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What is Investment Research?

Investment research is the process of poring through information and using personal skills and understanding to make sound choices about putting money to work. It is a subset of financial research that analyzes and provides advice on investments. Research is conducted using one or more of the following: fundamental analysis, technical analysis, quantitative analysis, credit analysis and alpha generation.

While many think that investing is simply a matter of buying stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other securities, watching them grow and then cashing them in at a later date, this is only true for some investors. The truth is that there’s much more to it which makes the subject of investment research all the more important.

Generally, investment advice is communicated in the form of an opinion about whether an investment will be profitable for the adviser’s client. If such opinions are prepared with a reasonable degree of care, skill and diligence they may be thought to be exempt from liability under securities legislation in most countries.

What are the Components of Investment research?

1. Fundamental analysis: the study and interpretation of available information and data related to a prospective investment or investment entity and how it will perform in the future. The key criteria for analyzing a prospective investment is usually profitability, usually measured as return on capital. Fundamental analysis also involves gaining an understanding of the company organisation and its financial status as well as due dilligence into background information such as financial statements, legal documents, records etc.

2. Technical analysis: the study of financial market price/volume/product/or credit history. The goal is typically to identify patterns that can be used to forecast future prices and determine more precise entry and exit points for a position. Technical indicators such as moving averages, trendlines and support and resistance levels are often utilized.

3. Quantitative analysis: this is an umbrella term for a wide range of mathematical models used to evaluate prospective investments or investment entities. These models range from hypothesis testing to more complex econometric models such as linear regression, cointegration, vector autoregression models among many others. Different types of quantitative analysis include:

4. Credit analysis: the study of a company’s ability to pay back/repay its current and future debt. This involves studying a company’s financial statements, business plan and any collateral backing the debt. The main types of debt that need to be analyzed are: normal commercial loans, secured loans, stock market securities, bonds and other derivatives.

5. Alpha generation: the process of looking at an investment from a perspective other than its traditional use as an asset class or as security for money management purposes. In addition to normal analysis there may also be value created from strategic planning, corporate restructuring or even portfolio optimization. For example, a company may receive a takeover offer which would affect all shareholders in different ways depending on their holdings and holding structures.

Most countries have a set of rules which govern investment research and investment advice. In the US, the SEC has a set of rules governing financial advisers and investment research which are contained in Rule 205-3 under the Advisers Act of 1940.

How does Investment Research differ Investment Advice?

Investment advice differs from Investment research in that Investment advice is generally not required to be given with reasonable care, skill or diligence. The content is generally different as well as the knowledge needed to give it – Investment advice may include statements about future performance whereas Investment research is normally restricted to past performance.

The key differences are however, that Investment advice is generally not required to be given with reasonable care, skill or diligence. The content is generally different as well as the knowledge needed to give it. Investment advice may include statements about future performance whereas Investment research is normally restricted to past performance.

In the US, Investment advice is regulated by the US Department of Labor and subject to fiduciary responsibility and disclosure under ERISA. Generally, Investment advice is exempt from liability under securities laws but not from civil liability for fraud or negligence. In the UK the UK Financial Services Authority is responsible for regulating investment advice – they have a set of rules called “The Client Assets Sourcebook” which covers both investment research and investment advice. In South Africa there is no official regulation of Investment Guidance per se, however, an entity may form a Section 21 Company with a mandate to provide financial guidance.

In general Investment research involves a degree of skepticism about a prospective investment whereas Investment advice usually assumes an optimistic bias in its statements. Investment research is more likely to have an objective approach to a prospective investment whereas Investment advice is more likely to be biased towards the client’s own interests.

Who can provide Investment Research?
It is commonplace for investment research and investment advice to be provided by the same organization, although this is not necessarily required. There are however, two main types of provider: pure research and product providers and hybrid providers.
Many large financial institutions such as banks and asset managers generally provide both services using different classes of licenses/registrations and different departments (see for example J.P. Morgan). Further, some pure research providers also provide informal investment advice or vice versa.

One of the most popular models is the “hybrid” model. This is where an external financial adviser provides advice on what investments are appropriate, but then delegates execution of transactions (buying and selling) to the client. The key requirement is that the “investment advisor” must not be involved in making trades. A common practice for this type of provider is to use a front-end offshore execution platform for trades, and then provide ongoing advisory services using an asset management company which uses an onshore license/registration. Another common practice is to provide execution services by using a third party service provider e.g. Interactive Brokers.

