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The Story of the Retail Investor

By Peter Cole [Source: Metal Investment News]

Guy Bennett is part of a new breed of financial writers - with a background as a professional story teller. According to his official bio he has authored a feature film, a book, and 250 newspaper columns. He was twice named "BC’s Best Weekly Columnist"

The CEO of Global Metal News - Mr. Bennett operates a syndicate of websites that publish articles on commodity stocks. The articles are disseminated on a newswire service and picked up by 3rd party sites like Yahoo Finance. Global Metal News generates revenue by charging re-print fees. Bennett spends one month a year in Beijing, and gets all his articles translated in Chinese and published on a Chinese website.

Fred Leigh, Manager of Investor Relations for Ethos Gold, is one of Bennett’s supporters.

"There’s a saying in this business," explains Leigh, "Investors buy the story - not the stock". The numbers, the charts, the resource estimates - these are all important - but retail investors want the data assimilated into a coherent narrative – and that’s where Guy comes in."

The American Mythologist, Joseph Campbell (1904 – 1987) argued that we require stories to make sense of ourselves, to identify risks and opportunities, and to plan our futures.

"When people ask me what I do," explains Bennett, "I say: 'I turn spread-sheets into stories'. I run a news service. I never fabricate, speculate, or try to predict the future. I simply gather the public data and build it into a three-act structure."

Rob Riley, President of Trident Financial, is another proponent of Bennett’s methodology.

"Last year Trident did a road show in China," recalls Riley, "We represented a copper company, a couple of energy companies and a private U.S. coal project, introducing them to a network of Chinese investors, government stakeholders, state and private resource companies."

Image: http://www.metalinvestmentnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/guy-500x283.jpg

"We needed someone to explain the big picture to the investment community. Guy rolled up his sleeves and trekked half way across China with us. A week later he wrote an article describing the $84 billion QDII [Qualified Domestic Institution Investor] scheme which allows Chinese fund managers to invest in overseas financial markets."

"He stressed that the Chinese are not interested in private placements with quick exit positions. They take a long term approach and want to develop and own the resources in the ground. That was a key messaging point that you couldn’t easily put in a press release."

A former film producer, Riley did a double-take when he first ran into Bennett at the PDAC mining conference in Vancouver. "I knew Guy as a screenwriter and filmmaker," states Riley, "I was surprised to see him writing about stocks. But when I read his mining articles, it made perfect sense".

Bennett has a degree in Science, and he’s taken the Canadian Securities Course, but he considers story-telling his core asset.

"I have a base-line technical knowledge of geology and the stock market," confirms Bennett, "And I research the things I don’t know. But the real challenge of my job - and the part I enjoy most - is boiling the information down into a nugget that you can fit in your hand and pass on, without anything slipping through the knuckles."

Bennett cites a recent article he wrote on NXT Energy (SFD-TSX.V) as an example of the function he plays in a company’s messaging.

"NXT Energy is an oil and gas technology company that has developed a proprietary Airborne Survey Technique, called ‘Stress Field Detection’. It detects gravitational anomalies from an aeroplane. NXT claimed the technology locates oil reservoirs ten times cheaper and quicker than conventional seismic".

"There were a lot of eye-balls on this $55 million company," says Bennett, "The investment community was waiting to see if the technology actually worked. NXT signs a $6 million contract with Pemex – Mexico’s state-owned Oil Company. Pemex got them to run a blind test over an area they’ve already run conventional seismic on."

"In July, 2013 NXT and Pemex presented a Joint Paper at an oil conference in Cartagena, Colombia, detailing the results of the survey. It turns out that the Stress Field Detection technology found 47 of 64 known hydrocarbon accumulations."

"But buried in the academic report," explains Bennett, "is the information that the 47 identified SFD targets contained 98% of the estimated total oil - giving SFD 'elephant hunter' status. NXT’s technology ignored the smaller reserves and flagged the potential company-makers. That is the story that needed to be told".

Canadian Securities Law dictates that a company file a press release when a "material change" in its affairs occurs. Contextualization of the material facts is not allowed. According to Bennett, this legal constraint makes it very difficult for the company to do an effective job of communicating its story.

"The difference between a press release and an article is the difference between raw ingredients and a cooked meal," says Bennett, "most retail investors cannot swallow raw data, but they are hungry for a coherent story. My job is to sort and shape the data into a digestible form. That involves bringing key plot points into the fore-ground and letting minor subplots fall away – something a press release cannot do".

NXT Energy surged .18 (15%) on publication day.

For more information contact:

Guy Bennett at 604 377 6200 or guybennett123@gmail.com