I was in Equities Research for 10 years in Asia – Ask Me Anything

Just some brief background about myself.
I started in Australia working as an Actuarial Analyst and moved to Hong Kong just before the Financial Crisis. My first job at an Investment Bank was at a Bulge Bracket doing Data Management for their Equities Research Department.

Eventually, I got an Equities Research position and covered Banks and Insurance for about 10 years in total. After that, I also worked at a Startup Hedge Fund as a Buy Side Analyst and a Credit Rating Agency.I am now focused on building Online Educational Programs in Finance and Personal Development as I found this is my true passion.

I am currently doing some research for what to focus on so this is part of the reason I am doing this post. I am looking to share my experiences and love to get your opinion as young professionals on the things you would like to know.

Comments (43)

Nov 14, 2018

Forgive me if this is an ignorant question, since I've never worked in equity research, but when doing equity research, what was the role of developing a macro view? Did it filter into your write-ups in an explicit way frequently? Also, given that you were covering companies in Asia especially, what role did your understanding of national/regional politics play in developing your view on equities?

Nov 14, 2018

These are actually great questions.
Most research departments usually have an economics team, some might belong to equities and some fixed income.
They would publish certain forecasts on economic variables like GDP, interest rates, loan growth and for example, since I used to cover banks, our forecasts for individual banks would be based on their economic forecasts.
So in principal, the sector analysts are not supposed to have macro views as such.
Understanding of politics was important for us, as we covered banks, which is macro and policy driven. In fact, a lot of investors questions were on politics, senior management changes because some banks management are actually appointed by the governments or they could leave for government roles. So for example, to understand their career history and objectives would give one a better understanding of how they would run a bank.

Array

    • 2
Nov 14, 2018

Hey thanks for this. It seems that moving from actuarial analysis to data management is a reasonable transition, but how did you position yourself to make the move into research coverage? Did it look like more networking or did you have prior industry experience within banking and insurance that you could sell as a story? Thanks again and I'm glad to hear you've found your passion in what sounds like a really interesting space.

Nov 14, 2018

Thanks for the courteous note.
As my grades in actuarial was quite average, there would have been no way I would make it to an IB quant team - first, I couldn't get pass the screening and second, I couldn't have survived with the technicality anyway.
So I was lucky in a way that the data management role was an experienced hire and was more like an operational role without so much technicality but just knowledge of their existing systems.
There are 2 points on research coverage. Firstly, you have to move into the actual equity research sector teams, ie, the teams that actually write the research. Secondly, from there you have to work your way into getting actual stock coverage for yourself.
For me, both points were luck and not planned but that's just life I think, you have to at least get yourself into a position where luck can apply to you.
Looking back, I think I got into the research role because most importantly, the market was expanding and getting into a bull market so there were not enough experienced people out there so they had to branch out and looked for people with similar experience. So for me, that data management research experience helped. To be honest, I don't even think my boss back then knew what I did but he was probably like ok, this guy was at least in a research department before. When I started I didn't even know how to calculate yoy and qoq figures for example. All these things you just have to learn on the job and find a position/boss that will accommodate that.
I actually got the position from a headhunter, which was introduced from a network so yes, networking is vital. You have to get yourself into that community. I would say that is more important than any of my "story". Its all about developing warm leads and working the numbers game, ie, network with as many people as possible and at least 1 would like you and actually hiring.
Hope this helps and let me know if you might have any more questions.

Array

    • 2
Nov 14, 2018

I don't understand much of the industry as a whole, but an I've heard from ex analysts that the industry as a whole is shrinking, and equities research isn't as highly valued as before, wanted to get your take, maybe it's different in Asia?

To add my friend was in Equity Research at a BB about 20 years ago (before dot com) and said that Equity research used to go to pitches with IB, but now there's a strong wall between banking/research.

