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11/14/2011

Secrets to Investment Report Writing: What Successful Analysts Know


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Your career depends on your ability to communicate effectively.  If you can write investment research reports that your clients find both useful and thought-provoking, you have a powerful career advantage.  

Here are four top tips for you on how to advise your clients on that critical decision: buy or sell?

  • Research widely and deeply.  

    What industry is the company in? Who are the key competitors? How are globalization, technology, demographic trends and competition affecting the industry's future? Is the company well-run? Does it have a smart strategy? Do its products and services meet the needs of today's customers?  Is it an ethical company? Does it have a reputation for integrity and social responsibility? What do its employees say about it? Does its culture foster innovative risk-taking—or is it a culture of fear? Do not fall for the company's self-promoting rhetoric.  
 
  • Get to the point.  

    In today's business environment remember, B.L.O.T., i.e., bottom line on top. Today's clients do not have time to read page after page, waiting for you to sum it up.  Begin with your conclusions. Tell readers right away what you are recommending and why. Give them a preview: provide 3–5 key points. Then, in the remainder of your report, expand on those points.
     
  • Provide killer details.  

    Clients want more than the big picture. They also want specifics. Give them details that will stay on their minds. For example, does the company tout its devotion to customer service and not hire customer service reps? Does the company claim that it is innovative and have nothing new in its development pipeline? Does the company spotlight its charismatic CEO and not have a succession plan?  




  • Keep it clear and concise.  

    Plain language trumps meaningless acronyms and corporate rhetoric. Clarity is power. You want to make sure everyone who reads your report understands your position. As a writer, your responsibility is to inform, not confuse; to clarify, not mystify.  

–Susan Mach, PhD, is a communication trainer and coach.  In addition to teaching investment report writing for NYSSA, she teaches leadership communication to MBAs from all over the world. 

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