Finance and investment jobs are perhaps some of the world’s most mind-crunching careers.
These professions carry with them a lot of complicated processes and activities. A lot of terms and formulas are so hard they can quickly be forgotten. One can easily get lost somewhere in the middle.
That’s why, over time, financial tools are being made to make things easier.They either aid in creating dynamic worksheets or maybe as simple as helping professionals in monitoring market developments.But, these financial tools are provided for a cost… but not always.
In this guide, we’ll feature some of the best FREE financial tools and resources every investment professional should have. Don’t be fooled by the zero price tags, though, these financial tools offer premium service though they ask no payment from users.
Here they are…
Portfolio Management Financial Tools
Morningstar offers a free portfolio management tool called “Morningstar Portfolio Manager”.
This tool offers more than simple performance marketing. It gives you updated stocks prices and news you can use to decide what will be your next course of action.
Morningstar Portfolio Manager can also do an analysis of your portfolio based on its composition and your current investment style. Moreover, it runs down an easy-to-understand report of your portfolio’s sector weightings.
As an additional feature, it will also give you a recommendation of what you must buy next! Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
To subscribe to a basic (and free!) version of Morningstar Portfolio Manager, go to this link and hit the Register button (Under Basic box).
To know more about how to use this tool, let this video tutorial help you out.
Aside from its core revenue-generating product Bloomberg Terminal, Bloomberg L.P. is in the business of providing Mass media services. This is done mainly through the Bloomberg website. This site is available for free viewing.
Bloomberg.com is perhaps one of the best financial news sources out there.
On the Markets Page, you can find a lot of useful resources for investment bankers:
As you can see above, you can get the figures related to stocks, currencies, commodities, rates + bonds, etc.
Inside the Bloomberg Markets Page, you can find a lot of financial data which is very useful when creating financial models.
Have you noticed the search box on the left side? Use it to instantly find quotes for stocks you need. It’s a lot accurate and reliable than using a random Google search.
Reuters is an international news agency providing news that is not limited only to financial topics. But since it was acquired by Thompson Corporation, Reuters gained an advantage with regards to collating financial reports. Reuters is part of an independent company Reuters Group, PLC, which is a provider of financial market data.
This company is composed of several thousand journalists bound by the Reuters Handbook of Journalism. With this number, the agency’s scope of operations is tremendous in size.
On the page of Reuters, you’ll find different news sections. You’ll find there topics in business, financial markets, world, politics, tech, etc.
For an investment professional, the most critical section could be the Markets Page. You can find here tons of data about World markets, Indices, Stocks, Derivatives or Earnings information of different companies.
Initial Public Offering
The Renaissance Capital has a lot of financial tools for those whose concerns are about IPOs.
Here are some of the useful financial tools you can find on their website:
- Regular IPO Updates:
On every page, you can find a subscribe tab on the left side. By subscribing, you will be regularly updated about new IPOs and everything else about the IPO market.
- IPO Indices
Renaissance computes for IPO Indices for the past two years. The indices are divided into the US Market and International Markets.
These indices are useful when you are checking if the condition of the market will allow another IPO or not.
To go to the indices, first, go to the homepage, then select IPO Index on the top right portion:
On the left side of the page, you can find the options for choosing whether you like US IPO Index or International IPO Index.
The Index page also tells how the data were collected and summarized.
- IPO Center
The IPO Center has a lot to offer investment bankers. To go to IPO Center, just click the IPO Center option on the top right portion of the home page.
a. IPO Calendar
Check out the upcoming IPOs using this calendar. Here you can find the parties involved, the date, and the range of possible IPO prices.
The site also discloses the number of shares involved, the deal size and the top 2 underwriters.
b. Pricings (Recent IPO Pricings)
On this portion, you can find the pricings of recently done mergers/acquisitions:
You will be directed to a table like this one:
There you have the Offer date and Offer Price for the deal. You will also be presented with the Return on Equity had you chosen not to sell the stocks up to this point.