    • 1
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Nov 14, 2018

Yes I agree. I think our work was much more valued before.
I think the industry is subject to a major change.
Research reports in PDF formats, calling clients over the phone and leaving voicemails, these are really old ways of doing things.
There will need to be more usage of social media, more interactive models, automation.
For example, there is increasing usage of social media for the analysts, which need to be compliant with regulations on information distribution.
The basis of analysis have also changed. Most of us are trained under fundamental analysis so analysing financial statements but now there maybe more focus on again analysing social media and media newsfeed as they have more impact on share prices especially short term and the investment horizons are getting increasingly short term as well.
Yes, 20 years ago was probably the best time to do Equity Research in its current form. The good old way of talking to management, investors, stakeholders and coming up research with mosaic theory. There were less news back then so share prices were less sensitive to random events and you can genuinely identify value.
To your point, a senior used to tell me there wasn't much difference between a financial journalist and an analyst except the analyst gets to go to pitches and do IPOs, which meant he earned a lot more. So with this wall, independence and tighter regulations, the analyst job has got more difficult and harder to justify the comp.
But still, they get paid a lot, which is why everyone is still trying to hang on.

Array

    • 2
Nov 15, 2018

Thanks for taking questions, did you move sectors during your career or stay focused on financials throughout?

Nov 15, 2018

I stayed focus on Financials but I did cover a range including banks, insurance and diversified financials like asset managers and brokers. Each of them could be considered an independent sector and covered as such.
I do see analysts move across sectors from time to time due to different reasons. But given the nature of the job, it is really stepping out of your comfort zone to cover another sector as you have to build relationships and knowledge again from scratch pretty much. Some people would do it because it's a new and upcoming sector, where there maybe a lot of deals, or they are moving to a sector with bigger market cap so implying more commissions, while some could be involuntary such as the juniors.
I would say it is more common on the buy side as it helps to have looked at multiple sectors before becoming a PM but in the sell side, the career path is different and it is more common to be a specialist.

Array

    • 2
Nov 15, 2018

I just started out covering as a junior covering financials on the sell side so was curious. Since you spent quit a bit of time in the industry, looking back is there anything you wish you done differently? whether that was in the sell-side or buy side?

Nov 15, 2018

I would say you need to find out if you see yourself in the sell side for the long run or looking to move to the buy side eventually.
If you are looking to stay in the sell side then you should focus on your own name, so try to have your own coverage and also talk to investors, sales and management as much as possible.
If you are looking to switch to buy side eventually, you should study other sectors or even ideally switch teams after a couple of years because breadth is more important. You should try to switch to sectors that are on a rising path like Tech, Healthcare. Then try to focus on speaking to fund managers (not the analysts) and not just talk about fundamentals but also how to actually trade the stocks and also show your knowledge of other sectors. That should help position you when opportunities come up on the buy side.

Array

    • 2
Nov 18, 2018

Have you seen anyone in their mid-30s come into research because they are extremely passionate about a specific industry? Assuming no specific research experience before, but extensive finance experience on the macro side.

Most Helpful
Nov 18, 2018

Yes, we do have that for experienced hires and I have seen successes especially when you are extremely passionate.
You would be bringing in knowledge that is currently not covered by most in the industry but where there is a lot of client interest.
The person I knew that got in this way started out presenting at our conferences and client events. And he became so good that our team head hired him.
He was also quite naturally gifted in serving investors, which is the other skill you have to learn quick to survive once you are in.

Array

    • 3
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Nov 20, 2018

Very interesting. I too began my career as an actuary and did a few middle office roles leveraging my quantitative undergraduate education.

Question for you: 1. how do I extract most amount of USEFUL knowledge from a job where short-termism and precision thinking plague quality thinking? 2. how were you able to transition from sell-side to hedge fund analyst?

Thank you so much.

Nov 20, 2018

Hi "Fellow" Actuary =)
There are a few of us in the business but not that many. Actually I never qualified. There was only so much I could push myself to I guess.
1. Great question. I am trying to figure out myself. But I think this has more to do with the industry and the world we are heading towards so is a big picture thing given the information world we live in.
I talked to an ex-colleague the other day and he mentioned he wanted to find a role that he can have fun, build and make money.
I felt I was doing that when I first started but much less so in the last few years and in all 3 respect as well.
I also felt I plateaued in those last few years so I opted out. I am trying to see if I can find an answer doing startup now.
2. It was through a friend. Looking back, a lot of opportunities came through networks. My 2c worth is that if you have been in the industry for awhile and you aren't getting calls from time to time from people asking for your service, you have to start question what you are doing. You mentioned short-termism and precision thinking - those are highly valuable attributes in the hedge fund industry.

