If you’re opening this book at a bookstore and trying to determine if it’s for you, let me help:
This book will help you combine your views with financial data from Bloomberg—you don’t need access to Bloomberg, but it is highly recommended—and IHS Markit, analyze the results, and generate professional reports using Microsoft Excel without any programming or assistance from your IT department.
This book will show you, step by step, how to quickly produce professional reports that enhance your views with market data including historical financials, comparative analysis, and relative value.
For portfolio managers, this book demonstrates how to generate a professional portfolio summary report that contains a high-level view of a portfolio’s performance, growth, risk-adjusted return, and composition.
If you are a programmer, or potential programmer, this book contains a parallel path that covers the same topics using C#.
I am not an academic, and there is a reason “Practical” is in the subtitle of the book. All you need is a basic understanding of finance and Excel. You don’t need to know any programing, VBA, or advanced math.
To understand why I am writing this book, it helps to understand my background. I’ve always loved computer science, and it was no surprise that my first job was programming for Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). However, very early in my career, I realized something important that would lead me down a very different career path. I realized that my ability to use technology for accessing and analyzing data is more valuable in other fields, particularly finance, than as a programmer in the IT department.
After spending three years as a programmer, I moved over to the bank’s research group and used my computer science skills to tap into the vast wealth of market and internal information that would be otherwise inaccessible. These skills gave me a big advantage over other analysts, and I left my research role as a director at the Royal Bank of Scotland to become a senior structured credit analyst at Brigade Capital Management, an asset manager based in New York. At Brigade, I still use my technical skills to get an advantage in valuing investments.
Over the course of my career, I have taught many colleagues a useful subset of these technical skills. In teaching them, I’ve learned that you can do a lot of useful analysis that goes above and beyond Bloomberg screens, all without knowing how to program. All you need is something most people who are employed in the finance sector already have: analytical minds and Excel experience (and this book, of course).
For my fellow programmers, this book has you covered as well. Instead of trying to track down API documentation and reinventing the wheel, this book contains a lot of useful C# examples on how to access market data from Bloomberg and IHS Markit, perform financial analysis using Math.Net open source libraries, and use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to automate professional reports.
I wanted to write a book to teach these skills to a broader audience and help people use technology to move their resume to the top of the stack.
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This book is dedicated to my incredibly supportive and amazing wife, Emily Pauley. Very special thanks to those of you who have been especially generous with your time and support; I couldn’t have done this without you (in no particular order): Alex Belgrade, Scott Moore, Jeana Curro, Dan Bleicher, Matt Perkal, Sumit Sablok, and Tom O’Shea.