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Best Practices for Equity Research Analysts: Essentials for Buy-Side and Sell-Side Analysts 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071736381
ISBN-10: 0071736387
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James J. Valentine, CFA, has been an equity research analyst for Morgan Stanley, Salomon Brothers, Smith Barney, and PaineWebber. During his career, he also served as Morgan Stanley's associate director of North American research and its director of global training and development, where he was responsible for implementing new programs for more than 1,000 employees located in financial centers around the globe. For 10 consecutive years, Institutional Investor ranked him as one of the top three analysts within his sector.  In 2006, Forbes named him one of the top three analysts among all 2,000 U.S. sell-side analysts that year.  He has been recognized for his stock picking, earnings forecasts and client service from the Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters, Institutional Investor, and Greenwich Associates.  He holds a Masters degree in finance and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.  He lives in a Connecticut suburb of New York City with his wife and three children.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (January 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071736387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071736381
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

James J. Valentine, CFA, is the founder of AnalystSolutions, providing best practices, training and career advancement services for equity research analysts (http://bit.ly/1sY6ISD). He's held a number of roles at four of Wall Street's largest firms, including most recently Morgan Stanley where he was the Associate Director of North American Research as well as Director of Training for the firm's global Research department. He was also an established research analyst where, for 10 consecutive years, he was ranked by the major Wall Street institutional investor polls as one of the top three analysts within his sector, putting him among the top 2% of analysts during that decade. In 2006, Forbes named him one of the top three Wall Street analysts among all 2,000 U.S. sell-side analysts that year. He has been recognized for his stock picking, earnings forecasts and client service from the Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters, Institutional Investor Magazine, and Greenwich Associates. He holds a Masters degree in finance and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My friend Tom Brakke, liked this book and said I would too. He was right, and soon afterward, I heard the author speak at the Baltimore CFA Society. Hearing James Valentine speak is an advantage here. He summarized what is most important, which if you are reading the book, it would be chapter 20 (out of 27). It is his FaVeS framework: Forecast, Valuation, and Sentiment, in that order of importance. Remember that as a key to the book if you read it; it tells you what to focus on as an analyst.

Another key, since the book is long, is to look at the shaded summaries which are usually at the back of each chapter. If stretched for time, read those first, and then read the chapter if you didn't get it.

This book aims to focus analysts on information that matters. Aim for information that makes a difference, and that few others have. Create an information web that maximizes the value of your time, and creates value for your research.

This book covers both the buy-side and the sell-side, telling each how to best use the other side. As a former buy-side analyst, to me it means fewer analyses, and better analyses. Aside from that, it is a game: buy-side: identify the better sell-side analysts and listen to them. Sell-side: identify clients that will generate commissions and market their best insights to them.

Regardless, analysts must identify the few factors that account for 80% of the performance in a given industry, and focus on those intensely. It helps to get into the industry organizations, which can help drive insight into the industry as a whole, and provide a backdrop for questions to ask when talking with executives in the industry.

Learning this will give an analyst a leg up on other analysts.
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Format: Hardcover
This is as far as I know a unique book. It's in essence a number of check lists covering most aspects of the work description of a sell side equity analyst. The book aims to cater to both the buy side analyst and the sell side analyst. In reality it is the later who is in focus. This is no surprise as the author has been a top ranked sector analyst at a number of US investment banks including Morgan Stanley. According to the author the craft of equity research lacks quality control processes. The profession is mostly learnt through on the job training in a kind of mentor-apprentice-system. You might get lucky and have a good mentor, but on the other hand you might not. Valentine's aim with this book is to develop a best practice for the profession.

The book covers a number of topics such as influencing your research coverage, handling relations within you own organisation and with clients, finding insights to include in research, stock valuation and how to best communicate the research done. Valentine is writing a number of lists of things that often is quite intuitive and basic. The list form is hardly the recipe for a colourful writing and as the same advice is repeated in both the check lists and the text surrounding those lists there is a fair amount of repetition.

There is much in this book that irritates me. However the coverage of topics is comprehensive and I would agree that they probably are close to a best practice for the profession. The advice in this book will both be a good guide for a less experienced analyst and it will remind the more seasoned analyst that he perhaps has neglected one or two aspects of what he could do.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this book was informative and was a good overview of much of the material on valuation, due diligence, and behavioural finance contained within the CFA curriculum. The author's own experiences surely added more depth to the material.

I would suggest that future editions contain a disc or web access to go into more detail on sections (autocorrelation in residuals, time series, etc..) and provide non analysts with the opportunity to run through exercises.

Or consider exercises on one long valuation throughout the book running from top down, bottom up selection of sector and company. A fictional interview with management, running a history of numbers, forecast earnings..come up with various price multiples..and finally making a recommendation.

I think that would give readers a more interactive experience and help to use those many Excel tricks.

On the whole, I extracted some value from this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Wall Street has a big big talent problem. During the boom years where even an average analyst brought home 7-figures, there was usually enough cash to go around such that an average or aspiring analyst could find a mentor from which to learn all the tricks and tools of the trade. But it's 2011...good luck finding the economics of old, and unfortunately, that has taken its' toll on talent. Less capital means that the 'Top Dog' analysts were plucked away by Hedge Funds, private equity, or have started advisory businesses on their own. Some very good analysts remain in the business, but with weaker long term economics and increased volatility in employment, many analysts do not have training and development of their team as a first priority.

That's where Valentine comes in.

We all read these book and product reviews and always wonder what's real and which are planted by those who will benefit from the sale of the product. While I have no financial ties to Mr. Valentine and will not benefit for this review, you don't need to be an analytical genius to figure out that I know the guy.

But as someone who has been on many sides of this business for 18 years, I've gotta say that this book should be standard issue for every new Analyst, Associate (or whoever...) that wants to get a leg up in this business. Sure...there are parts of the book that are not super fast moving -- like Business Ethics. But I'm sure we can all think of a few people on the News being handcuffed and escorted out of a building wearing an orange jumpsuit bc they lacked Ethics.

When all is said and done, the book is highly readable -- just like Valentine's research. Concise, Decisive, Thorough, and without a single word wasted.

Congratulations Jim. Job well done.
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