Array

    • 1
Nov 21, 2018

Thank you so much.

I want to understand your point on the value of short-termism and precision thinking in hedge fund. I have interned at a hedge fund where we don't play the quarterly game (I had a great time working there), so I have zero interest in working at funds such as P72, Surveyor, or BAM, Is there a chance to build relationship working on the sell side with long-term focused mutual fund and hedge funds? Frankly, I don't really want to serve people (internally and externally) who call me 2 seconds after the earnings press release hits, literally.

    • 1
Nov 21, 2018

My personal experience is that the fund is either very short term performance driven or if there is more long term focus, a lot of politics because then how do you really measure performance.
It actually helps on the sell side because you get to talk to many investors. I would say try to talk to the more senior people whenever possible and show your interest so they would think of you whenever they have an opening. That means focus more on the markets and macro, not just the micro and company analysis. That's the key difference between the sell and buy side. Focus more on the actual stock price movements, when you would actually buy and sell.
When I was on the buy side, I found no one could do that on the sell side, they just focused too much on explaining the news so everything is hindsight. If you could just do it a little bit it already stands out a lot.
Try to put yourself in their shoes as much as possible.
If you own the stock, what would you do, buy more, sell or do nothing? Would you switch from another stock? What happens if it falls further or rise more? Basically, if you are on the buy side, you are running through all these scenarios in your head, which the sell side have no idea about.
Also, by knowing them, you would know if their investment style fits with you. As you mentioned, it could be really painful if it's not a fit.
It also helps trying to find out where their funds are from, whether the mandate is short or long term driven.

Array

    • 2
Nov 21, 2018

This is very helpful. Thank you so much.

Nov 22, 2018

Great thread. Thanks for doing this.

I'm a PM at a $bn equity HF. I have historically limited my interaction with the sellside as a matter of personal preference, despite the fact that my firm has pretty good relationships with most of the banks across the Street. I'm looking to change that since I believe that the sellside can be a tremendous asset for me.

Curious to get your thoughts on how I can get the most out of my relationship with a sellside analyst? I suppose this is another way of asking what you think the sellside is particularly good at.

On the flip side, given that you know how the sausage is made, what do you think are the biggest weaknesses in sellside research if you were to be brutally honest? The reason that I ask is because understanding the structural limitations that a sellside analyst has to deal with can really help someone like me poke holes more easily in the sellside research that I read.

    • 1
Nov 22, 2018

I would say you could start by going to the sales you know well at the banks, ask them for who are the top 2-3 analysts that they think you should meet at their firm.

That should be a natural filter in itself, given the size of your fund, the sales should diligently refer analysts that have helped him/her make money for clients or at least have a good reputation.

For this part, you would also need your sales to be senior otherwise, you may not get a proper referral (as in if the analyst has bargaining power, he/she could just ignore the sales) or the sales may just refer his/her best friend to you.

Best to arrange a meeting with the analysts at your office so you get a feel of that person as this is the subjective part and you may meet a wide range of personalities.

For me, the analysts with the most value add are the ones with best access to management, you could tell through whether they have done any roadshows with management, or have personal relationships with them.

Some guys would bluff a bit here and it is your skill to find out who is the real deal. Anyway, the result will tell sooner or later. Once you worked that out, you will have to track quite closely what that analyst say about that company in his/her reports. Are there any subtle changes in tone such as if he/she are usually very explicitly bullish in reports but suddenly turn more mild. They could still maintain Buy throughout to keep the corporate relationship.

Another value add from this analyst is that, if he/she is the real deal, he/she would have a lot of followers including the guys that actively trade the stock. You could then get much better colour from him/her than just some random analyst on the street.

Personally, those were the key value add to me because I was covering a sector I knew quite well just that on the buy side, I was not as close to the management and other investors anymore.

So it also depends on your knowledge of the sector and how close you are with management yourself.

