“Integrity is hard-earned and easily taken away.” With Jason Hartman & Anthony Denier

Start buying those beaten down sectors now. I would recommend buying slowly, so if the market does continue to go lower, you still have ammunition to buy more. Remember that the market prices in FUTURE earnings, so if you feel that when the economy starts to open and those travel and hospitality names are especially […]

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Start buying those beaten down sectors now. I would recommend buying slowly, so if the market does continue to go lower, you still have ammunition to buy more. Remember that the market prices in FUTURE earnings, so if you feel that when the economy starts to open and those travel and hospitality names are especially beaten down, this is your opportunity to get them cheap because they will rally well before their earnings show the good news.

As a part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Denier the CEO of Webull Financial, a commission-free trading platform with over 11 million users worldwide. The platform offers online stock trading, ETF trading, real time market quotes, and comprehensive market data from more than 100 exchanges and 90 countries worldwide.

Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?

Iwas the type of child that would take things apart to get an understanding of how they worked. A tinkerer, you could say. I would lie underneath my neighbor’s car watching him as he would fix his ’73 Oldsmobile. If someone had thrown out an old VHS recorder, I would fish it out from the trash, take it apart, shock myself a few times along the way, just to see how all the parts worked together. Perhaps even get it working again. My success rate was about 50%. I still have this curiosity today. During my first job on the trading desk at Credit Suisse in New York, I was never satisfied with just buying and selling. I wanted to know what happened after the trade was placed and how that trade affected the bank and the larger economy as a whole in which I was participating. I believe that questioning and being able to understand how things operate on a micro and macro level is what brought me on this specific path to start and build new businesses.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

I wish I could say that this story was amusing, but it was the furthest thing from funny for both me and my family at the time. However, I was able to walk away, and walk away with one of the most valuable lessons learned in my professional career. I was 30 years old, recently married with a toddler and our second baby was on his way. We were making the big leap from city life to the suburbs, and everything seemed to be going as planned. I had a great job trading international equities for one of the largest financial firms in the world. The year was 2012 and the great recession was seemingly fading away. Business was good and I was part of a very profitable team for the company. With this in mind, my wife and I made preparations to buy our first home and begin the next chapter of our lives. We found the right house in the right town. We had saved enough for the 20% down payment that was mandatory following the mortgage crisis just several years back. Just before the end of the year, the CEO of the company I was working for came and spoke to our small team of 20 amongst a firm of 75,000 employees. He took note of our strong revenue performance and commended us. He wrapped up this intimate meeting with the words I wanted to hear, “we will not be making any layoffs this year.” That sealed it for my wife and I. Job security in an industry that had seen nothing but layoffs for the past decade will make any Wall Street trader happy. Following this news, we moved forward and set a closing date on our ‘forever home.’ We closed on the house Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 — Valentine’s Day. The following Monday, the firm announced they were shutting down all equities in New York, and I was fired on the spot! Unemployed, ridden with new debt, and with our nest egg gone, I then made the decision that I would never allow myself to get into a situation where I became completely dependent on any one thing to secure my family’s future. Don’t get me wrong, there was lots of self-doubt as well as self-loathing, but this was the moment that I began to build my own businesses, and therefore, my own future. Since that day, I have built two successful broker-dealers from the ground up. I often use this story to remind myself that nothing in life is guaranteed and nothing is given to you unless you go out and seize the opportunity yourself. Like my father would always say after he would make me flinch, “Don’t get caught sleeping.”

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are working on many exciting products at the moment. Probably the most exciting of them would be our Artificial Intelligence trading software. It is still relatively early in development, but we have some promising progress that will allow everyday retail investors to utilize technology that would traditionally only be available to the most ultra-high net worth clients invested in AI-based hedge funds.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Networking is vital to expanding your list of contacts and opportunity in business, and through the years, you meet certain people that have this uncanny networking skill. My friend and attorney is one of those people. Back in 2016, I was the CEO of a small brokerage firm. I was looking for an opportunity to grow the business by utilizing more technology, and he connected me with a FinTech company out of Hunan. One year later, I became the CEO of Webull Financial. This was not the first time he connected me to amazing opportunities. Be sure to have these networkers in your life as you never know when great things will strike.

