A Letter from the Founder
Hi, my name is Porter Stansberry.
And in the winter of 1999, I wrote my first newsletter…
Huddled over a borrowed laptop, I spent months writing and rewriting what I believed to be the most important economic story of the decade.
A story about a coming technological and economic disruption that would change everything in America, and in the process, destroy one of the country’s highest-rated and most widely-held stocks.
I had no “right” to tell this story…
I wasn’t a stockbroker or financial analyst.
I’d never worked for an investment bank or on Wall Street.
And beyond having access to the SEC’s enormous database of financial statements and annual reports… I had no special insights into corporate America.
I did, however, know two things that most investors didn’t…
I knew the Internet was going to transform the world’s economy more profoundly than any new technological innovation since the invention of electricity.
And I knew that Wall Street and the financial media were doing a God-awful job of accurately explaining the opportunities and risks of this coming revolution.
For example, with so much fiber optic cable being laid along our country’s railroads and ocean floors it was clear to me that long distance telecommunication prices would decline to practically zero…
And that this process would decimate the current telecommunications sector and open the doors to a massive new internet economy.
Yet, nobody else was telling investors what was coming…
So, from the kitchen table of my 3rd floor apartment in one of Baltimore’s most notorious neighborhoods, I took it upon myself to tell the story.
That first newsletter – where I accurately predicted the demise of AT&T, one of America’s most dominant and widely held stocks – went on to form the foundations of Stansberry Research.
And over the next 25 years my company would grow to become one of the world’s largest and most successful financial research firms ever.
All from one simple premise…
Identifying big, world-changing ideas.
We worked tirelessly to uncover and understand the most consequential changes occurring in the financial markets and global economy.
However, unlike a hedge fund or a family office, we didn’t trade on these insights ourselves, instead we helped our readers capitalize on them.
Our goal was simple… to give our readers the ideas and insights they couldn’t find anywhere else.
To give them the informational and analytical advantage that was typically off-limits to anyone outside of large investment banks and hedge funds.
Throughout the course of my career, I have only found a handful of these big ideas, but as you’ll see, that’s all it takes to build life-changing, lasting wealth.
In 2002 I warned investors that General Electric was a house of cards and that it was doomed to collapse in an Enron-like implosion of bad debt.
At the time, General Electric was the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Nobody believed it would fall. But by following my research to its logical conclusion, I knew it was inevitable.
I did the same with General Motors in 2006 when I wrote an entire series titled “Letters from the Chairman of General Motors.”
The letters explained in plain English with clear, basic financial data, why General Motors was inevitably going bankrupt.
It’s what the real Chairman of GM – Rick Wagoner – should have been telling investors, but wasn’t.
Instead, GM’s corporate staff published inscrutable reports with all kinds of financial jargon that was designed to deceive investors.
Despite many analysts mocking my predictions as absurd, General Motors filed for bankruptcy three years later.
I warned that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “zeros” in June of 2008, shortly before both firms collapsed, despite public officials telling Congress that they were “adequately capitalized.”
And, perhaps most importantly, as early as 2006, I explained that the idea of “Peak Oil” was pure hokum and that higher prices for hydrocarbons would fuel innovation and new discoveries of oil.
In 2010 I was among the first analysts covering the Texas shale boom and predicting that U.S. oil production would hit a new all-time high before the end of the decade.
I also warned that oil prices would fall below $40 a barrel as a result. As everyone knows, U.S. oil production reached new highs in 2016 and the price of oil collapsed.
With these ideas – and others – I was able to help my readers not only protect their hard-earned wealth but grow it exponentially too.
But the question is…
Why didn’t others, particularly the mainstream financial press and Wall Street analysts, see what was so obvious to my team and me?
I mean, how could anyone in finance have missed the fact that General Motors couldn’t make enough money selling cars to pay the interest on its existing debts and its pension obligations?
How could anyone in finance have missed the fact that Fannie and Freddie were insuring subprime mortgages that were certain to contain hundreds of billions in losses?
How could anyone in the oil business have missed the thousands and thousands of new wells that were being drilled in Texas and that were producing huge volumes of new oil…
So much oil that trucks had to be used to cart it off because there weren’t enough trains and pipelines!
These stories were all so big and their implications were all so obvious that it seems hard to believe that our reporting was extremely controversial at the time.
So why were we able to see these facts so clearly, even when others couldn’t?
I think that’s because what you believe about the world often depends on where you sit. It’s difficult to be objective about the hand that’s feeding you.
