CFRA Announces Major Updates and Enhancements to its Industry-Leading ETF Research Offering
New ETF rating system more closely aligns to firm’s stock and mutual fund research; Machine learning techniques enable users to identify those ETFs with consistent records of outperformance in both up and down markets
NEW YORK, January 27, 2020 – CFRA, one of the world’s largest providers of independent investment research, today announced a number of significant enhancements and updates to its industry-leading ETF rating methodology and client offerings.
The ETF new rating approach blends CFRA’s proprietary forensic and fundamental approaches, including forensic earnings quality scores and STARS (Stock Appreciation Ranking System), which offer a proven approach to equities analysis. Ratings will be updated on a monthly basis using a machine-learning model with the goal of identifying the funds with highest probability of outperformance of its equity or fixed income asset type.
“For the past decade, CFRA has provided a unique, forward-looking, holdings-based approach to researching and rating ETFs and we’re now able to dig even deeper on behalf of our clients,” said Todd Rosenbluth, Head of ETF & Mutual Fund Research for CFRA. “We will continue to include fund-specific characteristics and forward-looking metrics in the assessments of all 1,800 ETFs under our watch, including expense ratios and other costs, and we will also continue to rate ETFs within just a few months of its history. But with our new rating methodology in place, we will also now be able identify those ETFs with consistent records of success in both up and down markets, something we believe will resonate well with investors and advisors as the return of volatility seems likely to be on the horizon.”
“CFRA is pleased to provide the market with a new rating methodology that reflects the marriage of our analyst’s subject matter expertise, robust accounting analysis, and our unique and proprietary ETF data,” explains Zach Gast, CFRA President. “Our ratings of more than 1,800 ETFs will help investors navigate the ETF investment landscape in a system designed specifically for ETFs, considering critical factors across Reward, Risk and Cost sub-categories to assess a fund’s position relative to peers.”
In addition to making these research methodology and rating enhancements, CFRA has also made a significant change to the rating system itself, moving from a three-tiered weighting system for ETFs to a five-tiered star system. An ETF rated with 5-STARS means that the total return is expected to outperform a similar group of ETFs over the next nine months, while an ETF rated with 1-STAR indicates that the total return is expected to underperform similar group of ETFs over the next nine months.
“Rating stocks and mutual funds on a scale of one to five stars is something our clients have gotten very used to, so it only made sense to take this opportunity to bring that same five-tiered approach to ETFs,” added Rosenbluth. “Coupled with our proprietary ETF data, this approach allows us to bring more nuance to the recommendations we make and for clients to better distinguish among those funds that appear best positioned for future outperformance.”
Notably, the data used to power CFRA’s ETF rating methodology is built upon proprietary content from CFRA’s acquisition of First Bridge Data in August 2019. With the integration now complete, clients can access the industry’s most comprehensive database of ETF constituent holdings data, reference and classification data, investment analytics, and daily pricing, flows and statistics. The classification data is particularly valuable for ETFs, moving beyond style boxes to reflect the real-world investment criteria of investors. CFRA clients can also use powerful data visualization tools, which allow for the creation of interactive reports by region, by category, and more.
Ratings following the new methodology will be featured in CFRA ETF research reports beginning in Spring 2020.
For more information about CFRA, please visit www.cfraresearch.com.
CFRA is one of the world’s largest providers of independent investment research. Through a differentiated methodology blending forensic accounting and fundamental equity research, CFRA empowers sophisticated investment professionals, advisors and risk managers with actionable analysis and proven results.
CFRA’s global research team of 75 analysts critically evaluates industries, funds and companies of interest to help over 2,000 clients, including the world’s leading institutional investors, wealth advisors, corporations, academics and governments, to make sound investment and business decisions.
Founded in 1994, CFRA is privately held with offices in or near New York, London, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Charlottesville, Denver, and Washington, D.C. In October 2016, CFRA acquired and has since fully integrated the Equity and Fund Research business from S&P Global.
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Tomas Perez is currently a Bespoke Analyst at CFRA research.
Previously he was a Senior Associate at KPMG, LLP focused on the insurance industry, on a variety of projects in audit and advisory services for multiple Fortune 500 clients.
Tomas is also a graduate of the Ohio State University, having received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a Specialization in Accounting and a minor in Economics. He is also a licensed CPA in the state of Ohio.
Nick Rodelli is the founder and head of CFRA’s Legal Edge, an institutional investor research product focused on legal and regulatory risk.
Prior to joining the firm, Nick was a litigator and corporate governance counselor at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, a Palo Alto, CA technology sector-focused law firm, and Jenner & Block in Chicago, IL, and a merger arbitrage and special situations analyst at a multi-strategy hedge fund, where he performed merger antitrust, litigation, SEC Enforcement, and regulatory risk assessments, and fundamental analysis. Nick has appeared on CNBC and has been quoted in Barron's, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and other major publications.