These data are very useful when you are trying to value a future IPO of a company.
c. Breaking News
The IPO Center also has a portion for IPO News:
Use this feature to always get updated on news about IPOs.
One good alternative to Renaissance Capital is IPO Scoop. It has the same financial tools as Renaissance Capital:
- IPO Buzz
You can use this tab to get updated about recent happenings related to IPOs. Aside from news, the IPO Buzz staff do explain some terminologies related to upcoming IPOs.
- IPO Calendar
The IPO Calendar of IPO Buzz is much like that of Renaissance Capital. It displays the company involved, the number of shares to be issued, estimated volume, price high and price low. It also includes a SCOOP Rating.
SCOOP Rating is a Wall Street consensus concerning about how well an IPO might perform when the shares start trading.
- IPO Pipeline
The IPO Pipeline are about data of IPOs that are in the process of being materialized.
You can see here the SCOOP Ratings of filed IPOs. Also, IPO Scoop maintains a list of IPOs recently filed, IPOs by Managers, IPOs by Industry and Secondary Offerings.
Need a database of IPO prices? Go to the Prices Page of IPO Scoop. They have a list of price for IPOs in the last twelve months. What’s more is that they can present prices for the last 100 IPOs!
The last page, the Quiet Period/Lock-Up Period are for paid subscribers only.
With its arsenal of professional raters from 26 offices around the world, Standard and Poor’s is the leading index provider and source of independent credit ratings.
One of the most known indices of S&P are the Dow Jones Indices. The Dow Jones Indices include the famous Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.
How to find rating for an entity
On the home page of S&P, you can find a search box on the left side. Input the company you would look like the rating to show up.
You can also search by CUSIP number (Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures) / CINS code (CUSIP International Numbering System) or ISIN (International Securities Identification Number).
How to find the S&P 500 and other S&P indices
On the home page of S&P, you can find the topic box for S&P Dow Jones Indices:
Click Visit Site to redirect you to a page which shows the different S&P indices.
You can find here different indices such as S&P 500, S&P Asia, S&P Infrastructure, S&P Water, and a lot more!
You can also search by Asset Class or by region by clicking the option tabs on the upper portion of the website.
On the lower portion of the page, you can find news resources you can use for your financial analysis projects.
Fitch is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies” along with Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s. Fitch is a rating company founded in 1914 by John Knowles Fitch. Its headquarters are in New York and London. It has around 2,000 employees worldwide.
Fitch Ratings are divided into Long-term credit ratings and Short-term credit ratings (that is, within 12 months).
For long-term ratings, Investment grades range include AAA as the most reliable and stable entities, followed by AA, A and BBB as the minimum.
Non-investment grades are rated BB, B, CCC, CC, C, and D for entities who had defaulted on obligations and expected to default on all or most of the remaining commitments.
Short-term ratings have F1+ as the best quality grade, meaning the entity had shown an exceptionally strong capacity to settle its financial obligations. D, just like for Long-term ratings are given to entities which had defaulted on all or most of the financial commitments.
Other short-term ratings are F1, F2, F3, B, and C.
How to find Fitch Ratings for an entity
This one is pretty easy to do. On the home page of Fitch, you can find a big search box on the upper portion of the page.
Enter the name of your entity to find the Fitch rating for it.
In addition to the ratings, the Fitch websites also offer financial news, commentaries, and in-depth research stories.
Moody’s, or Moody’s Investors Service, is a world-renowned bond rating agency. Its main line of business is to rank the creditworthiness of borrowers based on the expected loss of lenders in case of default.
The bonds being rated by Moody’s includes those that were issued by private as well as government entities. They also rate those securities issued by managed investments such as money market funds, fixed-income funds, and hedged funds.
Just like Fitch Ratings, Moody’s ratings are divided into long-term and short-term.
The best long-term rating for Moody’s is Aaa. All Aaa securities are deemed as having the highest quality and lowest credit risk. Aside from Aaa, the other investment grades are Aa1, Aa2, Aa3, A1, A2, A3, Baa1, Baa2, and Baa3.
