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My first week on the job, and already I have the privilege of filling in for David while en route to his new winter home in Florida.

When I think about what has been accomplished at Miles Franklin, it is hard to avoid being awestruck. I became “RANTING ANDY” after a decade of torture at the hands of the Gold Cartel, but the Precious Metals bull market had ALREADY COMMENCED when I entered the fray.

Commodities were the absolute worst market sector of the 1980s and 90s, and the current incarnation of the Gold Cartel didn’t start operations until about 1996 (when Robert Rubin first uttered the term “Strong Dollar Policy”). Thus, while David (and Andy) didn’t have the gold Cartel to contend with while building Miles Franklin, the PM market was as weak then as fiat currencies are today. Just staying in business was a challenge back then, and it’s no wonder the firm became as strong as it is today.

I know well what they were fighting, as I spent a decade analyzing the oil industry, for the most part at Salomon Smith Barney. The energy market also experienced a horrific depression from 1981-1995, and many of today’s leading oil and gas companies are the hearty souls that survived while their competitors went bankrupt.

Moreover, while Precious Metals and Energy have BOTH been in bull markets for the past decade, the former has a Cartel that holds it DOWN while the latter is supported by OPEC, a Cartel that props it UP! In other words, while costs for both industries have risen, only Energy has seen dramatic profit growth, compared to extremely muted, bordering on pitiful, results from Precious Metal miners. Weak PM profits and an abominable return on capital ensures supply will lag demand for years to come, and via “trickle down” will also yield pressure on ancillary businesses, such as bullion dealing.

I believe many of our competitors will continue to fail, some due to poor, or even unethical, business practices, but most due the high level of COMPETITION in the space. Miles Franklin has built itself into a major presence in the business due to INTEGRITY, ETHICS, and SOLID BUSINESS PRACTICES, as well as David’s unwavering mantra that EDUCATING your clientele is the best way to retain loyalty. And it doesn’t hurt that its principals CARE about the plight of their clients, as we strive, above all, to PROTECT them from the rising inflation that we foresee for years to come.

I’m going to keep the comments relatively brief, as it’s time for my next RANT.