO SIGNING AWAY THEIR LAND HOLDINGS BY OUTSIDERS WHO TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEM UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL.

OUR MISSION AS A MONEY MANAGEMENT FIRM IS TO HELP NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBAL ENTITIES HELP THEMSELVES BY GROWING THEIR CAPITAL, TO MAKE LONG TERM GROWTH AVAILABLE FOR OUR CLIENT’S ASSETS. WE CAN’T SEE HOW THE US GOVERNMENT HAS HELPED MUCH. IF YOU GO DOWN TO WASHINGTON DC TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES YOU CAN READ THE TREATIES THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SIGNED WITH FOREIGN SOVEREIGN NATIONS LIKE FRANCE AND JAPAN, AND ALSO THE INDIAN TRIBES OF THE AMERICA’S. BUT LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT WHAT THESE TREATIES HAVE BEEN ALL ABOUT AND LET’S EXAMINE WHAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS REALLY DONE FOR THE AMERICAN INDIAN. THERE HAVE BEEN OVER 800 TREATIES SIGNED BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND INDIAN TRIBES. 430 OF THOSE TREATIES HAVE BEEN TOTALLY IGNORED. OF THE REMAINING 370 OR SO THAT WERE RATIFIED, EVERY LAST ONE HAS BEEN VIOLATED BY THE US GOVERNMENT.

MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED HOW LONG AFFIRMATIVE ACTION COULD BE EXPECTED TO HOLD UP WITH OUR FRIENDS IN WASHINGTON BY LOOKING AT THE WAY THEY KEEP THEIR WORD.

THE SOVEREIGN TO SOVEREIGN STATUS BETWEEN INDIAN TRIBES AND THE US GOVERNMENT IS THE MOST VALUABLE RIGHT INDIAN TRIBES HOLD TODAY. THOUGH TRIBES CAN NOT PRINT MONEY AND CAN NOT REPRESENT THEMSELVES TO FOREIGNERS WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE OUR OWN LAWS AND TO HELP OUR PEOPLE. BUT WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS WORD “SOVEREIGN” MEAN? WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SOVEREIGN NATION WITHIN THE POLITICAL BOUNDS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY? IT SEEMS LIKE A FORKED TONGUE OF THE GOVERNMENT SPEAKING BECAUSE MAKING HUMAN BEINGS INTO WARDS OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER TRUSTEESHIP LIKE ON OUR RESERVATIONS TODAY IS A HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION OF THE WORST KIND. AFEW YEARS AGO THE SYMPATHETIC AND COOPERATIVE VIEW HELD IN CONGRESS TOWARD AMERICAN INDIANS WAS FOREVER ALTERED WITH THE LAYOFF OF THOUSANDS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHOSE JOBS ARE TO HELP OUR COUNTRY’S FIRST AMERICANS.

THE SEEDS FOR OUR INVESTMENT FIRM WERE SOWN MANY YEARS AGO.

NATIVE AMERICAN ADVISORS, INCORPORATED BECAME A VISION OF MINE IN THE LATE 1980’S WHILE I WAS WORKING AT DREXEL BURNHAM LAMBERT IN LAJOLLA, CALIFORNIA. IT WAS WHAT I CALL THE ABUSE BY THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS THAT LED ME TO BELIEVE THERE SHOULD BE A NATIVE AMERICAN OWNED MONEY-MANAGEMENT FIRM. IT WAS THEN IN THE LATE 80’S THAT THE NAME OF THE FIRM WAS CONCEIVED AND LONG BEFORE I EVER HAD A COMPANY TO ATTACH THE NAME TO. MY BIGGEST SUPPORTER, MY WIFE, LAUGHS AT ME AND SAYS THAT I HAD POORLY TIMED THE START UP OF THE FIRM WITH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ON THE HOT-SEAT. MY REPLY HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT MONEY IS GREEN AND HARD WORK AND RESPECTABLE PERFORMANCE WILL SEE US THROUGH. WE ARE NOT A FRONT PROGRAM, I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT ALL ON MY OWN, AND IT IS AN ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURE. WE MAY BE AN EMERGING FIRM BUT WE’VE PAID OUR DUES ON WALL STREET. IF THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A STANDARD EMERGING FIRM, I’D LIKE TO THINK WE’RE IT!! I LAUGH WHEN I HEAR PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT REVERSE DISCRIMINATION IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. I ALWAYS THOUGHT THERE SHOULD BE AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM WHERE THE UPPER CLASS WOULD GO LIVE IN THE HOMELESS SECTION OF TOWN, AND THE HOMELESS WOULD BE ABLE TO LIVE IN THE PENTHOUSES AND THE COUNTRY ESTATES FOR AWHILE. NOW THAT WOULD REALLY BE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, IF THE CONGRESSMAN SHOULD SWAP STATUS WITH THE DOWN-AND-OUT AND UNEMPLOYED AND LET THE POVERTY STRICKEN GOVERN FOR WHILE. THESE STEPS MIGHT HELP REDRESS SOME OF THE WRONGS IN THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE BUT IT IS 2006 AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WAS STARTED IN THE KENNEDY AND LBJ YEARS WHEN THE SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF AMERICA WAS EMERGING. I FEEL A QUIET DISCORD IN THE NATION ABOUT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION TODAY, WHY IS IT SO QUIET, LIKE THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. WE MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE FIGHT AND HAVE OUR STORIES BE HEARD. AS A MAN, AND TO EVERY MAN AND WOMAN PRESENT TODAY ALL WE ASK IS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. A FIELD WHERE WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE OUR SHOTS AND TO HELP OUR PEOPLE. WE MUST GO FORWARD AND FIGHT THE FIGHT FOR WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT OUR OWN INSECURITY.

