Equity Research is a fundamental division of all financial corporates. And yet it stays mystic to a lot of people due to lack of information. In this article we will give you the most comprehensive overview of Equity Research and more specifically- Equity Analyst to help you master this term. Let us guide your way.

“So exactly what is Equity Research” – you may ask:

Equity Research is investment research. This is a division consisting of researchers for potential equity. They will conduct research about a listed company on a stock exchange to recommend which stock to buy, sell or hold in an equity research report. This process contains various steps but mainly represents in these two functions:

  • Evaluate company though different aspects: When a company is analyzed by an equity equity analyst or an equity research associate it is assessed and evaluated both internally and externally. An equity research analyst/associate looks at financial performance in the past and present to predict the performance of the company in the future. They estimate the price of the stock due to external factors such as GDP, the size of the market, the market share that company is holding, the competitiveness of the competitor,… We will explain this in detail below.
  • Recommend the investment decisions for financial corporations or individual investors through Equity Research Reports with conclusions such as “buy”, “sell” or “hold” the company’s stock. Once the equity research analyst finishes with the research (this contains all the process of evaluation of the company’s stock and prediction of performance of the company) they will give the investment recommendation to the fund manager to pitch the ideas.

1. Equity Research Associate/Analyst: What do they do/Where are they?

A disclaimer: We referred to  “Equity Research Associate / Equity Research Analyst” as “Equity Research Analyst” in this article since this is a closer concept to you and at some particular aspects, Equity Research Associate and Equity Research Analyst are similar to each other.

1.1 What do Equity Analysts do?

Equity research means providing financial analysis via the form of an equity research report to recommend a company’s stock to investors for higher return. We divide this process into 3 parts of what they do:

Gather Information

BIB9

This part of Equity Research means catching up with the latest news that has an impact on the stock markets.

Equity Research Analysts are responsible for a group of stocks or companies in a specific field. They have to gather information – data to conduct a research. Data will be collected from many sources, both public sources (google, news, annual reports and so on) and private sources (the company’s board of directors and so on). They also have to lay their eyes on the global economic situation, new trending markets, size of the market and a very important element – competitors, to hedge risk or seize new investment opportunities.

Analyze Information

CFA vs MBA

Information gathered is analyzed daily 

Equity Research Analyst analyzes the information gathered by evaluating the financial performance of the company through financial statements, building financial models in Excel to project revenue and profit of the company in different scenarios of the market. This gives readers a clear insight of the potential of the company.

Evaluate the stock price

Investment Recommendation

Hedge Fund Interview Questions

Using the data from the previous step, Equity Research Analysts conduct a research to conclude whether to “buy”, “sell” or “hold” that company’s stock to investors.  They evaluate the price of the stock at the moment by using some Equity Valuation models such as DCF, Relative Valuation, SOTP valuation, P/E EV/EBITDA methodology or using some metrics like P/E Ratio, EPS, ROE, ROA, et cetera.

These 3 parts are the fundamentals of the entry level research jobs of an Equity Research Associate. As you move up to a higher level, you will take on more responsibility for leadership and relationships with major investors and C-levels teams of potential technology companies. Entry level research jobs also show the required skill to enter this job. In Equity Research, your entry level research job will start from the Equity Research Associate and then the Equity Research Analyst, we will cover more about the career path in the next section of this article.

 

1.2 Where are Equity Analysts?

Equity Research can be divided into 2 types, Equity Research in Buy-side (Hedge Funds, Mutual Funds), Equity Research in Sell-side (Investment Banks), they generally play the same role but there are some key differences. In the table below, we cover these key difference for you:

 

 

Sell-side

Buy-side

Key difference

Investment Bank

Hedge Fund

Mutual Fund

Working hours

55-60 hours per week

60-70 hours per week 

58 hours per week

Daily Task

Give buy/sell/hold recommendation for the buy-side

Constantly focus on ideas that are more like commercial than totally focus on new potential company

Not focus on only return, but also focus on persuading customers to trade on their stock exchange

 

All reports are on public domain

Make investment decisions based on sell-side analysis and further analysis to make investment decisions

 

Focus on assets that bring the most return in short-term

All reports stay private

Similar to Hedge fund but Mutual fund focuses more on assets that bring the most return in long-term

 

Equity Research Salary

(at entry level)

$125,000-$200,000

$150,000-$200,000

Similar to Hedge Fund but less volatile bonus

Goals

Analyze, evaluate and recommend investment decision on some specific stocks or some specific fields

Make investment decisions based on the company’s analysis and strategy.

