An Insider’s Look at Brokerage Research

by Mike Mayo

Mike Mayo, a top-ranked bank analyst, authored “Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst’s Fight to Save the Big Banks From Themselves” (John Wiley & Sons, 2011). He recently talked with me about how investors should approach analyst stock research and a company’s own assessments.

—Charles Rotblut, CFA

Charles Rotblut (CR): Could you explain what the role of a sell-side analyst is and what exactly a sell-side analyst does?

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Mike Mayo is a banking and finance analyst with CLSA, a global boutique brokerage firm, and author of the book “Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst’s Fight to Save the Big Banks From Themselves” (John Wiley & Sons, 2011).


Ken Zanca from California posted about 1 year ago:

You talk about "trust" in your relationship with a bank...just who are you trusting? An individual? a branch? a reputation?

Victor Bradford from Colorado posted about 1 year ago:

I am mainly trusting my experience and the experience of those who recommended my bank and investment firm many years ago. I have continuously doing business with these two institutions for the last 40 years, and I am doing business with both of them right now. They don't pay the highest interest, and they don't charge the lowest fees I have seen, but early in our relationship they proved they could be trusted, so I am going to happily stick with it until something leads me to believe this has changed. Our relationship also gives me an example and an incentive to be honest with them, which also helps me to be a better person.
It's not just about the money -- our current fiat money system is greatly based on basically trusting the person/system on the other end of the line to deliver a service or a payment, and I think this fact is often completely ignored when people talk about money supply or regulations or whatever as the glue that holds our system together.
Thanks for the article.

Victor Bradford from Colorado posted about 1 year ago:

Oops! My mistake -- second sentence in my last post should read "done" rather than "doing."

John Goodell from Maryland posted about 1 year ago:

The argument makes sense. No one can doubt that virtually all analysts reports weigh positively. The advice to read and anakyze the CEO's preface probably is the best tool for the investor on the outside.

John Wiley from Arizona posted 6 months ago:

I've been trying to pick a financial adviser for years, but none of the candidates will talk about their track record. Is this common, and if so, how are we supposed to evaluate what appears to be a pig-in-a-poke?

Charles Rotblut from Illinois posted 6 months ago:

Hi John,

A good adviser will tailor his recommendations to each client's personal situation, so his track record for other clients may actually be meaningless as it pertains to your situation.


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