SO, SOME PEOPLE ASK, HOW DO NATIVE AMERICAN MONEY MANAGERS COME ABOUT? WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? AND WHERE ARE THEY GOING?

I WAS BORN IN 1953 IN THE LAND OF 10,000 LAKES, THE STATE OF MINNESOTA. I AM A MEMBER OF THE WHITE EARTH BAND OF CHIPPEWA INDIANS. THE CHIPPEWA ARE OFTEN CALLED THE OJIBWAY, IN REALITY THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE ANISHINABE, MEANING “THE PEOPLE”. REMEMBER THAT THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE WERE NEVER KNOWN AS INDIANS OR NATIVE AMERICANS TO EACH OTHER. TO SOME, THE WORD INDIAN IS AN EXPLOITATION WORD ALONG WITH THE OFFICIAL DESIGNATIONS OF THE INDIAN TRIBES. IN GROWING UP ON VARIOUS INDIAN RESERVATIONS IN THE DAKOTA’S AND MONTANA I SAW LIFE IN MANY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. MY FATHER WORKED AS A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR FOR THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND GROWING UP, WE MOVED OFTEN. ATTENDING 4 HIGH SCHOOLS IN THREE STATES WE LIVED FOR SEVERAL YEARS IN PINE RIDGE, SOUTH DAKOTA, IN SHANNON COUNTY, ONE OF THE POOREST COUNTIES IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY ACCORDING TO CENSUS DATA. BUT POOR IS RELATIVE. I WAS RICH IN FAMILY AND HEALTH. I GREW UP ON A HORSE, BECAME VERY COMPETENT WITH A RIFLE AND FOUND ATHLETICS A WAY TO RAISE MY THINKING FOR IT WAS ATHLETICS THAT TOOK ME TO THE TOWNS AND CITIES WHERE THE WHITE PEOPLE LIVED, THE TOWNS WHERE INDIANS WERE LOOKED DOWN UPON AS DRUNKEN INDIANS AND LOW-LIFE, LAZY INDIANS, AND INDIANS WHO DON’T PAY TAXES LIKE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.

IT WAS ALONG WOUNDED KNEE CREEK ON THE PINE RIDGE RESERVATION I SPENT MUCH TIME HUNTING DEER AND COYOTES. IN THE SOLITUDE OF THE ROLLING, PINE COVERED COUNTRY ONLY A MERE 80 YEARS BEFORE IT WAS THE SOUND OF THE HOTCHKISS GUNS, CAREFULLY TRAINED ON A GROUP OF TERRIFIED AND DISARMED CHEYENNE INDIANS THAT MADE ALL THE NOISE. NEVER FORGET IT WAS NOT A BATTLEFIELD AT WOUNDED KNEE LIKE SOME HISTORIANS SUGGEST, IT WAS THE ASSASSINATION OF AN INNOCENT INDIGENOUS GROUP OF PEOPLE BY OUR GOVERNMENT THE SAME GOVERNMENT THAT KILLED CHIEF SITTING BULL TWO MONTHS BEFORE.
THE SAME GOVERNMENT THAT TODAY WANTS TO HOLD THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES SACRED WHILE AT THE SAME TIME TRASHING OUR ENVIRONMENT AND POLLUTING OUR WATER.

