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“I hadn’t even thought that I should give any picks from the podium. So I said, ‘Okay, here’s some ideas about bottom fish that I like.’ And I’ve never seen this since—the audience seemed to bow down as they picked up their paper and pens and then rose again attentively. I was stunned, thinking, ‘These people are going to go out and buy whatever I mention.’ And that did in fact happen. We newsletter writers were gurus.”
For a while, anyway. “That disappeared in the big cycle from 2003 to mid-2011. The guru effect diminished substantially. So the conferences became a place for people to do their private research, to check the status of their existing holdings, meet the management and look them in the eye, and just kind of get a sense of whether the story is losing momentum or still going strong.”
With gold now getting its head handed to it, I think the enthusiasm for the apocalyptic gold bug narrative has diminished. We’re probably heading back into a cycle where people are looking for strategies and angles that make sense for the juniors.—John Kaiser
Another change during the last decade, Kaiser says, came when “speakers shifted from talking about stocks to ideologically driven analyses—bashing the profligate spending of governments, the currency debasement that’s coming and how hyper-inflation’s around the corner and what we really need is a libertarian world, and because that’s not going to happen we’re going to see gold go to the moon. And they ended up promoting commodities like gold more than promoting the wisdom of investing in this particular junior or style of junior.”
But “with gold now getting its head handed to it, I think the enthusiasm for the apocalyptic gold bug narrative has diminished. We’re probably heading back into a cycle where people are looking for strategies and angles that make sense for the juniors.”
As Martin points out, “There’s all sorts of approaches in how you should invest in these companies. For my personal opinion, I always bet the jockey. Good jockeys are always going to find good properties, and if the drill results aren’t good they’ll keep working until something happens and eventually they become a mine-finder. These conferences give you the opportunity to meet them.”
With Joe Martin now acting as the organization’s chairman, Cambridge House’s future is in the hands of his son, president Jay Martin. Judging by his remarks, the future will retain continuity with the past.
“I don’t think the conference model will ever be outdated,” Jay says. “The desire to meet people, build relationships and build your business will never expire. But what can we add to the trade show to enhance the experience?”
“One thing we started in Vancouver last May and will continue in Toronto is a one-on-one meeting concierge. Our network of investment advisers, investment banks, analysts and various mining media companies can register to host a table at our conference. At Toronto there’ll be about 30 such tables and our exhibiting companies can request meetings with anybody they see fit. It runs very well parallel to the traditional trade show model.”
Even so, “the traditional model will become even more valuable in the future,” Jay maintains. “That’s despite the amount of information thrown at us through various distributors that almost makes it more difficult to vet what’s good and what’s not, what you can trust, what you should pay attention to. The trade show allows face-to-face conversation with company management and there’s no better way to do due diligence.”
The two-day Toronto Resource Investment Conference 2013 begins 8:30 a.m., Thursday September 12, at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen Street West. Click here for more information and (for attendees) free advance registration. Without pre-registration, admission costs $20.
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