There are analysts that diligently do modelling, data and reports and some investors value that as well.

As you can see, it can be quite a lot of extra time and effort if you are not doing it already so I am not sure if this is actually the best use of your time.

The biggest weakness is stock calls as they don't have skin in the game at all from both a personal perspective (ie, they don't own the stocks themselves) and professional (ie, their performance is dependent on you giving them a vote hence share of commission and not the actual calls they make).

I used to smile when I hear other buy side ask the sell side analyst if they would buy the stock now or not. People are not stupid and it could just become another counselling session if you know what I mean. I have also seen heated debates stemming from this question, I mean I could see a reason for it but it's just not necessary and there are more important things to do.

Also, I wouldn't ask questions like are investors overweight or underweight the sector. I mean, the answer is already in the fecking price. Asking that question is just asking for a verbal diarrhoea and I have seen it so many times.

To sum up, the sell side is useful if you know what you are doing, what your weakness is, where you are limited and exactly what help you need and you know whether they have the ability and willingness to provide it.

To be honest, if the sell side knows more about a stock than you, you ought to think whether it is wise for you to trade in that stock anyway.

Array

    • 1
Nov 22, 2018

Thank you. I appreciate your very thoughtful response! I hope you stick around and continue to contribute to this thread.

Nov 23, 2018

Hi, I have just started an RA position in APAC (not HK).
I would one day like to make the move to HK if possible due to the larger variety of exit opportunities I believe are on offer there.
It seems however, that to do ER in HK these days, knowing Chinese is a must - a trait I sadly do not have. I do speak another Asian language as a native.
I have spoken to a few analysts that were not Chinese but worked in HK and covered a wide range of Asian nations - all spoke Chinese.

My questions are:
1) Assuming that you did not speak Chinese initially (given the background provided), how did you deal with the language barrier in covering stocks?
2) Have you seen any experienced hires from other locations lateraling in to HK?

Nov 23, 2018

I am not sure where you are working now but I would generally agree with your comments on HK. Singapore is another one especially if you have interest in Hedge Fund, Private Banking.

As you mentioned about the other analysts that were not Chinese, I would angle to be primarily a regional person overseeing some China if you are really interested in China as such.

It helps to learn some Chinese but my opinion is that it is basically impossible to get an edge as a China specialist if you are not a native (The language is a medium only. It is a whole package of the culture, growing up there, your parents living there and having high school and university friends there) so your angle must be regional with China one of the countries you have in your portfolio albeit it probably be the largest one for most sectors.

There are cases of people from other regions transferring to HK but it maybe less common for sector analysts like it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to say, transfer someone from Thailand covering banks to cover banks in China simply because of the cultural and language barrier as discussed. I see more of these happening in economics, strategy or quant.

Array

    • 1
Nov 23, 2018

Is it possible to move from a buy side ER role in AM division of a large Asian bank to a sell side ER role in a BB in Asia?

Nov 23, 2018

Hi

Sorry not sure if this is your real name or reference to the show but if it is, I am a fan too.

It is unconventional to move from the buy to sell side and I can only recall a handful of cases.

For your current buy side role, I imagine you may have a sector focus but maybe across countries. For sell side, you may need to narrow it down to one country and as discussed above, one that you would have a natural edge in.

Not sure of your seniority as well but I imagine it maybe relatively easier if you are more junior just because there are relatively more openings. I have seen senior switches as well but it is more specific so for example, a strategist/macro position.

I would say you can start by engaging more with your sell side counterparts especially the more senior analysts, get to know them and express interests appropriately. You could also talk to your sales and do the same. Also, not sure if your bank has a sell side division, which you maybe able to angle a switch there too.

I am guessing you are aware already but the job nature is very different buy and sell side. One is more performance/return focus and the other more client focus.

Array

    • 2
Nov 23, 2018

Any tips for a junior analyst initiating on his first couple of stocks or his first sector? With MIFID now somewhat in place, I feel it's even more important for new analysts to hit the ground running and really impress clients. Otherwise they wouldn't even bother giving you any of their attention. If you could go back to your first initiations, what would you do again and what would you do differently?