IT WAS ATHLETICS THAT DELIVERED TO ME THE SOUTH DAKOTA OUTSTANDING INDIAN ATHLETE AWARD, PRESENTED TO ME BY OLYMPIC TRACK CHAMPION BILLY MILLS. AND IT WAS THOSE ATHLETIC SKILLS THAT SENT ME TO THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT.

THE MILITARY IN THAT ERA DIDN’T FIT WELL, VIETNAM WAS GOING GREAT GUNS AND ATHLETICS AT THAT LEVEL HAD LOST THE ALLURE. THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA BECKONED AND IN THE NEXT THREE YEARS I TOOK A DEGREE WITH TWO MAJORS. I WORKED HARD IN PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH SCHOOL AND TO DO IT I DID WHAT MY GRANDFATHERS HAD DONE FOR YEARS TO HELP SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES. FUR PRICES WERE VERY HIGH IN THE 1970’S AND IT WAS THE HARVEST OF MINK, MUSKRAT, FOX, RACCOON AND BEAVER THAT PAID THE BILLS AND KEPT ME CLOSE TO THE EARTH. THERE IS A DISCIPLINE AND RESPECT IN WHAT MOTHER EARTH PROVIDES AND IT WAS THE SUCCESSFUL ANTICIPATION OF BEHAVIORAL AND SENSORY PATTERNS THAT PAID OFF. IN LOOKING BACK SOME OF THAT ANTICIPATION WORKS IN IT’S OWN WAY IN MY WORK IN THE FINANCIAL MARKETS TODAY. TO BE SURE IT WAS A GOOD TIME FOR ME AND THE ABUNDANCE OF WHAT MOTHER EARTH PROVIDES SHOULD ALWAYS BE HELD IN HIGH REGARD.


I BEGAN MY CAREER IN THE SECURITIES BUSINESS IN THE EARLY 80’S WHEN INTEREST RATES WERE SKY HIGH AND NO ONE WOULD TOUCH A STOCK. THE DOW STOOD AT 680 WHEN I ENTERED THE INVESTMENT ARENA. IT WAS OLD-LINE FIRM OF KIDDER PEABODY THAT GAVE ME A SHOT AND SENT ME DOWN TO EXCHANGE PLACE IN THE CANYONS OF LOWER MANHATAN TO LEARN WHAT THE SELL-SIDE OF THE BUSINESS WAS ALL ABOUT. THE BULL MARKET CAME ALIVE AND IN 1984 I JOINED THE GROWING FIRM OF DREXEL BURNHAM LAMBERT. THOSE WERE HEADY DAYS, WITH THE WORLD AWASH IN CASH AND A CERTAIN FEELING THAT THE LEVERAGING OF AMERICA JUST MIGHT BE A GOOD THING.

DREXEL WAS GOOD TO ME. I WORKED HARD. I WAS GOOD TO DREXEL IN 1988 I ESTABLISHED A PERMANENT ENDOWMENT FUND AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA FOR NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS TO STUDY BUSINESS. I THOUGHT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK. TO BREAK THE CYCLE, FOR EDUCATION IS THE KEY, FOR OUR CHILDREN, AND FOR OUR FUTURE.

DURING THOSE YEARS I GOT LUCKY. I HAD SOME WALL STREET VETERANS TAKE ME UNDER THEIR WING. THEY GAVE ME SHOTS AND I TOOK THE SHOTS. I WANTED TO BE THE CLIENT, BUT I WAS THE ONLY INDIAN CLIENT I COULD FIND AND TO THIS DAY OUR FIRM FEELS THAT A MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE IS INCONSISTENT WITH OUR MISSION. WE TRY TO NEVER FORGET WHERE WE HAVE COME FROM, FOR ALL I EVER WANTED WAS A SHOT, A CHANCE. I STILL CONSIDER MYSELF ONE OF THE LUCKIEST GUYS I KNOW.

FOR ABOUT 200 OF THE 550 FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED INDIAN TRIBES IN THIS COUNTRY, THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS HOLDS ABOUT 2 BILLION DOLLARS IN TRUST.