 

1.3 Equity Research Report

What is an Equity Research Report?

All the work of Equity Research Analyst goes to a document called Equity Research Report, this paper holds the recommendation on whether to buy, sell, or hold stocks of a public company. This also provides potential of the public company in the near future. Ideally, the Equity Research Report is a raw, smaller version of a stock pitch.

Example of an Equity Research Report

Equity Research report

Structure of an Equity Research Report

  • Recommendation: A conclusion whether to buy, sell or hold the company stock with a target price in the next period of time.
  • Company Update: This content includes any news in management, product releases, new regulation, policies, etc that might change the way investors value the company, an up-to-date sector.
  • Investment thesis: A short summary of the reason why analysts come up with the Recommendation, why the equity research analysts think the stock is overvalued/undervalued and what is the driver behind that.
  • Financial Information and Valuation: The number behind the work. This part includes a forecast of the company’s performance in the near future though analyst’s valuation. 
  • Risk and Disclaimers: All risk associated with the investment is listed here. 

‘Why is an equity research report of sell-side provided for free?” you may ask

Investment Banks publish their equity research reports because of the revenue: Investors are likely to trade company’s stocks right at the bank which publishes stock reports of that company. This makes the commission fee for the bank increase and leads to higher revenue.

 

 

1.4 “Why is an equity research report of sell-side provided for free?” you may ask

Investment Banks publish their equity research reports because of the revenue: Investors are likely to trade company’s stocks right at the bank which publishes stock reports of that company. This makes the commission fee for the bank increase and leads to higher revenue.

 

1.5 Equity Research: Skills Required

Equity Research is a quite specific industry when it requires processing a lot of information to give the most useful insights. One of the questions that many people consider when entering Equity Research is “What are top skills that one needs to become successful in Equity Research?”. We will get to details of each skill below.

Here are the top 5 Equity Research Skills that one needs:

Valuation skills

This skill is essential when it comes to Equity Research since Equity Research is all about estimating potential market value of a financial asset. This skill includes investment analysis, capital budgeting, merger and acquisition transactions, financial reporting,..

  • Intrinsic valuation method (DCF): DCF stands for Discounted Cash Flow. This method determines the value by estimating the future earnings from a financial asset discounted to their present value.
  • Extrinsic valuation method: This method values a financial asset based on the market prices of similar assets. This includes PE Ratio, P/CF, P/BV, etc. 

Excels skills

Equity Research Analysts spend about 14-16 hours a day working on different kinds of financial models in Excel. So, mastering this skill is a must for every equity research analyst. Important points you should consider when doing “Excel work”:

  • It’s all about Formatting: Right and neat format of excel will make sure an out-put error-free. 
  • Speed & Accuracy: The output has to be delivered on time and has to be absolutely accurate. 
  • Analysis: Some Excel tools like Pivot, Filter, Sort, HLOOKUP, etc are used frequently to analyze complex data.
  • Scenarios: Besides building financial models, equity research analysts also have to build a lot of scenarios such as pessimistic, optimistic and most expected. 
  • Graphs and charts:  Graphs and charts are a better way to illustrate insights than words. The majority of equity research reports contain a lot of information displayed in graphs and charts forms.

Financial Modeling

Equity Research Analysts use financial models to forecast the future performance of the company or an asset to bring out investment decisions.

  • Financial Modeling follows Modular Approach: The most important thing is Modular one. Equity Research Analysts can build core statements like Income Statement or the Balance Sheet using different modules.
  • Additional Schedules for clarity: These are depreciation schedule, working capital schedule, shareholder’s equity schedule,etc. Keeping updating these to your financial models will keep it accurate.

Accounting skills

Accounting skills is not only important with accountants, but also with equity research analysts.

