Late Howe Street promoter Bob Donas reportedly advertised his venture companies in show guides at the local Hastings Race Track. He died broke in 2012.

Late Howe Street promoter Bob Donas reportedly advertised his venture companies in show guides at the local Hastings Race Track. “He wore colourful shirts before anyone else thought of it.”

I was hangin with my pals Michael McCrae and Anthony Halley from today. We were out on the patio of the 888 Cafe Express on Dunsmuir between Howe and Hornby streets taking in some sunshine and coffee, as well as catching up with the steady stream of mining and energy promoters walking by – it’s their home turf.

One of the more memorable encounters was with Gary Freeman, CEO of Ethos Gold, who had a very promising lead in the Yukon optioned from Shawn Ryan last year but dropped the property recently and is sitting on several million dollars waiting for a better market to do deals, in addition to considering projects outside of natural resources.

Freeman has had a very successful career, most notably as CEO of Pediment Gold when it was sold to Argonaut. It was the success at Pediment the affable Freeman was focused on in our conversation, and not the recent pains at Ethos, which is understandable.

Freeman, a veteran promoter, made several interesting points in the brief interaction we had with him. I asked him how his IR guy was doing, Freddie, a friend of mine. “I’m telling him to relax and enjoy the upcoming summer,” Gary told us. “There’s nothing [a promoter] can do in a market like this other than enjoy the things in life other than work.”

Freeman is conserving his investors’ money. “I want to invest with the wind and not against it.” My friends and I assumed that applied to everything from buying assets to spending on investor relations.

Also interesting was Gary’s comment about the enthusiasm of brokers over the last cycle to participate in financings of companies where cash and share based compensation on underwritings could add up to 12% to the monies raised, without supporting those companies in the open market, where commissions are usually 1% per trade or less. It’s no wonder then when the tides turned on the resource sector, companies floated in financings had no one left to support the bid in the open market.

That reminded us of an important lesson in junior resource investing, which is to always consider a company’s capacity to find a buyer for your stock when it’s your time to sell. A heavy marketing and PR blitz may attract your attention to a company and compel you to buy it, but often times those campaigns are expensive and impossible to sustain. In a bear market, you want to buy in advance of that kind of marketing, as opposed to following it, or better yet, just not buy at all. In a bull market, PR and marketing is fantastic because everything is going up.

A tall and handsome man with bright blue pants and a checkered blazer strutted by. It was Damien Reynolds, the once hugely successful resource promoter who has had a multi hundred million dollar fall from grace of late. “A modern day Bob Donas,” Gary called him before chasing down the street after him.

We could have stayed on that stoop all afternoon catching up with promoters with time on their hands. Being away from our desks in this market it might not have done us any good, nor bad either.

I’ve been thinking about upcoming summer plans myself and remembered a recent Brent Cook quote recalling a fresh offline vacation: “Missing a wild week in the markets meant we ultimately missed nothing, and instead gained the beauty and gift of solitude which, as yet, there is no app for.”

Brent will be interviewed on our site via Skype later this week.


If you liked this post, check out A Hymn To The Howe Street Hustle, talking about a deal between George Cross and Murray Pezim back in the day.