THE MONEY IS SPLIT BETWEEN THE TRIBES AND ABOUT 300,000 INDIVIDUAL INDIAN ACCOUNTS. THE TRIBES AND INDIVIDUALS EARNED THE TRUST FUNDS AS INCOME FROM DEVELOPING THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES OR AS COMPENSATION FOR THE LOSS OF THEIR RESOURCES. VARIOUS TREATIES , LAWS, AND COURT CASES DICTATED THAT EACH OF THESE TRIBE’S FUNDS WOULD BE INVESTED BY THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. FOR YEARS THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS HAD BOASTED OF THE STABLE INVESTMENT RETURN THAT THE AGENCY PROVIDED TO IT’S INDIAN CLIENTS. I COULDN’T SEE IT AND I DIDN’T BUY IT. WHEN THE BUREAU WAS GOING TO FARM OUT IT’S TRUST RESPONSIBILITIES TO MELLON BANK AND SECURITY PACIFIC BANK THE CLAMOR BECAME LOUD AND CLEAR. THE AGENCY HAD TOTALLY MISMANAGED THE FUNDS. THE ACCOUNTING PROBLEMS MAY NOT BE SETTLED IN THIS CENTURY. THERE WAS EVIDENCE THAT NO ONE HAD MADE ANY EFFORT TO RECONCILE THE BOOKS SINCE ANDREW JACKSON WAS PRESIDENT. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TURNED UP MISSING.

THE MONEY STILL SITS IN TRUST, MANAGED BY THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS WHICH WAS CREATED IN 1824 AS PART OF THE NOW DEFUNCT WAR DEPARTMENT. IN 1849 THE AGENCY WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR WHERE IT REMAINS TODAY. OUT OF THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS HAS INVESTED FOR INDIANS WHERE HAS THE MONEY BEEN INVESTED? THE BUREAU KEEPS THE MONEY IN GOVERNMENT OBLIGATIONS HELPING TO FUND THE GREATEST BUDGET DEFICIT THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN. IF THOSE SAME FUNDS HAD BEEN PUT IN PROFESSIONALLY MANAGED EQUITY FUNDS 20 YEARS AGO WHERE DO YOU THINK INDIAN TRIBES MIGHT BE AT TODAY?

IN 1988, ABOUT THE TIME THE GOVERNMENT WAS DISCOVERING THE PROBLEMS WITH INDIAN TRUST FUNDS, THE CABAZON BAND OF MISSION INDIANS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WENT BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES AND WERE TOLD THAT INDEED INDIVIDUAL STATES COULD NOT CURTAIL THE ACTIVITIES OF CERTAIN TRIBES FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION OF WHAT MANY CALL THE NEW SALMON, OR THE NEW BUFFALO. IN INDIAN COUNTRY THEY CALL IT CASINO GAMING.

THAT SAME YEAR CONGRESS PASSED THE INDIAN GAMING REGULATORY ACT. THE FOUNDATION OF THIS ACT IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS LONG STANDING RECOGNITION OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF INDIAN NATIONS. THE STATUTE UPHOLDS THE RIGHTS OF TRIBES TO NEGOTIATE GAMING COMPACTS WITH STATES, AND ITS INTENTION IS TO SUPPORT THE EFFORTS OF TRIBES TO STIMULATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PROMOTE SELF-SUFFICIENCY, AND STRENGTHEN TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS. INDIAN GAMING WAS CREATED TO PROVIDE TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS WITH A DESPERATELY NEEDED METHOD TO BEGIN REDRESSING THE CENTURIES OF POVERTY, NEGLECT, AND OUTRIGHT ABUSE SUFFERED AT THE HANDS OF THE DOMINANT SOCIETY. THE UNSPOKEN REASON WHY INDIAN GAMING WAS CREATED WAS TO HELP STATE GOVERNMENTS OUT OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS THEY HAVE GOTTEN THEMSELVES INTO. MANY OF US REALIZE THAT SPENDING IS OUT OF CONTROL AND THE GAMING REVENUE IS ONE OF THE FASTEST WAYS TO RAISE THE REVENUE FOR GAMING IS OUR FASTEST GROWING INDUSTRY. ABOUT 300 TRIBES NOW HAVE SOME FORM OF GAMING. NATIVE AMERICAN LEADERS WHO SEE LONG TERM HARM TO THEIR TRIBES FROM THE GAMBLING ENTERPRISES ARE HARD PRESSED BY THOSE WHO SEE IMMEDIATE BENEFITS WITH NOT MUCH HOPE FOR OTHER REVENUES OUTSIDE OF GAMBLING.