While investing in the stock market may look like an easy and straightforward way to accumulate riches, it is not always as easy as it appears and some may argue it is the opposite. Without deliberate and informed plans, identifying a profitable venture is a herculean task. The presence of professional investment researchers however makes the process a lot more easier and straightforward as they:

  1. Aid in building a portfolio
  2. Help to monitor the ever-changing markets
  3. Conduct research to build appropriate strategies
  4. Help in preparing for the future of investments

Engaging a professional investment researcher would, from the foregoing, no doubt go a long way in helping investors realize their broad investment goals.

Hire the best Investment Research specialists in 2,900+ industries

Fintalent is the invite-only community for top-tier M&A and Strategy talent. Hire global Investment Research consultants with extensive experience in over 2,900 industries. Our platform allows you to build your team of independent Investment Research specialists in 48 hours. Welcome to the future of M&A!

Why hire top Investment Research experts?

Trusted Network

Every Fintalent is exclusively invited and vetted.

Ready in 48h​​​

Hire efficiently. Your M&A team is ready in 2 days or less.​​​​

Specialized Skills​

Fintalents are best-in-class - and specialized in 2,900+ industries.​

Code of Ethics​​

We guarantee highest integrity and ethical principles.​​​

Selected Clients and Partners

Frequently asked questions

Most frequent questions and answers

What clients usually engage your Investment Research Consultants?

We work with clients from all over the world. Our clients range from enterprise and corporate clients to companies that are backed by Private Equity or Venture Capital funds. Furthermore, we work directly with Family Offices, Private Equity firms, and Asset Managers. Most of our enterprise clients have dedicated Corporate Development, M&A, and Strategy divisions which are utilizing our pool of Investment Research talent to add on-demand and flexible resources, expertise, or staff to their in-house team.

How is Fintalent different?

Fintalent is not a staffing agency. We are a community of best-in-class Investment Research professionals, highly specialized within their domains. We have streamlined the process of engaging the best Investment Research talent and are able to provide clients with Investment Research professionals within 48 hours of first engaging them. We believe that our platform provides more value for Corporates, Ventures, Private Equity and Venture Capital firms, and Family Offices.

Our Hiring Process – What do ‘Community-Approach’ and ‘Invite-to-Apply’ mean?

‘Invite-to-Apply’ is the process by which we shortlist candidates for the majority of projects on our platform. Often, due to the confidential nature of our clients’ projects, we do not release projects to our whole platform but using the matching technology and expertise of our internal team we select candidates who are the best fit for our clients’ needs. This approach also ensures engagement with our community of professionals on the Fintalent platform, and is a benefit both to our clients and independent professionals, as our freelancers have direct access to the roles best suited to their skills and are more likely to take an interest in a project if they have been sought out directly. In addition, if a member of our community is unavailable for a project but knows someone whose skill set perfectly fits the brief, they are able to invite them to apply for the role, utilizing the personal networks of each talent on our platform.

Which skills and expertise do your Fintalents have?

The Fintalents are hand-picked and vetted Investment Research professionals, speak over 55 languages, and have professional experience in all geographical markets. Our Investment Research consultants’ experience ranges from 3+ years as analysts at top investment banks and Strategy consultancies, to later career C-level executives. The average working experience is 6.9 years and 80% of all Fintalents range from 3-12 years into their careers.

Our Investment Research consultants have experience in leading firms as well as interfacing with clients and wider corporate structures and management. What makes our Investment Research talent pool stand out is the fact that they have technical backgrounds in over 2,900 industries.

How does the screening and onboarding of your Investment Research talent work?

Fintalent.io is an invite-only platform and we believe in the power of referrals and a closed-loop community. Members of our community are able to invite a small number of professionals onto the platform. In addition, our team actively scouts for the best talent who have experience in investment banking or have worked at a global top management consultancy. All of our community-referred talent and scouted talent are subject to a rigorous screening process. As such, over the last 18 months totaling more than 750 hours of onboarding calls, of which only 40% have received an invite-link after the call.

What happens if I am not satisfied with my Investment Research consultant’s work?

During your initial engagement with a member of our Fintalent talent pool with no risk. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your hire for any reason then we are able to find a replacement at short notice. There is no minimum commitment per project, but generally projects last at least 5 days and can last 12+ months.

Interested in our invite-only community of tier-1 Investment Research experts?

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