Nov 25, 2018

Yes I understand and as you mentioned with MIFID, the pressure is high.

I would say, before you initiate, try to talk to as many people (investors, sales, IR, companies management along the value chain or if they are difficult, research colleagues - other sectors/regions, the product manager) as you can about the stocks and sector.

Basically, your objective is to know the inside out of the stocks before even initiating. Do as much research as possible online reading the reports out there, what the media is saying, what the management is saying in the media, what other analysts are saying.

Hopefully, that gives you the foundation you need to write a decent report. Don't be too hard on yourself. There are not many superstars that just click on day 1 and those guys did a lot of work before hand in any case.

Also, I don't think you need to try too hard to have a "contrarian" idea. Again, if it is a good one, it's great but if not, people will just think you are pretentious and won't give you much credit.

So just get the report out, that's the most important part. After that, go really really hard again, marketing, talking to investors, try to get client referrals from sales. They may ignore you or even put you down but that's part of the game.

It's all numbers. If you talk to enough people, you will convert. The top analyst may convert 30%+ of clients, you may convert 5% but if you talk to twice as many clients, you are basically 10%. Also you will find your client niche - its a personality plus mindset match initially.

If you do this aggressively for a couple of months, you will basically become an expert of your stocks and people would want to talk more to you. It's a compounding effect.

Those are the things I learned.

One more thing I would say is, and I learned this from a senior, when markets are good, spend most of your time externally, ie, building client relationships but when markets are tough then spend more time internally, ie, your bosses. That's the thing I probably would have done differently.

Array

    • 2
Nov 24, 2018

Thanks a ton for doing this. I too have a few questions:
(Context: Indian, 22 Male, business administration graduate with zero experience in finance.)

  1. What's your take on the theory that in the very forthcoming years ER as an entire function will turn obsolete because of increasing Quantitative Research prowess on both the buy-side and the sell-side?
  2. Even if ER, in its traditional sense being conducted by humans, remains on the sell-side, do you see any exit opportunities available for people in ER since the hedge funds are increasingly turning towards greater quantitative skills?
  3. Citadel founder Ken Griffin recently said in an interview that his firm still makes most of its money from good old stock picking. Do you believe this guy?
  4. A blanket question: 3 key skills to master in order to become a distinguished name in ER, industry-wide at least in one's home market? (Apart from your suggestion of having a good understanding the impact of political twists on one's coverage industries and being able to visualize all the scenarios from the buy-side's perspective.)
Nov 25, 2018

Hey, these are great questions.

  1. Ever since I started, there were question marks on sell side as a function. The fact is, as you mentioned, the algos, the quant are taking over in trading and signals, MIFID, commissions basically 0, free content, social media, Bloomberg producing AI written reports...
    I think there could be some major changes to how sell side is done like should they still be calling clients and leaving voicemails, spending time building Excel models. I don't have an answer but I believe there is still value in understanding the dynamics of the fundamental business model, client relationships. I think the change is more how this knowledge is communicated rather than being replaced completely.
  2. Exit opportunities are not limited to buy side especially hedge funds. It requires a whole different skill set. I see people joining companies as CFO, IR, moving to the credit side, sales. Some continue to move up the ranks within the bank. Opportunities will come along and you will get to know what you enjoy doing over time so I wouldn't worry too much about exit for now given you are young. If you believe you would enjoy it, go give it your best shot. You can see and plan your step 70 much better when you are already at step 69 rather than step 0.
  3. I think you have to put what he is saying into context. As discussed above, there is still a lot of value in understanding the dynamics of a business as such and that part won't go away. It is about how you would execute in the markets if you believe a stock has an intrinsic value of $15 but is trading at $10 now. The quant tools are there to help to say the stock could go to $8 first so we could wait now but you still need the human to tell the tool this stock should be worth $15. So what's happening is human using tools, which is like we use Excel to build a model, just now, there is a more advanced one.
  4. 1) Relationship management - I think people coming into the job don't realise most of the time but sell side is just a broker afterall so it's all about relationships, sales. You can skip that initially on the buy side but over time if you are looking to make it big, networking is still key. The artist with the best art don't sell the most, the artist with the most network does. That's just life. 2) Writing - you will write a lot. Communication is key. 3) Excel, Bloomberg - these are basic things you need to know to do the analysis but as you become more senior they are less important.