MOST AMERICANS, WHEN THEY THINK OF INDIAN GAMING ONLY CAN THINK OF THE MASHUNTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBE IN CONNECTICUT; BY ANY STANDARD, A PHENOMENAL SUCCESS. BUT THE SAD TRUTH IS THAT THE FIRST AMERICANS ARE STILL THE POOREST IN THE NATION. MANY OF THE BASIC NEEDS THAT MOST AMERICANS TAKE FOR GRANTED ARE STILL UNMET ON THE RESERVATIONS. INDIAN RESERVATIONS DESPERATELY NEED MORE AND BETTER HOUSING, HEALTH CARE FACILITIES, SCHOOLS, AND TRAINING PROGRAMS.

SOME TRIBES HAVE NOT BOUGHT INTO CASINO GAMING. FROM WHERE I STAND, THE JURY IS STILL OUT. THE SOCIAL COSTS CAN BE EXTREMELY HIGH, GAMBLING ADDICTION, ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN THE FAMILY, CRIMES OF THEFT AND EMBEZZLEMENT, AND THE THREAT OF ORGANIZED CRIME IN THE COMMUNITY. A FEW YEARS AGO, ON MY RESERVATION, A 44 COUNT INDICTMENT CAME DOWN AGAINST THE ELECTED TRIBAL OFFICIALS FOR FEDERAL CRIMES. MAYBE WE ARE AT THE TWILIGHT OF INDIAN GAMING AND DON’T EVEN KNOW IT. I AM SCARED FOR THE TRIBAL MEMBERS, THE REAL BENEFICIARIES OF THE MONEY POURING IN. I SEE POOR ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL CONTROLS, I SEE A NOTICEABLE LACK OF AUDIT TRAILS, I HEAR OF MONEY DISAPPEARING, AND VERY FEW AUDITED FINANCIALS. AS SOVEREIGN NATIONS THERE ARE SOVEREIGN LAWS.

THE FBI SAYS ORGANIZED CRIME IS NONEXISTENT IN INDIAN COUNTRY. MAYBE THEY SHOULD BE LOOKING A LITTLE CLOSER TO HOME BUT HOME HAS IT’S OWN PROBLEMS OF AIDS, ALCOHOLISM, DIABETES, AND FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME.

AT CHIPPEWA PARTNERS OUR JOB IS NOT ONLY ONE OF MONEY MANAGEMENT BUT ALOT OF EDUCATION TOO. I DON’T WANT TO BE CRITICAL OF ANY OF MY PEOPLE, A TENANT I LIVE WITH IS DON’T CRITICIZE UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED A MILE IN SOMEONE ELSE’S MOCCASINS. TRUST IS HARD TO COME BY IN INDIAN COUNTRY. THE 70’S AND 80’S FOUND MANY TRIBES RICH FROM NEW FOUND WEALTH IN MINERALS AND ENERGY SALES. NOT MUCH IS LEFT. THE SCAMS WERE FAIRLY COMMON. NOT MUCH OF THAT MONEY WAS EVER INVESTED FOR THE LONG HAUL. TRUST HAS TO BE EARNED.

NOW, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE DO IT.

WE DO NOT INVEST IN COMMODITIES, FUTURES, ANNUITIES, CURRENCIES, OR DERIVATIVES, PERIOD.

WE ARE GROWTH EQUITY MANAGERS. WE WORK EXTREMELY HARD. WE BRING FOUR THINGS TO THE TABLE THAT MANY TIMES LACK IN BIG ORGANIZATIONS, ENERGY, PASSION, COURAGE, AND INDEPENDENT THINKING. WE HAVE GREAT DISCIPLINE, WE KNOW HOW TO DO THE HOMEWORK. WE KNOW HOW TO DIG AND DIG DEEP. WE PREFER TO INVEST IN GROWTH STOCKS HAVING STRONG EARNINGS ACCELERATION. WE LIKE MANAGEMENT TEAMS THAT ACTUALLY OWN SHARES OF THE COMPANIES THEY RUN AND ARE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE STOCK PRICE THAN THEIR NEXT GOLF OUTING ON THE CORPORATE JET. MY LONG TERM RECORD SUGGESTS THAT I SHOULD NOT CHANGE WHAT I AM DOING.