Nick holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Veronica Mercier is a Junior Analyst on the Bespoke Team within Forensic Research Services. She conducts in-depth financial analysis and qualitative review of public-facing companies to produce custom reports for clients. Prior to joining CFRA in May of 2019, Veronica worked as a Student Economist in the Division of Insurance and Research at the FDIC where she conducted banking research.
Veronica holds an MA in Economics from George Mason University as well as a BS in Mathematics and BA in Economics from the University of Tampa.
Sel Hardy joined CFRA in October 2019 and is a Fundamental Equity Research Analyst covering several segments within the Healthcare industry including Pharmaceuticals, Managed Health Care, Life Sciences Tools & Services, Health Care Distributors and Services.
Prior to joining CFRA, Sel worked in Equity and Fixed Income Research at Is Investment, the leading investment bank in Turkey. She analyzed stocks and corporate bonds traded on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. As an equity analyst she focused on stocks of Hospital Operators, Pharmaceuticals, Industrials, and Hospitality companies and initiated coverage on several new listings, some of which ranked among the top equity investments of the year. Sel started her career in Finance at Credit Agricole Group as an Analyst in the Corporate and Investment Banking division with a focus on M&A and Credit Analysis.
Sel holds a BA in Economics and Politics from Brandeis University. She also holds a MS in Finance from Cass Business School, City University London.
Garrett Nelson is a Senior Equity Research Analyst primarily responsible for coverage of the U.S. Automotive and Beverages industries. He covers the entire Auto supply chain from manufacturers such as Tesla, Ford, and GM to parts and equipment suppliers, retailers, dealerships, distributors, and tire manufacturers. Garrett also follows the Beverage and Tobacco industries, including companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Molson Coors, Constellation Brands, Altria, and Philip Morris. Finally, he follows a handful of large-cap retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Costco.
Garrett has been with CFRA since July 2018. Prior to joining CFRA, Garrett spent over a decade as a sell-side equity research analyst. He was a Senior Equity Research Analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, where he covered the Metals & Mining industry. Prior to that, Garrett was at an Equity Research Analyst at Davenport & Company LLC where he followed the energy sector, including utilities, oil & gas and coal companies. Prior to that, he worked as a proprietary equity trader for three years.
Garrett holds a B.A. Economics and History from the University of Virginia. He has also passed the FINRA Series 7, 55, 66, 86 & 87 exams
Colin Scarola is a Vice President of equity research at CFRA. His responsibilities include fundamental research and recommending investments within the Industrials sector, with emphasis on the aerospace & defense, airlines, logistics, and transportation industries.
Before joining CFRA in 2018, Colin spent three years in real estate private equity investing with Pennybacker Capital in Austin, Texas. This was following Colin’s initial transition into the investment field after four years as a mechanical engineer within the aerospace and building automation industries.
Colin is a CFA charter holder and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, cum laude. He also holds a Master of Science in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated at the top of his class.
Michael Dowd is head of global account management at CFRA. He is responsible for leading a global team of dedicated account managers to deliver best-in-class service for CFRA clients, developing the go-to-market strategy for client accounts, and driving user adoption of CFRA research.
Prior to joining CFRA, Mike served as the Director of Client Services and a member of the Senior Management Team at SNL Financial before the firm was acquired by McGraw-Hill in 2015. Following the acquisition, he built a Global Renewal Operations Team at S&P Global to facilitate a shift to avalue-based commercial pricing model, and led successful Relationship Management Teams in the non-financial Corporate client segment.
Mike holds aBachelor of Science, Business Administration from the University of Vermont, and a Master of Business Administration from Union College, with a concentration in Finance and International Business.
Ken Leon is Director of Equity Research at CFRA, responsible for analytical research as well as client servicing. As a subject matter expert, his research industries include Diversified Banks and the Housing Market, with coverage of Homebuilding, Home Improvement Retail, Home Furnishings and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
Ken is a thought leader that provides ongoing in-depth research and communications to key customer segments. He is active with most media networks and leading print media, and is sought for his investment views on the large banks and housing market trends.
Ken previously held the position of Global Director of Research and Industry Analyst for S&P Global Market Intelligence. Prior to joining CFRA, Ken spent over two decades in equity research with research leadership responsibilities at ABN Amro, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers. He was a three-time Institutional Investor All-Star for his coverage of Wireless Telecommunications Services.
Ken holds both a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA from New York University. He was also licensed in the State of New Jersey as a Certified Public Accountant.
Kevin Huang is an equity research analyst and is primarily responsible for providing analytical coverage of several industries within health care, which includes biotechnology, medical devices, health care providers and services, and health care technology. His role involves keeping up-to-date with health care policy and regulation, industry trends, and technological advancements.