  • Source the right data: Sourcing the right data, you will get the right insight. Whenever looking at annual reports, equity research analysts often look for information in Press Releases, Conference Calls, SEC Filings, etc.
  • Identify the right malpractices: it is usually hidden, analysts should identify and predict the accounting malpractices by companies.

Writing skills

Writing equity research reports is one of the most important processes since it shows the output of the whole process.

  • Keep it short and simple: Investors don’t have enough time to read the whole report, so keep it point and precise.
  • First things first: Stock target and price recommendation should be first to save time for the readers.

 

2. Equity Research: Career Path (Equity Associate to Equity Analyst)

The career path in Equity Research is quite different compared to the career path in Investment Banking. The entry level is Equity Research Associate, then the senior level is Equity Research Analyst.

2.1 Equity Research salary and bonus

Salary and bonus are a little bit different between sell-side and buy-side

Sell-side

Position

Promotion Timeline 

Base Salary (USD)

Total Compensation (USD)

Equity Research Associate

3 years

$93,750-$150,000

$125,000-$200,000

VP-level Analyst

2-3 years

$150,000-$225,000

$200,000-$300,000

Senior VP-level Analyst

2-3 years

$225,000-$450,000

$300,000-$600,000

MD-level Analyst

2-5 years

$250,000-$600,000

$500.000-$1 Mil

 

Buy-side (Research/Investment Division in Hedge Fund)

Position

Promotion Timeline 

Base Salary (USD)

Total Compensation (USD)

Equity Research Associate

2-3 years or more

$50,000-$70,000

$125,000-$150,000

Hedge Fund Analyst

3-4 years

$100,000-$150,000

$200,000-$600,000

Senior Analyst

3-5 years

$130,000-$170,000

$500,000-$1 Mil

Portfolio Manager

3-10 years

Less than $200,000

$500,000-$3 Mil or more

Salary may vary a large range due to different financial institutions and economic situations.

2.2 Equity Research: Career Path and Jobs Description

 

Considering Sell-side first

Structure of a team: Each team has 1 Equity Research Analyst and 2-3 Equity Research Associates, each associate manages 7-10 companies.

Equity Research contains basically 2 big steps in the career ladder. Unlike career in Investment Banking, the entry level research jobs in Equity Research starts with Associate then Analyst later. Let’s start from the bottom line:

 

Position

Equity Research Associate (The entry level research jobs)

Equity Research Analyst

VP-level Analyst

Senior VP-level Analyst

MD-level Analyst

Job Description

Overview:

As a part of the Equity Research department, your main responsibilities will be researching available data about companies and industries in the market, analyzing them by financial models built in Excel, providing and evaluating investment insight, writing reports about companies and industries to pitch the investment ideas to the Equity Research Analyst. In addition, Equity Research Associates is also responsible for remaining up-to-date to new industry information such as new regulation, technology innovation, …. Additional responsibilities include marketing investment ideas and investment research to our institutional sales force and institutional investors.

 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

– Prepares and delivers standard presentations and pitches to the Equity Research Analyst

– Builds and maintains financial models in Excel

– Conducts statistical reviews about financial assets to extract investment insights

– Identifies and synthesizes relevant industry metrics

– Writes equity reports about company and industry to recommend investment ideas.

– Breakdown SEC filings as well as business model to evaluate investment opportunities

–  Attends to conferences, builds relationships with company management teams

– Answers inquiries from multiple clients and sale teams

– Performs other duties and responsibilities as assigned

Overview:
As a Senior Equity Research Analyst, you will manage equity research teams and be responsible for the performance of Equity Research Associates across the industry. You will be expected to take a lead in ensuring the high quality of equity reports and to deliver excellent customer service. Besides, meeting with big investors as well as maintaining relationships with C-levels of potential startups as well as top companies in the industry will also be part of the job.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

 

  • Sets up meetings between buy-side portfolio managers and sell-side analysts
  • Pitches about the investment ideas to investors 
  • Manages the outputs of Associates
  • Builds strong relationships with key contacts and internal stakeholders to ensure the ongoing success of programs and to maximize opportunities for innovation and growth.
  • Meeting with company executives, monitor company and industry events
  • Meets with new booming startup founders to evaluate their potential when IPO.
  • Manages and leads fundamental equity research associates as well as their outputs, enforcing strong work ethics, research processes.
  • Identifies and deeply evaluates key valuation drivers, thematic views, industry trends, and idiosyncratic questions
  • Conducts thematic research, participates in investor conferences.

