- Regarding Martin Weiss, and Weiss Research
This company was a reputable rating agency for many years. See Weiss Research website, ratings section for a very different perspective on Martin Weiss's work than the websites with which he is now associated.
I checked both links provided, and agree with the questioner in every way: These appear to be highly questionable investment research websites. I use such strong terms based on the fact that the website actually uses the distasteful pop-up ploy, "Are you SURE you want to leave this site?" Clearly, something changed between what Weiss Ratings was in the past (per company history since 1971) and what Martin Weiss is doing now.
Larry Edelson seems to have been associated exclusively with questionable websites and high pressure investment advice since 2007. From 1996 through the present, he worked as either an employee or contractor of Weiss Research.
Let's answer each of your questions.
- Did they accurately predict the events they claim? Weiss Ratings were accurate during the 1990's, and widely respected through at least 2003, see findings by the United States General Accounting Office in 1994 PDF, that confirm that Weiss Ratings reports on insurance companies, maybe banks too, were more consistently accurate than those produced by the major credit rating agencies e.g. S&P, Moody's, Fitch. There was similar acclaim for Weiss ratings in the late 1990's, until about 2001.
- Do the free ratings lists they publish reflect this high level of accuracy? I don't think so, certainly not at the present time. In the past, their ratings were of course fee-based, not free. In fact, the Weiss Ratings website primarily offers fee-based ratings reports now, just as it had been doing in the past. I am not familiar with these new, free investment reports, and they don't seem to be the same as the high-quality fee-based reports associated with Weiss in the past.
- Do they appear to give sound advice, now? Well, there were charges filed against Martin Weiss and Larry Edelson by the U.S. SEC, settled in June 2009 PDF, (settlement included return, formally known as "disgorgement" of $2.5 million in investor funds):
On June 22, 2006, the Commission instituted settled administrative
proceedings against Weiss Research, Inc., Martin Weiss, and Lawrence
Edelson (collectively, “Respondents”) for violations of the Investment
Advisers Act of 1940 in connection with their operation of an
unregistered investment adviser and the production and distribution of
materially false and misleading marketing materials.
Full details about Weiss Ratings operations, including its history from 1996 through 2001, when it operated in compliance with securities laws, then from 2001 through 2005, which was when the SEC filed charges for regulatory violations, are available from the June 2006 U.S. SEC court documents PDF.
Finally, this quantitative assessment, "Safe With Martin Weiss? (December 2010) by CXO Advisory (providers of "objective research and reviews to aid investing decisions") for its readers concluded the following:
In summary, the performance of Martin Weiss’ premium services in
aggregate over the past year is unimpressive.
The study methodology was good, but I recommend reading the article (I posted the URL) to fully understand what caveats and assumptions were done to reach that conclusion.