Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Makes a Great Analyst?

What Makes a Great Analyst?

In conjunction with Quandl, a data analysis website that provides financial and economic data 
in a variety of formats that allow analysts to use several different tools. 
They have a collection of free historical data for over 600 futures contracts--currently the largest 
such collection on the Internet! If you're not sure what futures are, see this link for a concise explanation.

Displaying Quandl_5tips_460kb.jpg
Data analysis website Quandl (www.quandl.com) came to me and other finance bloggers with the following question: what separates a good analyst from a great one? 

Warren Buffett, picture from Forbes.com

An interesting question, with no easy answer! If I had to look for the advice of only a single financial analyst, I'd want to see the following factors:

1) Sustained success
2) Simplicity
3) Commitment
4) Focus

My reaction is that the best analysts would think long-term, instead of trying frantically to beat the market. They'd stay focused on the overarching goal of making money consistently, and they would be able to do it--not through hyper-sophisticated algorithms or special secrets, but through a simple and straightforward strategy that reduces volatility while generating steady profits. 

I am, of course, referring to Warren Buffett and John Bogle.

Buffett has a reputation as probably the greatest investor of the past 50 years, because he has delivered consistently good results and insightful--yet often surprisingly simple--advice. I've previously discussed what Buffett and other billionaires like him understand.

Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, espouses simplicity and low fees, in order to best serve the client. After all, why spend every minute of every day reading financial reports in an attempt to beat the market, only to inevitably fail? For more about Bogle and his approach to investing, see Vanguard's own website, Investopedia's list of greatest investors, Bogle's own blog, and his page on Wikipedia).

Quandl provided this handy graphic with some of their insights, as well!  

All of Quandl's insights here seem to revolve around maintaining a big-picture view, rather than getting lost in minutiae. It's often easy to 'miss the forest for the trees.' Following Bogle's and Buffett's advice will give you a big-picture view of the simple, focused approach that will allow you to achieve sustained success with minimal effort! 

After all, I've already relayed one of the important secrets of the rich: their money works even harder than they do! You can do the same by keeping the forest in focus! 

Happy saving!