Array

    • 2
Nov 26, 2018

Wise words. Thank you so much for doing this.
SBed and Bookmarked!

Nov 25, 2018

Thank you for the AMA.
My question is: I am currently in an MS Finance program at a good/top university. I have had more than a dozen interviews so far for banking, PE, corporate finance positions, but no offers yet. I did a 5-month ER internship in the renewable energy sector with a top analyst in that sector.

What companies/how should I position myself for ER FT recruiting? I find it hard to see any open ER positions and having interned in an ER department I know there are very few positions. Thx.

Nov 26, 2018

It feels like you are trying out a few things. I suggest maybe narrow it down a bit.

Try imagine if you do get the position, is that the type of work you would enjoy? In the end, you are spending a lot of your time there so it helps if you enjoy the work or at least envision yourself to be like your boss one day.

Try networking and talk to the people in the fields so you get a better sense.

It will show when you are interviewing if you seem like you are not entirely sure you want to be in that particular job or commit at least a couple of years there.

If ER is your thing then you are already well ahead of most given your internship.

I would continue to network with ex-colleagues, your peers, the senior analysts, anyone from the management team, the sales, even the secretaries, get the word out in an appropriate manner that you enjoyed your experience there and are very much looking to continue to develop your career in this field.

Even if they don't have anything now, they may have friends that do or something could open up later. You want to make sure you are on their minds when it happens.

If you can show you are a genuinely good candidate/person, people will want to help you because it helps build up their reputation too.

They are your best leverage and warm intro plus a good reference takes you a long way.

You can always try job sites or headhunters but to them you are just one of the thousands CVs they get each day. You might get lucky so it is still worth trying if there is something of interest but this is more like cold calling.

Array

    • 2
Nov 28, 2018

Chinese healthcare seems to be getting pretty hyped up over the past few months, from Seeking Alpha to Goldman Sachs. Which accept of Chinese healthcare do you believe have the potential for growth with a 5, 10 or even 20 year outlook (Pharma, health services, or equipment manufacturers)?

Nov 28, 2018

Hi there

I don't have a strong view on Chinese healthcare.

My sharing here is more about framework and mindshare. I think once you worked out those for yourself, you will have your own process and then find out what market is the best to apply that. Everyone is different and have something they are comfortable with.

For example, I realised I am not a day trader, I don't like to look at the screen or news all day. So my job in investing is to identify a 6-12 month trend then time and size my entry and eventual exit accordingly. I also like to identify stocks that could 10x or even 100x hopefully but the problem with that is I realise I am most likely wrong 9 out of 10 times and mentally I am still learning how to deal with the fact that 9 of my 10 investments could go to 0, while one returns 10x or more so I still make money in the end.

What I would say though on your subject is don't focus too much on hype or noise, they are just there to grab your attention, which is a valuable commodity. I have been on the sell side so I know what people do to grab attention. As we used to call it, we need to capture mindshare, which is market influence and directly affects our pay back then.

What I learned from my time at the hedge fund was the price tells you everything. Looking back, I didn't respect the price enough as I came from the sell side and focused too much on the hype and analysis. When the price tells you, you are wrong, you are wrong, doesn't matter how much analysis you did and the hype goes away once the price tells it something else.

Array

    • 2
Dec 4, 2018

Thank you for your reply! Could you explain what you mean by, "When the price tells you, you are wrong, you are wrong, doesn't matter how much analysis you did and the hype goes away once the price tells it something else."? I think that it means that equities will go up or down, regarding all the analysis you can do, and whatever happens with the price is key. Is that accurate?

Also, is most of Asia's finance talent coming from within the specific countries, or is it mostly American and European transfers?

Thank you for doing this, it is very informative!

Dec 5, 2018

Yes that's right.

When you are on the buy side or as an investor, you enter a trade and it can be based on hundred of hours of analysis or just gut feeling, but if that position goes into losses, your boss or client is not going to care either way.