I AM ONE OF THESE GUYS THAT BELIEVES THE 21ST CENTURY STARTED IN 1989 WHEN THE BERLIN WALL CAME DOWN. CHANGE IS CERTAIN. I ALSO BELIEVE YOU SET YOUR GOALS IN LIFE AHEAD OF TIME. MINE INCLUDE BEING A FREE PERSON. FREEDOM IS WHAT THE FIRST AMERICANS REALLY HAD. THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCCESS ARE GREATER NOW THAN EVER BEFORE. DO YOU SEE ANYTHING ABOUT ME THAT SAYS I LACK SELF-ESTEEM? DO I LOOK VICTIMIZED?

IN CLOSING, TO QUOTE ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST INVESTORS, THE QUANTUM FUND’S GEORGE SOROS, “WE NEED THE INSTITUTION’S AND INTERESTS TO LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE, WE NEED A DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT THAT ENSURES THE ORDERLY TRANSFER OF POWER, WE NEED A MARKET ECONOMY THAT PROVIDES FEEDBACK AND ALLOWS MISTAKES TO BE CORRECTED AND WE NEED TO PROTECT MINORITIES AND RESPECT MINORITY OPINION.

IF INDIAN PEOPLE HAVE ANY GREAT LESSON TO TEACH AMERICA, IT IS THE ESSENCE OF CULTURAL INTERACTION AND COEXISTENCE, TO BREAK DOWN NEEDLESS AND HARMFUL BOUNDARIES , TO EMPATHIZE, AND TO RESPECT MOTHER EARTH.

I TRULY HOPE THAT IN THE EYES OF OUR GOVERNMENT WE ARE JUST ONE PEOPLE, JUST ONE RACE! FOR AS THE OGALALA LAKOTA SAY, “MITAKU OYASIN” WHICH MEANS WE ARE ALL RELATED. AND IN THE LANGUAGE OF MY PEOPLE, THE ANISHANABE, I SAY "MEGWETCH", WHICH MEANS, “ THANK YOU”.

Stand Watie - Native American General

Born at Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, Georgia (near present day Rome, Georgia) on December 12, 1806, Stand Watie's Cherokee name was De-ga-ta-ga, or "he stands." He also was known as Isaac S. Watie. He attended Moravian Mission School at Springplace Georgia, and served as a clerk of the Cherokee Supreme Court and Speaker of the Cherokee National Council prior to removal.
As a member of the Ridge-Watie-boundinot faction of the Cherokee Nation, Watie supported removal to the Cherokee Nation, West, and signed the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, in defiance of Principal Chief John Ross and the majority of the Cherokees. Watie moved to the Cherokee Nation, West (present-day Oklahoma), in 1837 and settled at Honey Creek. Following the murders of his uncle Major Ridge, cousin John Ridge, and brother Elias Boundinot (Buck Watie) in 1839, and his brother Thomas Watie in 1845, Stand Watie assumed the leadership of the Ridge-Watie-Boundinot faction and was involved in a long-running blood feud with the followers of John Ross. He also was a leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle, which bitterly opposed abolitionism.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Watie quickly joined the Southern cause. He was commissioned a colonel on July 12, 1861, and raised a regiment of Cherokees for service with the Confederate army. Later, when Chief John Ross signed an alliance with the South, Watie's men were organized as the Cherokee Regiment of Mounted Rifles. After Ross fled Indian Territory, Watie was elected principal chief of the Confederate Cherokees in August 1862.
A portion of Watie's command saw action at Oak Hills (August 10, 1861) in a battle that assured the South's hold on Indian Territory and made Watie a Confederate military hero. Afterward, Watie helped drive the pro-Northern Indians out of Indian Territory, and following the Battle of Chustenahlah (December 26, 1861) he commanded the pursuit of hte fleeing Federals, led by Opothleyahola, and drove them into exile in Kansas. Although Watie's men were exempt from service outside Indian Territory, he led his troops into Arkansas in the spring of 1861 to stem a Federal invasion of the region. Joining with Maj. GEn. Earl Van Dorn's command, Watie took part in the bAttle of Elkhorn Tavern (March 5-6, 1861). On the first day of fighting, the Southern Cherokees, which were on the left flank of the Confederate line, captured a battery of Union artillery before being forced to abandon it. Following the Federal victory, Watie's command screened the southern withdrawal.
Watie, or troops in his command, participated in eighteen battles and major skirmishes with Federal troops during the Civil War, including Cowskin Prairie (April 1862), Old Fort Wayne (October 1862), Webber's Falls (April 1863), Fort Gibson (May 1863), Cabin Creek (July 1863), and Gunter's Prairie (August 1864). In addition, his men were engaged in a multitude of smaller skirmishes and meeting engagements in Indian Territory and neighboring states. Because of his wide-ranging raids behind Union lines, Watie tied down thousands of Federal troops that were badly needed in the East.
Watie's two greatest victories were the capture of the federal steam boat J.R. Williams on June 15, 1864, and the seizure of $1.5 million worth of supplies in a federal wagon supply train a the Second battle of Cabin Creek on September 19, 1864. Watie was promoted to brigadier general on May 6, 1864, and given command of the first Indian Brigade. He was the only Indian to achieve the rank of general in the Civil War. Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.
After the war, Watie served as a member of the Southern Cherokee delegation during the negotiation of the Cherokee Reconstruction Treaty of 1866. He then abandoned public life and returned to his old home along Honey Creek. He died on September 9, 1871.
Source: Macmillan Information Now Encyclopedia, "The Confederacy", article by Kenny A. Franks

