Research Analyst Report - Group Assignment
A. The Setting
For the group assignment, you (as a team - pick your team here if you have not already done so) assume the role of an independent equity research analyst. The assignment follows the same structure and goals as the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This means that it is very close to practice, giving you hands-on experience of what it is to be an equity research analyst and some anecdotes for prospective job interviews in the industry.
As part of an equity research analyst team, you are asked to develop an equity analyst research report on a company that is publicly listed in Finland, Sweden, or Denmark. The choice of company is up to you and can for example reflect your team's industry experience (if applicable).
B. The Deliverable
You are asked to deliver an equity analyst report according to industry standards (subject to your potentially limited industry experience). The assignment should follow the CFA Institute's Equity Research Essentials guide and fulfill the following requirements.
Reading Assignment B.1.: Read the CFA Institute's Equity Research Essentials guide
The equity research report MUST include the following:
- Subject company name and ticker symbol
- Subject company industry
- Recommendation (buy/sell/hold)
- Current price (date)
- Target price (% increase/decrease)
and be structured according to the following sections and subsections
- Section 1
- Business description (5)
- Industry overview and competitive positioning (15)
- Section 2
- Investment summary (20)
- Corporate governance (5)
- Section 3
- Financial analysis (25)
- Section 4
- Investment risks (10)
- Valuation (20)
The report MUST NOT contain your names and student numbers. Doing so will result in an automatic down-grading of the assignment grade (from the weight of 35% to 30%) as it prevents anonymous peer assessment.
You may use any publicly available information on the case company. Those include, but are not limited to, company (and its competitor) financial statements, press releases, executive and personnel interviews, as well as information aggregators’ reports.
For further inspiration on how the deliverable can fulfill the guidelines please also see Yale University's published student analyst reports, which resemble your delivery quite a bit or the CFA Research Challange previous' winner or an example of an excellent previous report submitted in this course.
Reading Assignment B.2.: Read at least two of Yale University's published student analyst reports
Reading Assignment B.3.: Read the report of CFA Research Challenge previous' winner
Reading Assignment B.4.: Read the excellent previous report submitted in this course
C. The Evaluation
Financial analysts do not work in a vacuum but do have access to other analysts' reports. As part of this realization, they regularly stay updated on what other analysts they might follow publish in terms of valuations and appraise those evaluations. Implicitly, they formulate an opinion of those analysts and rank them for future reference and potential collaborations.
To replicate this practice, and give you exposure to other teams' work (presentations are not possible in this asynchronous summer format) you (individually) will be asked to peer assess two other groups' work as part of this case assignment. Your evaluations have to be well-founded and fair. You will have three days to submit those evaluations. After all, submissions arrived, the instructors will perform their own assessments to gauge whether the assessments were in line with the report quality.
The evaluation will take place through the assignment activity where you submitted the assignment.
Please note, that peer assessment is an essential part of your work life. You will from early on be asked to assess your subordinates and superiors. Providing well-justified assessments signals your leadership capabilities to both groups of assessees and will contribute to your career advancement. Peer-assessment is, however, not easy. Conflicts of interest might prevent honest assessment and the more experience you have the better you will be. Take this exercise as one learning opportunity to be better at the task of peer assessment.
D. Your Integrity
As an equity research analyst, your success is largely dependent on your reputation, which is both grounded in professional expertise and your integrity. While experience only builds slowly, you can already work on your integrity by delivering honest work. And, while you might have spent a career building your expertise, a founded doubt of your professional integrity can result in an immediate end to the former.
Being transparent in where your information comes from is a start. Sourced information should be properly cited using a generally accepted citation system (see, the Aalto University Citation Guide). The investment recommendation should be based on the evidence provided in the report. The written report should reflect both the dedication of team members and the intelligence they bring to their work.
That is, analyses should be their own and teams may not copy analysis (plagiarize*) from another source into their written reports or presentations. If in doubt about the severity of plagiarism please review the Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity and Handling Violations Thereof (sections 3 and 4). Teams found guilty of plagiarism will by the standard Aalto process be brought forward to the dean, who will in turn judge the appropriate sanction.
* Plagiarism is defined as copying or using in substantially the same form materials prepared by others without acknowledging the source of the material or identifying the author and publisher of such material. Teams may a) use excerpts from articles or reports prepared by others (either verbatim or with only slight changes in wording) with acknowledgment; b) cite specific quotations as attributable to “leading analysts” and “investment experts” by naming the specific references; and c) present statistical estimates of forecasts, charts, and graphs prepared by others with stating the source. (CFA Institute 2017)
E. Your Career?
Did you like what you were doing? Could you imagine a career as a financial analyst? Tune into the following playlist to see our experts' thoughts in a career in valuation!
here, for how you get access through Aalto.
Exercise 1 - Group Assignment: Case Trivago.
Exercise 2 - Individual Assignment: Valuation of Judy Choi's business
Exercise 3 - Individual Assignment: Valuation