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Cash Course: How To Research A Publicly-Listed Company

by Niranjana Mittal

By: Atul Sethi

A Brief Summary:

• Many of the products and services you use are from publicly-listed businesses, so try reading more about them as an exercise, or to consider them as an investment

The first place to go is the ‘Investor Relations’ page on a company website. This contains a treasure trove of information on the business

A company’s annual report will have the most comprehensive information on that company. You can skip through all the legal disclaimers and read about the business and financial summaries

Do not let any work you do go to waste – take notes! You can come back to them later and compare your observations with how the business has performed

Learn More About the Businesses You Support

Whether you’re interested in making an investment or you’re doing so for purely education purposes, researching a business can be worthwhile exercise. For publicly-listed companies that are listed on a stock exchange, information is plentiful. All these businesses have an obligation to disclose information periodically to the general public.

Chances are that some of your favourite products and services are from a public company. Try reading some of the publications that they provide for the investment community. This can be a fun way to learn more about the company, and all it requires is a little patience.

‘Investor Relations’ is Your Friend

Every publicly listed company has a section of their website where all the information you need is catalogued, providing you with a general overview of the company, including its history, key milestones, and information about its products and services. Check this out first.

Look at Presentations if You Are More Visual

Investor relations websites also contain investor presentations; these may be friendlier if you are not keen to open a few-hundred-page document, such as their annual report. Many companies have these presentations posted on a quarterly basis. They will contain many charts and tell you about recent trends, financial performance, and their latest business strategy.

Don’t Forget to Take Notes

You’ve done a lot of hard work and spent time looking through this information. Do not let it go to waste by relying on your memory to download and retain all the facts! The devil is in the details, and chances are, you will not remember the little numbers and facts that you pick up along the way. Take notes in whatever format is easiest for you– by hand, electronically, etc. You can come back to them later. A fun exercise I like to do is to write down my thoughts on whether or not I think a business is promising. After some time, you can look back at this and compare it to the actual performance of the business, to gauge whether your thoughts were accurate or not.

Atul Sethi is the founder and CEO of Farnam Tree, a licensed boutique investment firm based in Bangkok. Atul has over twelve years’ experience working in investment banking and as a research analyst, prior to starting Farnam Tree.

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