Friday, February 03, 2006

Infighting................

Dividing Spoils, Dividing Tribes as casino cash flows in, disenrollment is fracturing some Native American communities—By Nick Rose, Utne.com February ,2006
Native Americans struggled long for sovereignty, and the victory now seems to be breeding discord, not unity, in the tribes. Casinos have been a financial windfall, and now former tribe members are claiming that tribe leaders are kicking members out on false pretenses in order to claim a larger portion of the casino earnings for themselves.The disenrolled have looked to the US courts for help, but that help has not been forthcoming. Eliza Strickland, writing for the East Bay Express, says that Thurgood Marshall's words from a 1978 Supreme Court ruling still hold truck: "A tribe's right to define its own membership for tribal purposes has long been recognized as central to its existence as an independent political community." The courts have claimed that they have no jurisdiction over how a tribe administrates its membership roles. Thus, the disenrolled have no recourse but to appeal to the very tribal entity that kicked them out in the first place.According to Strickland, the tribes' official position seems to be that casinos have no bearing on membership claims; yet the spate of membership disputes suggests otherwise. Strickland cites an Associated Press estimate that more than 1,100 people are engaged in membership disputes in California alone. Former members allege that tribes are not only disenrolling people out of greed but also silencing current members with the threat of disenrollment.Though some tribal leaders appear to be motivated by greed, those fighting to become (or be reinstated as) members say they are driven by something deeper. For Marilyn Vann, who determined through a DNA test that she was part Cherokee, the tribe's denial is frustrating. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Vann said that rather than attempting to take advantage of the tribe, she was looking for a way to give back. Others echo this sentiment, saying that the real-world disadvantages of disenrollment pale in comparison to the feeling of loss encountered when excluded from their community.DNA testing now seems to be the only way some tribes will grant membership. But for Vann, whose test did little to help her application, and others, this raises the question of what it means to be Native American. Formally excluded from a community they once called their own and faced with a Kafkaesque legal scenario, former members are at a loss. All they know is that they surely have lost something.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

GOOGLE

Most investors tie up their capital in stocks that they think will continue to be bid up in price so they can some day monetize their investment by selling to others who will pay a much higher price. Yesterday on CNBC, to hear the pundits, analysts and talking heads slobber over a falling GOOGLE stock price was most entertaining.

They all claimed to know the "value" of Google shares with their valuation measures and how the company will fare going forward. It made for great entertainment. It feels like 1999.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Icahn.....because I can.........

Imagine wearing a towel on your head every day and being filthy rich. Imagine owning a few shares of the worlds largest media company. Imagine wanting your shares to be worth more money (not that you really need it but hey, we are wishing here) and hiring a shareholder "activist".

Imagine having Carl Icahn on your side. Mr. Parsons meet Carl.

The State of the State

Watching esteemed Members of Congress last night made me feel unAmerican. Partisanship down an aisle is overboard. Social Security issues, tax reform, illegal immigration, oil and gas discovery and abortion are not black and white. Or are they?

Clapping, hooting, and back-slapping are fine. Throw in an intern or two if need be.

I just kept coming back to the number of dollars that are spent every single month to buy votes and policy from these esteemed Congressional members.

Try spending $193,000,000 every month and see what can get done.

Native American Advisors CHIPPEWA PARTNERS