Judges from CFA Society SA have found it difficult to pick between winners given the high standard of entries in the Young Analyst category for this years Ranking the Analysts awards, illustrating the depth of talent and quality among young South African analysts. Judges score the papers without knowing who the authors are, and Jenny Henry, who co-ordinated the judging this year on behalf of the CFA Society of South Africa, says: “The level of the reports was impressive, reflecting both the young analysts’ hard work as well as the deep support provided by the stockbroking houses themselves. The reports in general were very thorough and I was happy to see a broad spectrum of coverage, across industrials, resources, financials, quants and thematic; as well as the proficiency of valuation techniques.” The top analysts, she says, displayed immense understanding of the various components of the companies chosen. With such difficulty in picking a winner, there is no doubt that the Young Analysts category will be keenly watched by all brokerage firms in terms of both who will ultimately take home the trophy as well as where tomorrow’s talent lies.

A major theme of this year’s Financial Mail Ranking the Analysts awards is just how well the research of local institutional brokers stands up to that produced by international players. Even while international regulatory changes have thrown curveballs at South African analysts, local firms continue to deliver top-quality research even as business models are forced to adapt and regulations force firms to find ways to cover the costs of ongoing research. South African firms have noted an uptick in foreign buying activity into domestically oriented stocks, which means local analysis is highly sought after, paving the way for a continuation of a high level of quality. Competition remains fierce, with 15 of the 40 awards on offer delivering new top-ranked analysts at South Africa’s premier ranking of research.