The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious?

Can you explain? Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, but how they have been affected can be very different. I’m sure my experience in my home with my family is very different from other people’s experiences. Personally, I have always been hindered by time, often lamenting that there is not enough time in the day. I am using this as an opportunity to take that time. Playing ball with my kids, getting healthier, calling my parents every day; the list goes on. I think it’s vital that we reach out to one another. Humans by nature are social, and we derive our inspiration and happiness not only from inside, but from the ones who we choose to surround ourselves with. Reach out and be present. Try not to think of this time as punishment, but as a chance to reset or make changes that have always been easily dismissed because you were always “too busy.”

As you know the stock market and the economy in general have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

I would say absolutely not. If someone has steady income during this time, which by itself is a very good thing, they should be embracing these large market declines to be adding to their portfolio. Investing is a marathon, not a sprint. This is an ideal time to be buying stocks in my opinion.

Eventually the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

Start buying those beaten down sectors now. I would recommend buying slowly, so if the market does continue to go lower, you still have ammunition to buy more. Remember that the market prices in FUTURE earnings, so if you feel that when the economy starts to open and those travel and hospitality names are especially beaten down, this is your opportunity to get them cheap because they will rally well before their earnings show the good news.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

Absolutely. Clearly the most-watched sectors right now are the pharmaceutical and medical equipment stocks. Every company is working as fast as they can to develop a vaccine and testing equipment for COVID-19. Perhaps even more important than developing a vaccine is the speed at which these vaccines can be produced and distributed to the public. These are the sectors to watch. If you pick the right company, then you will be handsomely rewarded.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

With volatility and recession comes opportunity. With interest rates continuing to fall, I predict we will see a large spike in purchase to rent properties across the US as homebuilding slows and many Americans will delay a home purchase and continue to rent.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

I would tell them to invest in what they know first then to invest in the best companies in their specific space. For example, if you are a contractor, and you find yourself at Home Depot two times a week and at the lumber yards and other various suppliers for your business, then you see the supply and demand directly. Is Home Depot crowded? Are the prices of lumber going up? Is equipment on backorder? How much is the rent on a backhoe? All these examples can be used as tools to decide where and when to put your money into these companies that are involved in the supply chain of your specific industry or area of expertise. The next step is to look into each company to pick the ‘best in breed.’ Home Depot over Lowes? Deere over Caterpillar? The list goes on and on, and the best part is that you will actually understand the products they make, so your research into these companies will not be overwhelming.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail: We learn lessons in many ways throughout life, but none stay with us more vividly than our failures. Learn from the mistakes you make on bad trades, whether from emotional reactions or stubbornness and grow as an investor.
  2. If you’re the smartest person in a room, then you’re in the wrong room: There is no one person that knows it all, and if you think you are smarter than the market you will be sorely disappointed. I have found great success in surrounding myself with individuals who add to the conversation of trade and investing ideas.
  3. Admit it when you don’t know something: If you are unsure about a trade or position, then don’t do it or get out of that position immediately. Some of the best advice I ever received was, ‘trade what you know.’
  4. Excuses are a lazy person’s answer: Do your research! If someone ever says, ‘I didn’t realize that the whole C-level sold all their unlocked stock last week?’ You were being lazy and you didn’t do your homework.
  5. Find a mentor: Emulate someone’s work ethic and integrity that you respect and admire. When you mature, you will find your own unique strategies and others will follow you.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Integrity is hard-earned and easily taken away.” Gaining integrity is no easy feat. Like trust, it cannot be achieved when it is the goal. Time and consistency in doing things the right way makes me a successful leader and investor. I often think of this quote when there is an ‘easy exit’ which reminds me that all I have achieved over the years is not guaranteed for me to keep.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

Financial Independence. We currently sponsor trading and investing educational programs, as well as trading competitions where users can use virtual currency to become more confident and knowledgeable in managing their own finances. I think making yourself more financially independent allows you to spend more time with things you are passionate about, and that truly can enhance anyone’s life.

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