Prior to joining CFRA in 2016, Kevin worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior associate in Risk Assurance.
Kevin holds a BSBA in Finance and Accounting from the Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also a CFA Charterholder.
Colin Scarola is a senior analyst at CFRA. His responsibilities include fundamentalresearch and recommending equity investments within the Health Care sector, with emphasis on the pharmaceutical supply chain, health plan providers, and the life sciences industry.
Before joining CFRA in 2018, Colin spent three years as an investment analyst in real estate private equity with Pennybacker Capital in Austin, Texas. He transitioned into the investment field following four years as a mechanical engineer within the building automation and aerospace industries.
Colin has completed the CFA curriculum and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, cum laude. He also holds a Master of Science in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated at the top of his class.
Chris Kuiper is a senior equity analyst at CFRA, conducting fundamental analysis and valuation assessments within the Consumer Finance, Capital Markets, and REITs areas.
Prior to joining CFRA in 2017, Chris worked as an analyst for a large-cap value fund. Chris also worked as a fundamental analyst for Calamos Investments, and a credit analyst for TCF Bank. He also previously worked as a research fellow for the Mercatus Center, a research center at George Mason University, where he wrote and published on public policy issues.
Chris holds a bachelor’s degree from Dordt College and a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University. Chris Kuiper holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Stewart Glickman is head of the Energy sector team and senior equity analyst at CFRA. He is responsible for analytical coverage of the Energy sector across the value chain. Stewart has held the positions of Sector Head of the Energy and Materials teams and Industry Analyst for S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Prior to joining S&P Global, Stewart worked in strategic consulting with Monitor Company and in economic consulting with Law and Economics Consulting Group and National Economic Research Associates, Inc.
Stewart holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Victoria, and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Stern School of Business at New York University. Stewart is a CFA charterholder.
Paige Meyer is an equity research analyst at CFRA. She is responsible for providing differentiated and actionable research and recommendations on equities in the Energy and Utility sectors. Paige’s areas of focus include: exploration and production, energy equipment and services, drilling, midstream, and gas utilities. She also authors two top-down industry primers: Energy Equipment & Services, and Gas Utilities.
Prior to joining CFRA in 2017, Paige gained her broad experience in the integrated oil and gas industry, working for Royal Dutch Shell. She had the opportunity to work across multiple business lines, including the upstream (onshore natural gas production), downstream (refinery), and global trading businesses.
Paige also has experience in consulting, focusing on credit risk.Paige holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Tim is a forensic equity analyst, covering Asia-Pacific compannies. Tim is responsible for helping CFRA’s clients better understand underappreciated differences between financial results and underlying economic reality. Tim joined CFRA as a member CFRA’s bespoke research team, and after spending a little over a year with this team, he transitioned to CFRA’s proactive idea generation team.
Prior to joining CFRA in 2017, Tim spent four years at KPMG in their Deal Advisory and Audit practices. Tim holds a master’s degree in Accounting and a B.S. in Business from Ohio State University. He is also a CFA and a licensed CPA.
John is Vice President of Equity Research. He joined CFRA in April 2019. He is responsible for fundamental equity research and analysis covering several segments within the Information Technology and Communication Services sectors, including enterprise software and SaaS/cloud providers, Internet advertising/social media platforms, and game developers.
Prior to joining CFRA, John co-founded Samadhi Capital Partners, an investment advisor and equity research firm where he developed an investment process and framework targeted at tech sector equities, with a particular emphasis on gauging the impact of and identifying the long-term winners from artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, and related developments categorized under the larger “cognification of software” mega-trend. Before his entrepreneurial stint, he served as Senior Analyst and Portfolio Manager at Sands Capital Management, responsible for the firm’s investments within the tech sector.
John began his career in equity research with an independent equity research firm, Precursor, where he was ranked as the top analyst covering network equipment stocks among independent research firms. He also spent the first dozen years of his career in various roles within the tech industry. During this time, he published dozens of white papers and research reports on topics ranging from network processors, Virtual LAN (VLAN) technology, and the historical evolution of enterprise application architecture.
John graduated from Harvard University with a BA in East Asian Studies.
Matthew is Vice President of Equity Research at CFRA. He is responsible for providing differentiated and actionable research and recommendations on equities in the Materials and Industrials sectors. Matthew’s areas of focus include: metals & mining, construction materials, containers & packaging, and building products. Matthew previously held the position of Industry/Equity Analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Matthew joined CFRA in 2016 and S&P Global in 2014, after working on the buy-side as an Equity Analyst at London Capital Management in London, Canada, where he covered North American stocks in the Energy and Consumer Staples sectors. Prior to joining the equity research industry, Matthew worked as a Financial Analyst for companies in both the retail and fitness areas.
