Thursday, June 19, 2008

'Ubuntu' Trumps 'MVP'

If you’ve watched the Boston Celtics this season, you may be familiar with “ubuntu” - the team philosophy employed by the 2008 ‘Celts.’ Wikipedia describes Ubuntu as “an ethic or humanist philosophy focusing on people’s allegiances and relations with each other.” (You may also recall the concept of unbuntu as it played out in the film In My Country.) Anyways, it would seem that the concept of ubuntu was officially validated when the Celtics clinched the NBA title with a 40 point win to put the exclamation point on their 66-16 season.

The amazing feat accomplished Tuesday night by the Boston Celtics – overcoming last season’s embarrassingly disastrous results only to come back just one season later and secure the title by succeeding over the Lakers and their league MVP – the concept of ubuntu could certainly be deployed within the investment research industry.

If we’ve learned one thing from a team’s defeat, and from the strife in the financial markets in the past year, it’s that when you hang your hopes all on one big player, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

There’s No ‘Kobe’ in ‘Team’

In the investment research world in particular, the crumbling of major financial institutions, such as Bear Stearns, has led many top quality analysts to be orphaned and without partnership and affiliation. These analysts are still great analysts, but the current market volatility makes it difficult for many firms to justify the expense of a single ‘MVP’ analyst – no matter how Kobe-like he or she may be.

The research world, instead, has shifted. Our marketplace has become one where investment firms need more than just one top quality analyst on a specific sector. They need more than one broker executing their trades in order to protect themselves from blow ups. They need ubuntu. But employing a full team of great analysts internally can be costly, as can executing trades through too many brokers. Firms like StreetBrains offer the perfect alternative to solving the research conundrum.

Essentially providing ‘fractional’ ownership of an analyst, StreetBrains is able to give clients access to exclusive and unique insights from top quality analysts. Under this model, clients are able to utilize the full ‘strength of the bench’ when needed. In a volatile market, wouldn’t you rather have the option of going to Eddie House, PJ Brown and James Posey than continue to hope and pray that Kobe’s got a trick up his sleeve?

We think that great analysts work best when complimented by other great analysts. We know our clients expect greatness, and we stack our roster to ensure that their expectations are fulfilled.