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Research reviews

Porter Stansberry challenged

over subscriber testimonials

In response to TINA, Porter Stansberry went personal. At the same time as his lawyers pointed to what he called "the prevailing regulations", he presented himself as the boy who rose from the ghetto to clean up the financial advice business:

"Fifteen years ago, when I was only 26 years old, I started this business from my kitchen table. I did so on a borrowed laptop. I was living in a $500-a-month- walk-up apartment on the corner of Eutaw Place and North Avenue - as close to the center of Baltimore's drug and prostitution economy as you can be without living literally in a carck house. I didn't have to watch The Wire. I was living there.

"Like so many other ambitious young people, I wanted to pursue a career in finance. What I saw at the time (1999), though, made me sick. My friends who worked for Wall Street banks were being paid to lie - intentionally, not inadvertently - about the relative merits of the companies where their own firms were heavily invested... The independent publishers were hardly any better."

After then describing what he argues to be an unusually ethical business, he quotes advice from Warren Buffett about the importance of fixing problems, and promises to do the same.

"My lawyers want to argue that the items you list in your letter weren't material and thus shouldn't be a concern to me or you. But it is a concern to me... because it is contrary to the way I intend to do business and the way we've built this company. Furthermore, I know that when you begin to allow small mistakes, it won't be long before you've got to deal with big mistakes."

Stansberry & Associates Investment Research also agreed to take down the challenged testimonials and to add caution statements so as to comply with federal regulations. As TINA published on its own website, summarizing its dealings with Stansberry, on 20 March 2014:

"TINA.org requested the company within one week remove more than 200 deceptive testimonials from its website and promotional materials and clearly disclose on its website the risks of investing money or it would send complaints to federal and state regulators. The company complied by March 18, removing hundreds of testimonials and posting a disclosure on its website that trading stocks is risky and that past performance is no guarantee of future results. It also signaled it would incorporate the changes into future promotions and testimonials."

Review of testimonials
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