General Electric was a major issuer of corporate debt and paid millions and millions in fees to Wall Street’s biggest banks. It also owned the major financial cable channel, CNBC.
Which financial institution could go on the record as saying the company was another Enron in the making?
General Motors and its local dealers were the largest buyers advertising in the United States. Virtually every newspaper and every media network needed GM to buy advertising to maintain budgets.
Which media outlet could afford to report critically about their management or their declining financial results?
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sit squarely in the center of the entire global financial system. Who could warn of their impending collapse without risking a global financial panic?
As the chairman of the European Central bank said during the financial crisis, when a problem is really serious, “you lie.”
But we didn’t lie. We didn’t have to.
You see, virtually every media outlet has some kind of obvious bias that greatly distorts the facts they report. But what investors must have to be successful is objectivity.
Investors must know the numbers and they must know what they mean, regardless of whether or not that threatens a politically powerful corporation or a philosophically popular theme.
So, my team and I pioneered a new mode of financial thinking – one that operated independently from Wall Street and the mainstream financial media.
We built our business around one key goal: to give our subscribers the information we’d most want if our roles were reversed.
To do so requires a dedication to publishing the facts we uncover without fear or favoritism.
This is the role of the free press in our society.
But it’s an obligation the mainstream media has forgotten.
So to keep ourselves objective and independent we refused to take commissions. We refused to accept advertising. And we refused to accept outside investors.
We just told the truth.
Then, in my opinion, we got too big.
As Stansberry grew from my kitchen table to a massive corporation with hundreds of employees, I believe we lost sight of our original vision.
We went from a small, independent group of muckraking financial investigators exposing the biggest investment stories and opportunities to a corporation bogged down by meetings, quotas, and H.R.
So after 25 years at the head of Stansberry Holdings, I stepped down as CEO, sold the company to a British investment firm, and retired to my farm in Maryland.
Unfortunately, during my retirement, I watched in disgust as the financial publishing industry drove itself off a cliff…
Publishers put you, the reader, second.
They started recommending everything and anything to make themselves a quick buck – often at your expense.
They claimed every new idea was “the next big thing”... a sure-fire way to get rich… a can’t-miss opportunity.
Cryptocurrencies… meme stocks… Forex… penny stocks… NFTs… options trading… whatever the flavor of the month was, they recommended it with zero shame.
But building true wealth takes time and patience.
As Warren Buffett says, “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time… you can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”
My Dad would tell you the same thing.
He worked for one of Buffett’s “forever” companies – Coca-Cola. Not as an executive, but as a regular Joe doing his best to provide for his family.
He never dreamed of being wealthy. But when Coke started offering employee-matched contributions, Dad bought as much stock as he could afford.
That one investment idea… in a great company… over the long term… eventually gave my Mom and Dad the type of lifestyle they’d never dared to dream of.
They weren’t rich, but they were able to buy a vacation home in the mountains, put me and my brother through college, and eventually retire in relative comfort.
It was my Dad’s experience that opened my eyes to the power of intelligent, long-term investing and that set me on this multi-decade journey.
And it’s what I’ve always tried to teach my readers.
Because with patience, time, and a handful of great investment ideas…
I firmly believe that anyone – regardless of age, location, education, or income – can amass their own personal fortune with very little risk.
That’s why, after several years of retirement, I felt compelled to go back to my financial publishing roots and resurrect an industry that had lost its way.
And so I started Porter & Co. in my tractor barn.
At Porter & Co. I do the same things I’ve always done...
I work side by side with extraordinary financial analysts to find the major investment stories that the mainstream financial media can’t, or won’t, cover.
Most importantly, I retain the independence to be able to see the world clearly and to speak the truth about what I perceive, regardless of the consequences.
Nobody gets to tell me what I can and can’t write… and I don’t have to meet any demands for growth.
We have zero meetings. We just work together – literally all sitting next to each other in the hay loft – to research and publish major investment ideas.
We are searching for big themes that will last a decade or longer. We want to identify ideas that we believe are way ahead of the market and that our readers will not find anywhere else.
At this point in my career, my independence and the ability I have to serve you – and only you – is the most valuable trait I have to offer you.
I cherish that freedom and I believe it will create a much better outcome for you too.
So I just want you to know how thrilled I am that you’ve chosen to put your trust in us - it’s a responsibility my team and I take with the utmost seriousness.
And we look forward to serving you in the years ahead.
If you have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again.