Matthew holds his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Colorado State University and his MBA from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He is also a CFA charterholder.
As Chief Investment Strategist, Sam Stovall serves as analyst, publisher, and communicator of CFRA’s outlooks for the economy, market, and sectors. He is the author of The Seven Rules of Wall Street and The S&P Guide to Sector Investing. He also writes weekly “Sector Watch” and “Investment Policy” reports on CFRA’s MarketScope Advisor platform, and maintains the Industry Momentum and Seasonal Rotation portfolios. His work is also found in CFRA’s flagship weekly newsletter The Outlook.
Prior to joining CFRA, Sam was Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist at S&P Global for more than 27 years and served as Editor-in-Chief at Argus Research, an independent investment research firm in New York City.
He received an M.B.A. in Finance from New York University and a B.A. in History/Education from Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pa. Sam is also a Certified Financial Planner.
Sam’s volunteer efforts center on financial literacy. He is a board member of W!SE (Working in Support of Education), an educational not-for-profit that aims to improve the lives of young people through programs that develop financial literacy and readiness for college and careers. He is also a Trustee of Muhlenberg College.
Follow Sam on Twitter: @StovallCFRA
Dan Parker brings to CFRA a distinguished career of more than 20 years working in sales in the financial services industry. Prior to joining CFRA, Dan was the Global Head of Sales at CreditSights. In that role, he helped to significantly grow the revenue and expand the margins, leading to a sale to Fitch Solutions. Leading a team of over 60 employees around the globe, he implemented a value-based and solutions-oriented sales focus, spearheading sales efforts across all client segments.
Prior to joining CreditSights, Dan was a Managing Director at Moody’s Analytics, leading software & analytics sales teams. He was also the Director of Business Development at EDGAR Online. He is a graduate of Boston University with a degree in Marketing.
Prior to joining CFRA, Todd previously served in other financial positions at S&P Global, such as International Mutual Fund Sector Specialist, Large Cap Value and Large Cap Growth Analyst and has served on the Fund Services Asset Allocation Committee. Prior to joining S&P Global in 2001, Todd was managing editor of Value Line Mutual Fund Survey and Senior Large Cap and Small Cap Value Mutual Fund Analyst. He was also a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.
Todd holds a B.G.S in Finance from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Finance from New York University.
Follow Todd on Twitter at: @ToddCFRA
Prior to joining CFRA, Lindsey worked as an Investment Strategist with S&P Global within the Investment Advisory Services division. She worked in several different capacities at TheStreet.com before that, from helping to manage Jim Cramer’s small and mid-cap Charitable Trusts, to leading trader blog conversations and writing research. She learned the ropes as an equity research analyst at J.P Morgan and Deutsche Bank covering retail companies, and began her career in investment banking with Jefferies & Company’s Mergers & Acquisition group.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter: @LBellCFRA
Prior to joining CFRA and S&P Global, Tuna was a Senior Equity Analyst at Lehman Brothers, New York. He participated in key decisions by the firm’s Investment Policy Committee and was highly instrumental in managing a multi-capitalization equity portfolio, with primary focus on the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) sectors. Tuna also gained extensive global consulting experience in his previous roles at Arthur Andersen and KPMG.
Tuna earned an MBA in Finance from the Strathclyde University Business School in Scotland, U.K. He also holds a B.Sc. in Accounting from University of Nigeria as well as LL.B. (JD). Tuna is a CFA charterholder and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Theresa is the President & COO at CFRA. Theresa oversees the company’s entire global operations and drives strategic initiatives to maximize CFRA’s strengths and position for the next stage of growth. Theresa is also a key member of CFRA’s Board of Directors.
Theresa was most recently the Senior Director of Finance, Corporate Controller for SNL Financial (now part of S&P Global) where she worked for approximately ten years in helping the business to scale to $250 million in revenues and over 3,000 employees. Prior to SNL Financial, she was Director of Business Management with LexisNexis and a Consulting Manager with Grant Thornton LLP.
Theresa graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Mathematics and holds an MBA from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, William & Mary.
Paurav Lokesh is the Global Head of Technology. Paurav leads a diverse team of IT professionals, establishing a strategy for our technology teams, translating them into sets of client-facing deliverables, and managing them on elastic infrastructure through Agile DevOps processes and continuous delivery workflows.
Prior to joining CFRA, Paurav worked at various financial institutions as Senior Software Development Manager. He also served as a member of the Technical Governance Panel and chaired the internal Web Community that championed best practices for Web and Mobile development.
Paurav graduated from Visvesvaraya Technological University in Belagavi, Karnataka, India, with a BS in Information Science. He also holds an MBA in Computer Science from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.