Manuel P. Asensio is the founder of asensio.com and an investment professional with more than 30 years of experience. A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (“NBER”) named Mr. Asensio the pioneer of activist short selling, a new class of short sellers that are “information producers as arbitrageurs.” The NBER is the nation’s leading nonprofit economic research organization with twenty-four Nobel Prize winners in Economics and thirteen past chairs of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers as members. The NBER study found the “pioneer is Manuel Asensio of Asensio & Co., which was founded in 1992 and started publishing reports on overvalued companies in 1994” and that “Asensio & Co.’s reports yield the highest returns’ by the study’s measure and during the study’s timeframe.”
A Cuban immigrant, Mr. Asensio completed an undergraduate degree at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA at Harvard Business School. In his post-MBA career, Mr. Asensio began working at Bear Stearns in mergers and acquisitions in 1986, after selling his first FINRA-member firm, which Mr. Asensio formed directly after graduating from Harvard. In 1993, Mr. Asensio founded Asensio & Company, Inc. (ACO), which became the first FINRA- and SEC-registered brokerage firm dedicated to short-focused research and trading. asensio.com was initially started in 1996 as a venue to release ACO’s short-selling research to the public, making it the first website to be exclusively focused on distributing original short-selling ideas. Since starting ACO, Mr. Asensio has focused professionally on research, trading, and advising investors, particularly regarding special-situation short investments. The investments covered by asensio.com spanned all types of industries; the uniqueness of asenso.com’s reporting consisted of a focus on the fundamental economics of the product, even in the most purportedly “high-tech” industries.
Mr. Asensio’s work has been highlighted by publications such as The New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, USA Today, and many others. A complete record of articles about Mr. Asensio’s work can be found here. Mr. Asensio has also made multiple television appearances, including on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.
While Mr. Asensio’s innovative approach to publicly advocating short theses has been controversial, it has yielded important public benefits, and has spawned several similar websites. Some of the most important cases in asensio.com’s history are highlighted here. These cases show major regulatory changes and political events that resulted from Mr. Asensio’s work. Most importantly, asensio.com’s reporting exposed numerous instances of stock fraud, serving as a warning signal to investors – in all cases, asensio.com was able to point to what would ultimately bring about the company’s downfall.