The speculative long-term rates include Baa1, Ba2, Ba3, B1, B2, B3, Caa1, Caa2, Caa3, Ca and C. C is a rating given to entities who are already at default and who are expected to have a low chance of repaying their debts.
Short-term ratings are also classified into Investment grade and Speculative-grade. Speculative-grade has only one rating which is “Not Prime”. On the other hand, investment-grade ratings are Prime 1, Prime 2, and Prime 3.
How to find ratings in Moody’s
On the home page of Moody’s use the search box to find ratings for companies or government entities.
How to find ratings based on criteria
If you click on the Research and Ratings tab, you’ll find different options for looking ratings using different criteria. These include Ratings by Market Segment, by Region, by Research Type or even by Political/Economic Group.
Usually, when you are searching stock prices, all you can find are “historical” figures. Then, there comes freestockcharts.com.
Freestockcharts.com streams real-time stocks charts… for FREE!
You can easily see charts for stocks of your choice. You can even choose the type of graph to use. Also, you choose the time frame. Here’s a video guide to get you started with freestockcharts.com. Or if you want a more detailed guide, you check out this video.
Want to do some technical analysis? Well, the website can also do it for you. Here’s a good tutorial about it.
A. Valuation App by Sohin Shah
This mobile application is a very useful tool when creating valuation sheets. It is an all-in-one financial toolkit that lets you quickly perform business valuations, forecasting, equity dilution computations, company analysis and risk-return analysis.
Among those in the menu are Beta computation, CAPM, WACC, DCF Analysis, Comparable Analysis, Precedent Transactions, Startup Costs, Shark Tank Analysis and Time Value of Money calculations.
Also, it has Cognitive Tests and Education Menu to aid you in studying financial terms and concepts.
Example use of Valuation App: Comparable Analysis
Let’s try the Comparable Analysis Option.
On the Menu, choose Comparable Analysis:
Next, we will have to input the data for the first company. After it, we click submit. Then, we add the data for the next company before hitting Submit. We will do this for all the rest of the companies to be analyzed. For simplicity purposes, let’s assume we only have two companies.
Click View data to see the spreadsheet of the Comparable Company Analysis.
On our example, we can see that the Comp Analysis gave us the Enterprise Value as well as the EV/Revenue and EV/EBITDA multiple. That’s a quick process for a very meaningful spreadsheet.
After viewing, you can choose to download a CSV file of the results. On an Android phone, you can also download a screenshot by pressing Power button and Down volume at the same time (long press).
B. Dividend Tracker by EKC Software
Here’s a mobile application you can download if you are concerned about getting dividend data. This app allows you to create a list of multiple stocks and view their current and historical dividend data.
Sample: How to get dividend data of APPLE, Inc.
We already have here AAPL by adding it using the + button on the upper right corner of the screen.
Clicking the AAPL line item will give us a summary of APPL, especially data related to its dividends. You can find here the current price, 52-week range, P/E ratio, EPS, Dividend, Yield, and payout ratio among others.
To get the dividend history of this company, click the “Dividend History” display located at the lower right corner of the screen.
As you can see, the dividend history shows the 5-year dividend payment history of Apple, Inc. This type of data could prove important if you are evaluating a company Dividend Discount Model.
Another feature of this app is to show the Dividend Charts. To view this, click the “Charts” display on the lower right of the screen.
You can even choose the time frame you want for your chart. It could be three months, six months, one year or 5 years. You can even switch between 50-day EMA and 200-day EMA by choosing each in the Settings menu.
As a bonus, this app also gives news about your preferred stock!
These are just some of the free financial tools that are available for finance professionals. Some of these have “Premium versions” that have lots of more powerful upgrades for a more sophisticated experience.
If you are just in the early years your finance career, it’s better if you start first with the free financial tools. This way, you can test them without spending a single penny.
Go back to our list of free financial tools. Evaluate which one of these are most useful to you. List them down.
Afterward, either download or bookmark those tools. This way you cannot forget about them.
Practice using them using actual or just assumed data. Practicing will make you a better finance professional!