Thomas Belesis is founder and CEO of John Thomas Financial. He founded the firm in 2007, naming it after his two grandfathers. In the years since he has grown it from a three-person brokerage to 300-employee firm providing a full range of retail brokerage, investment banking, corporate advisory and private wealth management services.
Mr. Belesis is regularly invited by the leading news outlets to discuss macroeconomic trends and economic policy. Among his most recent appearances have been on Fox News Bulls & Bears, discussing debt trends in the United States; on CNBC's The Kudlow Report, giving his outlook on equity markets; and on FOX Business News with Neil Cavuto, comparing economic policies of the United States and Greece. He found a broad audience in Wall Street II: Money Never Sleeps, appearing as a trader alongside Jacob "Jake" Moore (Shia LaBeouf). His role in that film was larger than what appeared onscreen - he also served as advisor to Director Oliver Stone, helping to ensure the film captured an authentic view of Wall Street.
The following are excerpts from his frequent appearances on leading financial television programs and provide insight into his expertise and point of view.
On September 27, 2010, Mr. Belesis appeared on Fox and Friends (to in large part discuss his role in developing Wall Street II: Money Never Sleeps). He had this to say regarding the causes behind the crash and credit implosion of 2008 and the need for financial reform: "[Several Wall Street banks] put derivative products together that almost collapsed the greatest financial system of our time... The financial reform was necessary. You cannot give banks the ability to leverage conservative client assets. At the end of the day if you give all that leverage to people who are dangerous with it, we're going to have another disaster like we had."
On CNBC's Squawk on the Street (in January, 2011) Mr. Belesis had this to say about his motivations for founding John Thomas Financial and the value of the traditional Wall Street business model:"There was a void that had to be filled with a commitment to bring back the old traditions of Wall Street that helped build America, not today's Wall Street that almost destroyed it. [John Thomas was founded to offer] traditional brokerage services, investment banking services, and investment advisory services - a full range of services for individual investors."
On CNBC's Kudlow Report (in June, 2011) Mr. Belesis offered his advice to investors looking at the longer-term in the U.S. equities market:"You have to be selective. You have to watch the market of course, but overall if you buy on the dips - with the economy where it is, and looking forward to future profits - you will make money." And regarding JTF's longer-term positions: "We are betting on America."
A few months earlier on CNBC's Kudlow Report (April, 2011), Mr. Belesis had this to say about the resiliency of U.S. markets:"We've had the Mideast turmoil, we've had the unfortunate situation in Japan, yet the market has gone higher and you see corporate earnings rising. People see that...corporate profits will grow."
He also had this to say about additional factors that will continue to support the U.S. markets and economy: "Let's not forget the emerging economies. Let's look at South America, India, China. They have huge emerging middle classes. That's why 50% of S&P companies come from overseas." June 2, 2011 on Kudlow Report: "If you position yourself correctly, you will make money." February 2, 2011 on Kudlow Report: "At the end of the day it's all about profits"
On the economic crisis in Greece (Fox Business with Charles Payne, February 2011) "Wall Street is not to blame. America is not to blame. Greece's government is to blame. With their fiscal irresponsibility they failed the Greek people." On Wall Street's traditional role in the economy (Fox Business with Charles Payne, February 2011): "Wall Street has always been about wealth creation, not wealth destruction. Capital formation has always been the segue to the creation of jobs."
Outside of his work at John Thomas Financial, Mr. Belesis' position as a leader extends beyond finance into the wider community. He is Co-Chairman of the New York State Republican Finance Committee, a position to which he was appointed in June 2011. He sits on the Executive Board of the World Energy Forum. He actively supports organizations including the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Greek America Foundation and Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, as well as animal rights and rescue charities.
Mr. Belesis has received a number of awards honoring his role in the community. He was named 2011's Businessman of the Year" by both the New York Republican County Committee and the Queens County Republican Party. In 2009 Mr. Belesis was presented with the Bronx GOP Man of the Year award by former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who cited his rise "from humble beginnings to become a great success on Wall Street."
Greek America Magazine named Mr. Belesis one of its 25 Most Intriguing People of 2010. In December 2010, he was featured as the "New Face of Wall Street" in Downtown Magazine, which featured "two movers and shakers who are making Lower Manhattan proud."