For Recruiters
Prepping the earnings, eating shawarma and helping my MD function.

An honest day in the life of a sell-side equity analyst

6:00AM: Wake up, brush teeth, shower, make coffee.

6:30AM: Attempt to read the Wall Street Journal, but fail. Instead, I watch last night’s NBA highlights for an hour.

7:30AM: Head to the office while listening to a podcast about an investing nerd interviewing another investing nerd.

7:45AM: I see a giant line of people waiting to get breakfast from this flimsy food truck that sells watery coffee for $1.50 and stale donuts / bagels for $2.00. After a 15-minute wait, I order a sausage bagel with two eggs, because I eat like a champion. Knowing it’s a long day ahead, I get another large coffee.

8:00AM: Enter the office. My MD (Managing Director, the Senior Analyst) doesn’t come in until 9AM. I check my email and then talk to a buddy who covers retail.

9:00AM: My analyst walks into the office. He is a good guy. He small talks with me briefly, but his office phone rings. He closes his door and gets down to serving clients.

9:30AM: Market opens. An equity sales person begs me to talk to a client, some old Portfolio Manager from a Midwest state pension fund who barely trades and is, of course, asking about the attractiveness of legacy tech companies as investments. I agree to babysit him for an hour.

10:30AM: My MD calls me into his office to brainstorm a deep-dive note. Of course, I already know this note is going to be a waste of time and no client will read it. But mindlessly writing the note is less exhausting than convincing him that his idea is stupid. I prefer him to find out through the lack of client readership and call requests.

11:00AM: Getting hungry, but another equity salesperson calls to ask if I can talk to her pod shop client. A pod shop is a multi-manager hedge fund where you have different teams (pods) investing money. It’s a very short-term investment style that aims to make money by having a variant view on quarterly earnings results. I fake a stomachache because I never want to debate with a pod shop person.

12:00PM: Lunch time! A coalition of lunch-getters is formed. We go to this Lebanese place near the office. I get my chicken shawarma with extra chicken and extra garlic sauce. Bad, food coma-inducing move on an earnings day, but life is short.

1:00PM: I start “prepping the earnings.” I will be responsible for two companies tonight. I copy last quarter’s notes into a new template and highlight the numbers to be updated when the actuals come out.

3:30PM: My MD finally comes to his senses that four companies are reporting tonight after he’s spent a full day on the phone with clients. He starts tripping out, not knowing my teammate and I have done the prep work. If we counted on him to be a good project manager, we would all be homeless.

The game plan: for the HOLD-rated company, my MD will not dial in to the conference call. The other three, my teammate and I will dial in before it starts and put my MD in the queue to ask management a question. We also do “call backs,” which are exclusive group or 1-on-1 calls with the company management where sell-side analysts ask questions. Callbacks usually become a giant schmoozing session.

We are now on hold for three earnings conference calls, big boss is in the question queue. We are locked and loaded.

4:15PM: Earnings are out. Two companies beat earnings and raised guidance (the good old "beat and raise") and we have them BUY-rated, so the big boss is victory lapping.

The third BUY-rated company is a disaster: stock is down 20%, but big boss doesn’t care because our firm is the lead bank underwriting their debt. A BUY-rating gives us management access and investment banking fees.

5:00PM: I listen to my company’s earnings calls and I start writing the notes.

7:00PM: Done with all the work, but management callbacks are going to run late (damn you, West Coast companies). I order dinner from my favorite Thai place where I have ordered dinner four days in a row. I also need my Thai iced tea and deep-fried Crab Rangoon. Yes, I stress eat. Don’t judge.

9:00PM: My MD barely knew what the results were for one of my companies because he was hopping between four earnings calls. I know he will ask a super generic question on the callback. I was right – he asked “so what inning are we in for 5G?” a question you can even ask a farm equipment company.

10:00PM: My MD OKs my notes and models. I submit for Supervisory Analyst approval. Of course, those SOBs reject the notes, citing that I cannot use provocative titles, so I have to reword and resubmit. I walk around to annoy the oil and gas research guys who have 20 companies reporting at once. I feel a little better, relatively. 

11:00PM: Notes are approved. I hang around for a bit to spiritually support my teammate as he is writing the script for my MD to go on a morning call tomorrow.

11:30PM: We are all done for the day. My MD heads out, implying I can head out 10 minutes after. I walk home and crash in bed. Tomorrow, I need to come in at 6am for the morning call.

Dick Toad is a pseudonym. He has worked as a sell-side equity analyst and then as a research analyst in a long-short hedge fund. He’s now a full-time entrepreneur running a coaching business (dickthesellsider.com) alongside a collection of social media account aiming to demystify equity research.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: nathan.risser@efinancialcareers.com.  

author-card-avatar
AUTHORDick Toad Insider Comment
Cancel

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Recommended Jobs
Pearse Partners
Hedge Fund Equity L/S Analyst
Pearse Partners
London, United Kingdom
Metis Search
Private Funds Group Analyst
Metis Search
London, United Kingdom
Hudson Singapore
Senior Equity Research Analyst
Hudson Singapore
Singapore
Mason Blake
Equity Research Analyst
Mason Blake
London, United Kingdom
Liberum
Institutional Equity Sales
Liberum
London, United Kingdom