Reader question: Writing resources for equity research analysts?
“What are some good resources to improve my investment writing skills with an emphasis on equity research writing?” This question recently arrived in my email in-box.
Here are my suggestions:
- If you’re in New York City, the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA) has a course or two for you. (UPDATE: NYSSA doesn’t offer these courses as of July 2013, however, I believe they were taught by Jeremy Bolland, author of Writing Securities Research: A Best Practice Guide. Bolland’s book is probably worth checking out.)
- Wherever you live, check with the local society of the CFA Institute. If they don’t offer a good class, ask them if they’d consider adding one. In Boston, at least, the local society listens to member requests.
- Read The Research Puzzle’s “Communicating ideas” post in his “Letter to a young analyst” series, which is now available as an e-book with additional materials provided by industry experts. Author Tom Brakke also guest-blogged for me on “Key Steps in Writing a Research Report.” He also referred me to James Valentine’s Best Practices for Equity Research Analysts: Essentials for Buy-Side and Sell-Side Analysts.
- Take a good business writing class. If there are no business writing classes, take any kind of writing class led by a good teacher. Strong writing skills work across disciplines.
- Write. Write a lot. Ask an equity analyst or portfolio manager to critique your work. The more you write, the better you’ll become, especially if you respond to constructive criticism by a knowledgeable reader.
I offer customized writing workshops for corporate clients in investment and wealth management. I’m not a research analyst. However, I’m good at analyzing client writing samples and then using them as the basis for training.
Equity analysts, can you suggest any additional resources?
I’m always interested in readers’ ideas.
July 24, 2013 update: Warren Miller, CFA, CPA of Beckmill Research, LLC has some more suggestions for you, starting with “Read what good analysts write, and then copy it by typing it into a Word document.” As you re-type that research, study what makes the reports good. That means looking at how the analyst tells the company’s story and at details such as sentence length, transitions, and measures of reading difficulty, such as the Fog Index. As Miller says, “Good writers read great writers.”
May 30, June 3, and June 27, 2014: I updated this with additional links.
Disclosure: If you click on the Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I only link to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.
I guess the obvious answer is to read other sell-side reports. If you have an account at a large brokerage, most will offer reports from many of the sell-side analysts. I would recommend reading a few of these to get a good idea of some of the things expected out of any specific research report.
Stephen Horan of the CFA Institute says “I would recommend the following two resources.
1. Best Practices for Equity Research Analysts: Essentials for Buy-Side and Sell-Side Analysts at http://www.cfainstitute.org/learning/products/publications/books/Pages/best_practices_for_equity_research_analysts__essentials_for_buy-side_and_sell-side_analysts.aspx , and
2. Writing Effective Equity Research Reports at http://www.cfainstitute.org/learning/products/events/Pages/02142011_49365.aspx“
Also see article in latest issue of CFA Magazine, “The Care and Feeding of Great Analysts” http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/e8b4df2a#/e8b4df2a/12
Thank you, this info was very useful.
What would you consider as `best in class’ investment writing? How would you describe an investment writer that is best in class? What does it take to get there? Thanks much!
Thank you for your question. It’s hard to answer in a brief comment. Engaging writing that’s easy to read ranks high of my list for the best investment writers.
As for additional specifics, I think my body of blog posts gives a good idea of what I value.
A colleague recently said the following report is a good template for an industry report: http://www.cfapubs.org/toc/ind/2013/2013/1 (CFA Institute account required to read the full report)
Nice Post !!