 

 

Equity Associates work a lot with data to bring out the insights, so technical skills such as building financial models and internal communication skills are essentials.  While Analysts  work more openly such as meeting new people everyday, setting up meetings to pitch ideas, etc. This means to become an Analyst, communication skill is very vital. Moreover, it often takes an Associate  3-4 years or more to become an Analyst.

On the buy-side, such as Hedge Fund or Mutual Fund and so on, the career path is different. At the junior level, the job mainly is research while at the senior level like Portfolio Manager, the job is investment management.  Starting career at Research in Hedge Fund means the career path is like this:

 

Position

Research Associate (The entry level research jobs)

Job Description

A Research Associate in a Hedge fund spends time on gathering, synthesizing data daily. The main difference between Research Associates in Hedge Fund and Associates in Sell-side is that Research Associates not only look at stock, but they also look at other financial assets such as bonds, real estate,… for investment opportunities.

– Perform internet searches to gather relevant information, and record any findings in a manner pursuant to facility protocol

– Building financial models in Excel to evaluate stocks, bonds, and other financial assets

– Assist other researchers with various tasks, including data entry, field research, statistical analysis and presentation preparation

– Verify data in both digital and written form, make sure that any errors that may occur are eliminated

– Read Sell-side report and conduct macro-economic analysis

– Work with Hedge Fund Analyst to pitch ideas for higher manager

 

Position

Hedge Fund Analyst/Research Analyst

Job Description

A higher level of Research Associate is Hedge Fund Analyst. Some jobs that Hedge Fund Analyst may do are:

– Attend conferences and meetings with managers, suppliers of current portfolio companies.

– Build different financial models within a sector

– Study sell-side report and macroeconomic research to catch the trend

– Work with Senior Analyst or Portfolio Manager on investment ideas

– Conduct due diligence

 

Position

Senior Analyst/Sector Head

Job Description

Overview:
Senior Analyst is essentially the head of the research team. They work directly with the portfolio manager. The Senior Analyst is responsible for ensuring the timely and accurate completion of all funds within the team. Their main tasks in the day are quite similar to Hedge Fund Analyst but there are some differences:

– Pitch ideas to the Portfolio Manager

– Manage the team to enhance the portfolio performance

– Ensure the team valuations are prepared to meet daily deadlines

 

Position

Portfolio Manager

Job Description

Portfolio Manager is a very prestigious position due to not only compensation but also the reputation he/she got. Portfolio Managers are the ones who make the final decision to all the investment executions of the fund while also estimating and hedging risks. Moreover, PMs manage the operation of middle office and back office like IT, Accounting, Compliance. Some work of a PM are:

– Construct and review performance reports to show to investors

– Focus on risk management in term of macro risk or individual positions

– Do marketing and raising capital for the fund

– Create research and review platforms for new, existing and potential investment products

– Perform due diligence visits and assess investment management firms and analyze investment pools

 

To know more about Hedge Fund, check out our article Hedge Fund Mega

2.3 Equity Research: Working Hours

hedge fund salaries

Equity Research Associates: 

Normal days: An associate has to work about 12 hours per day on average, mostly looks for new potential stocks, updates financial models, etc, 55-60 hours per week.

Hot season – earning season: Hot season is when the company releases its quarter report. During this, an associate has to work for 16 hours or more per day, 70-80 hours per week on average.

Equity Research Analyst:

Normal days: An analyst has to work about 12 hours per day on average, same with an associate but usually up to 50-70 hours per week.

Hot season: Same with associates but can be up to 100 hours per week (this means weekend work included). Most of the time  analysts spend on working with investors/clients/conferences.