Of course if you spent time analysing you have some confidence in what you are saying but that can be a trap too.

Ray Dalio admitted he had bet everything he had earlier on in this career on a depression that never came and he lost everything. He did a lot of analysis and was very confident about it.

So in the end, to become a true investor, I believe you have to fully understand risk/reward, timing and sizing your bets. Specifically, you have to realise you can be right only at best 60% of the time so you have to size your bets such that you make more when you are right than you lose when you are wrong. Most people just talk about the next 50% return idea, that's not true investing, that's just tipping.

I think Asia finance has changed, there are more local talents but that's just how the world works given information accessibility.

Glad you like the content and good luck with your endeavours.

Array

Jan 16, 2019

It will has to be biotech & pharma, maybe also diagnostics.

China's HC system is very different from that of the States, i.e. primarily state provision & financing vs. primarily private provision & financing, so private China HC service co. will need to combat the dominate public hospital while at the same time face strong policy head-wind.

On device, bar outbound opportunities, most Chinese device companies are still focusing on low quality consumables, and thereby difficult to justify high valuation / market cap.

Just my 2 cents and hope you find it helpful.

    • 1
Nov 28, 2018

Thank you for doing this! You are a tremendous resource for folks like myself who are exploring the industry.

In some of your responses, you seem to suggest that the skillset for a sellside analyst and buyside analyst are different. I understand that a sellside analyst is focused on marketing while a buyside analyst focuses his time on stock picking.

However, if you can humor me for a second, let's put aside marketing for a second. Doesn't a sellside analyst essentially do the same thing as a buyside analyst? I feel like I'm missing something and am hoping that you would be able to help share some of your insights.

For example, a sellside analyst needs to know a company inside out just a like a buyside analyst would if that buyside analyst were researching that stock, the sellside analyst builds models just as a buyside analyst would, the sellside analyst does his best to value a stock just as a buyside analyst would, and then the sellside analyst makes a recommendation based on what he thinks just like a buyside analyst would.

Can you help me understand what is different on the sellside vs. buyside when it comes to making a stock recommendation for clients vs. actually picking a stock?

Thanks again!

Nov 28, 2018

Thank you for the courteous comment and great question.

Not sure if I have already mentioned in a past post but the key difference is how performance is measured.

Sell side is by client votes, which is how investors perceive your value in their investment process. This means, you don't necessarily have to be right in your calls, that's the buy side job. You just have to tell them something they don't already know. You are trying to help them put the pieces together in a jigsaw. Part of that maybe getting your calls right all the time or it could be knowing company management better than anyone else so whatever you say, people know carry some weight.

The buy side is a completely different game. It doesn't matter your analysis, who you know, the ultimate measure is whether you are generating the returns in your portfolio.

To be precise, remember sell side is paid on commission and buy side on investment performance. It is basically a broker/client relationship.

To answer your questions in the example, I would say the buy side actually needs to know more about the stock/company than the sell side because the buy side is the one with skin in the game. Sell side has no skin because they are just telling you to buy a stock, it doesn't impact them if it falls after, they collected the commissions already.

The modelling part is somewhat similar but again, the buy side should have a more comprehensive view.

Therefore, how sell side value stocks and make recommendations are not completely investment performance driven so the process is different. Also, recall on the sell side you have to maintain relationships with corporate management as well as there are deals. It is difficult to have a negative view if the relationship is strong. Most investors understand that.

Good sell side analysts don't necessarily turn into good buy side and they know it.

Array

    • 1
Nov 28, 2018

This is a great response and helps me a lot. Thanks again!

Nov 29, 2018

Hey thanks for doing this. I used to work in sell side ER as a junior associate at a boutique, but ended up moving to the buy side. Out of curiosity, when you first started out as a junior, did you, and/or the other junior associates at your company, have interaction with clients or even salespeople? Not sure if my experience was unique because including me most of the associates at my last company didn't get lots of opportunities to speak to clients or even sales that much

Dec 2, 2018

Array

Jan 16, 2019
Jan 16, 2019

Array

    • 1