13 Great Online Resources for Investment Bankers
Investment bankers are armed with some of the best technology and financial tools available on the planet. But, investors who are curious about the data that matter most to investment bankers, but aren't prepared to pony up thousands of dollars a month to access high-end systems, can still get a glimpse using these resources.
Bloomberg is one of the world's leading providers of financial data. The company maintains data on just about any security, debt, or equity, that's been sold. But Bloomberg is not designed to be used by individual investors, as it's priced at levels only large firms can really afford.
But, the website provides a valuable slice of the data that's on its full-fledged system, including:
Reuters is perhaps best known as being a news service that covers all sorts of events, not just financial developments. But the website also contains very valuable information for investors.
One of the website's strongest points is its excellent database of company-specific financial ratios. Not only does Reuters calculate the ratios, but it also compares a company's ratios to the industry and sector the company operates in.
Standard & Poor's
Standardandpoors.com is especially strong in two key areas: debt credit ratings and index research. S&P is one of the largest providers of credit ratings on debt issued by companies and governments. You can see how high, or low, various debt issues are rated. Knowing the credit rating of a company can be important when comparing the interest rates on different securities.
S&P is also one of the largest providers of stock market indexes through its S&P Dow Jones indices unit. You can get all sorts of information about important market benchmarks like the S&P 500.
Renaissance Capital and IPOScoop.com
Both of these websites provide tools to help you understand what kinds of companies are going public, how much money they're raising, the sort of multiples of earnings they're commanding, and what kinds of interest they're getting from investors.
IPO data you can get from these sites include the following:
The Securities and Exchange Commission
The website of the SEC is a bonanza of financial and securities market data. This site is where you find EDGAR. EDGAR is a free way to obtain all the financial statements filed by companies and other investors and borrowers. You can also use the site's search tool to find any rulings or settlements that came from the SEC.
Moody's employs armies of analysts who are supposed to dig into the financial records of borrowers to tell investors how likely those borrowers are to repay the loans.
Moody's provides most of its data and information to paying subscribers. But the website can be a useful resource because it provides, for free to registered users, broad trends on companies’ financial strength in addition to data on the macro economy.
Understanding the pricing trends of securities is a good way for investment bankers to sense the mood of investors. And when it comes to tracking movements of stock prices, it's hard to beat a good old-fashioned stock chart.
The site provides powerful tools that allow users to quickly pull up stock charts. Another key feature of FreeStockCharts.com is the ability to download stock price data going back decades into a spreadsheet for further analysis. This function can allow investment bankers to perform historical ratio analysis on data.
Index Fund Advisors
The Index Fund Advisors website is kind of a history book of the annual of financial performance. It's mainly designed for individual investors looking for financial guidance. But investment bankers can find an impressive collection of historical data on stocks, bonds, and foreign market stocks by selecting the Calculators tab at the top of the page.
Morningstar is a valuable resource for investors looking to dig more into investments being pitched by investment bankers. One of the most powerful tools of the site is the ability to enter the name or symbol of any mutual fund and get a complete rundown of that fund.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics website is home to many of the key data points that investment bankers monitor.
There's nothing to stop you from jumping on the BLS site the second a piece of data is to be released and getting the number. But sometimes, that number in itself doesn't tell you much. It's important to look at how the piece of financial data changed and how that change diverges from analyst expectations.
Department of Commerce
The U.S. Department of Commerce maintains a variety of data sources important to investment banking activities. A number of Commerce Bureaus are of upmost importance, including the following:
Bureau of Economic Analysis ( BEA): You can find data on everything ranging from gross domestic product (GDP) to personal income and corporate profits.
Economics and Statistics Administration ( ESA): The unit generates a variety of economic reports including retail sales, international trade, and manufacturers’ shipments.
Bureau of Industry and Security ( BIS): The site contains information about international commerce and proposed business rules.
The Fed maintains a public website at that contains limited information of value to those monitoring the government's moves.
The Fed's website maintains data on the issuance of commercial paper, which are short-term loans sold mainly by large companies. The Fed also provides data on interest rates and industrial production.
The website of Trefis was cooked up by several engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who also have experience with financial markets.
The site's mission is straightforward. It tries to use financial analysis to show investors what is driving a company's stock price. The site culls financial data to break down what factors are driving a company's valuation.