Some factors affecting working hours:

Friday

Since the Stock Market is not operating during the weekends so Friday is kind of an easy day for Equity Research-ers. Trading volume is not high as usual, so you may arrive a little late and leave at 5p.m.

The Analyst’s work style

A team usually consists of 1 Analyst and 3-4 Associates. So the workload of that 3-4 Associates depends closely on the analyst’s work style. If the analyst wants a deep, insightful report, associates tend to work for longer hours.

 

2.4 Exit Opportunities of Equity Research Associate/ Analyst

First option to exit: Hedge fund and other asset management firms

A lot of people from sell-side equity research choose buy-side (hedge funds and other asset management firms) to be the next step. This is a straightforward and logical exit option due to the same amount of work and technical skill needed such as building financial models to evaluate financial performance and the price of stock. To join Hedge Fund in particular and other asset management firms, an Equity Research Analyst needs to have other investment skills such as building portfolio or investment sense about current financial assets, etc. Since the Hedge Fund is a very prestigious place, to break into Hedge Fund from Equity Research, an Equity Research Analyst needs to put a lot of effort into networking. Moreover, a CFA is a huge plus.

Chance of landing an offer: Medium to High

Second option to exit:  Wealth Management Firm or Private Banking

Another exit option is to join wealth manager firms or private banking serving a group of high net worth individuals. This exit opportunity is suitable for those people who want to take a break from the intense working environment in both Buy-side and Sell-side. Since this option requires a smaller amount of work, it requires more human skill.  To get this offer, a Equity Research Analyst needs good communication skills as well as a good reputation in the industry and the last is understanding the risk appetite of the investors.

Chance of landing an offer: High

Third option to exit: Corporate

A lot of people jump into corporate roles after equity research. While working,  they have a very detailed insight of the industry in general and the company in particular when analyzing the industry over a long period of time. They also have a very good relationship with the company when setting up meetings or researching the company’s policies to make investment recommendations. This is an advantage when applying for jobs at this company. Potentially, even corporate development and corporate strategy are good exit opportunities when the deep knowledge of the company may make up for the lack of deal knowledge.

Chance of landing an offer: Medium

Fourth option to exit: Private Equity and Venture Capital

One of the options that many people consider is Private Equity and Venture Capital. However, it is almost impossible to break into Private Equity and Venture Capital directly from Equity Research.

PE/VC needs other skills, knowledge that in the previous position, Equity Research Analysts don’t have. Therefore, choosing this option to exit, Equity Research Analysts need to at least transfer to Investment Banking to have some experience first, then PE/VC later.

Chance of landing an offer: Low

 

3. How to get into Equity Research?

Some ways to get into Equity Research:

  • Undergraduate and MBA level in top schools: Big banks often recruit directly from the top schools. If you study at top school, have high grades (above 3.2 GPA), some experience in finance then you are good to go.
  • Undergraduate and MBA level in non-top schools: Things are a little bit harder in non-top schools. To get into ER from non-top schools, you have to have some requirements (besides high grades) such as: having experience in some small funds (private equity may also work) or investment banks then move to big ones next, winning stock pitch competitions is a huge plus.
  • Become Expert in one specific field like (Biotech, Clean Energy,…):

There are a number of specific industries such as Biotech or Clean Energy that need deep technical knowledge to be able to assess the potential of a company in these fields. Therefore, large banks still recruit people with full-time experience of these industries to work in Equity Research to provide the most realistic view. However, they need to know the fundamental skill of finance to be able to work

The process of recruitment in Equity Research is pretty random and unstructured compared to the Investment Banking recruitment process. Generally, you’ll go through some  internships to have experience, resume screening,   first-round interviews, and then proceed to Superday interviews at the bank.

 

3.1 Internship – First step to Equity Research

The internship programs for Equity Research(or Analyst Internship) are super rare. Statistically saying, only 0.3% of all Investment Banking Internship related is Equity Research Internship. If you want to break into Equity Research, you have to put all your efforts and plan a strategic way to approach each opportunity.

