On July 1, 2007, investment manager David Tice transferred ownership of Behind the Numbers, a widely-used forensic accounting research firm, to the analysts that had been running the business for the past seven years. Jeff Middleswart, formerly the firm’s Director of Research, has officially taken the helm as President.
Presumably, Mr. Tice sold the business so that he could focus more attention on his core investment management business, David W. Tice & Associates. The firm runs two funds—the Prudent Bear Fund and the Prudent Global Income Fund—which are “structured with the flexibility to make short sales and to be ‘net short’ the US stock market,” according to its website.
According to Integrity’s May 2007 edition of ResearchFocus—which covered the forensic accounting, earnings quality and short ideas sectors—Behind the Numbers is one of the larger and more widely used firms in the $60 million forensic research market, which currently consists of nineteen providers. CFRA is the only firm with a broader customer base.
Behind the Numbers’ methodology blends earnings quality analysis with “grass roots” research. Its primary focus is finding firms with significant downside potential, though the firm recently released a separate, long-only product. On average, the firm puts out about 80-100 actionable ideas each year, generating these ideas from a universe of over 3500 companies. It provides its clients with subscription services that include access to a range of different reporting and alert services, including watch lists, warnings, alerts, and commentary on general accounting issues macroeconomic trends.