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A consistently outstanding performance as the US equity markets have surged, crashed and rallied again over the past decade has earned Richard Repetto this year’s FT/StarMine award for excellence in investment analysis.
Mr Repetto, a former helicopter pilot in the US military and now a principal and analyst at Sandler O’Neill, a boutique Wall Street investment bank, is delighted to win, describing it as “a very fulfilling and satisfying moment” in his career.
But he is quick to highlight the importance of his team’s hard work in winning the award, which is the equity analyst’s equivalent of the Oscar for a lifetime’s achievement.
“It’s not just me,” he says. “We have a great team, with two very talented analysts working on the models. It’s really a team effort to get the numbers right.”
Mr Repetto, who covers the diversified financial services and capital markets sectors, has been analysing internet financial stocks since 1997. He thinks his experience of the dotcom crash gave him an advantage over many of his competitors, when the markets fell sharply 18 months ago.
He says: “I think I was fortunate to have seen two big downturns during my career. It helped us stay ahead of the game last year.”
The experience may have helped, but there was plenty of hard work involved as well. As the markets troughed and peaked in 2008 and last year, he and his team came in to work at weekends to update their models.
“The numbers were changing so fast. We were just trying to catch up and be current.”
In a big downturn, the most important thing is to focus on the big picture and get that right, he argues. “Most stocks in a sector generally move together. The job then is to differentiate between the good and the bad ones, aiming to be the first to do so, and the most accurate.”
Evidently, the efforts paid off for his clients. In addition to winning the lifetime achievement award, Mr Repetto was this year also top-ranked in the earnings estimates category for the diversified financial services sector and in second place for the capital markets sector in the US.
In fact, every year since 2004 he has been ranked by StarMine as one of the top three US earnings estimators or stock pickers in one or both of his sectors. In 2006, he was ranked the best earnings estimator and stock picker for the diversified financial services sector.
Before joining Sandler O’Neill in 2003, Mr Repetto covered the internet financial services sector at Putnam Lovell. Between 1997 and 2000, he was at Lehman Brothers, where he established the firm’s research coverage of that sector.
His career has not been exclusively in finance. Before graduate school, Mr Repetto worked in Mobil Oil’s sales and marketing division.
He holds a BSc in general engineering from the US Military Academy at West Point, and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.