Get prepare for the internship

To become a research intern, make sure you:

  1. Know the market: You can get the sense of the market by building your own portfolio and managing it effectively over time.
  2. Practice “reading” news, long articles: You are expected to know what is important from a long article or a report, then how to shorten it into bullet points.
  3. Get some experience relevant to the job: It will be a huge advantage if you have experience related to investment banking in general or equity research in particular.

Some Research Internship Programs you may be interested in: 

JP Morgan Chase&Co: Corporate & Investment Bank Equity Research Part-Time Analyst Internship

Raymond James: Equity Research Associate Program, Equity Research Internship Program

Barclay (Equity Research): Research Summer Analyst, Equity Research Summer Associate, Equity Research Summer Analyst

Morgan Stanley (Equity Research):  Summer Analyst Program

Goldman Sachs (Equity Research): Summer Analyst Internship, New Analyst Program,

3.2 Equity Research: Resume

No matter if you apply for Equity Research Associate or Equity Research Analyst, a resume is the first and the most important part. Through this, the recruiters know more briefly about your skills, experiences and what motivates you to get into the financial industry. Here are some tips to help you ace this round.

Your target is to make your resume stand out. To do so, you need to:

  • Highlight your relevant working experience and achievements 
  • Highlight your ability tailoring to that position you are applying for
  • Share about your leadership experience and how you work with others in teamwork

No matter how many experiences you have, you must keep them brief within one page. You can share the rest of the story at the interview.  After submitting your resume, don’t forget to confirm your application and stay connected with the firm, you will be noticed about the next steps if you pass the round.

3.2 Equity Research: Interview Question

The question in the interview of Equity Research (or sometimes called Research Interviews Questions) is quite similar to other jobs in Investment Banks. To become an Equity Research Associate – the entry level research job, you can expect mainly 2 types of questions:

Non-technical Questions: These questions is all about you

Personal questions:

These questions are the first and the most fundamental questions you will have to face. Mostly it will be about your strengths/weaknesses, your goals, your experience in finance. These questions will provide the interviewer an overview about you.

“Perspective about industry” questions

Industry awareness is vital in this field. So you must have a wide knowledge to cover a lot of fields. Moreover, you will be asked about global trends, macro economic, micro economic and some policies of the government.

Technical questions – Research Interview Questions: These questions are used to test your knowledge

Analysis Questions:

They often expect you to know briefly about balance sheets, financial models, and so on. If you can’t answer all the questions given, it’s totally fine, just ask for another question.

Situational questions:

The interviewer will ask you about your opinion/evaluate a situation. The right answer is not needed in this type of question. All the interviewers want is to examine your way of thinking. So please be careful, these questions are tricky but maybe your life-saver in the interview.

If you want a step-by-step guide in Network and Resume, check out our product

 

3.4 Equity Research: Network

Like others investment banking careers, networking is very important when it comes to recruitment.  This is the same as how to network in Investment Banking

3.5 What do you need to master before becoming a part of Equity Research – Equity Research Analyst?

Equity Research is a very specific field so it requires a lot of technical, analytical skills. We will list some of it below:

  • Financial Modeling Skill
  • Valuation Skill
  • Words/Excel Skill
  • Research Skill
  • Finance and Accounting Skill

3.6 Why Equity Research? 

This is not only the question you may face while interviewing but also the question you have to ask yourself first. You are the right one for Equity Research if you are:

  • Love working with numbers
  • Be able to work long hours (12 hours per day on average) 
  • Love writing, building models from numbers
  • Love meeting new people (often high networth individuals, founders of startups or portfolio managers).
  • Be able to work under pressure and multi-task.

If you love all those things we listed above, then ask yourself: ” Why not Equity Research?”

4. Some tips from BankingPrep

  • Always double check your work: there is no room for mistakes in Wall Street
  • A small mistake is prohibited in Wall Street because this may lead to a bigger mistake and a huge loss. Make sure you always double check your work no matter how simple your work is.
  • Do all the tasks given: By doing all the tasks given will give you a clearer view of a company stock or get to know better with your boss. This helps your career path a lot easier and faster. 
  • It’s all about networking: Networking is very important in IB in general and ER in particular. You can have unexpected good job offers from alumni or peers in your network. So make sure you have a good network not only during working hours but also outside working hours.

 

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