January 24th, 2024 marked the ninetieth anniversary for investment research industry stalwart, Argus Research. On that date 90 years ago the company published its first research report for its initial roster of clients. The stock under coverage? Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon Mobile Corp.). The company now has a market cap of about $385 bln making it one of the largest firms in the U.S. Not a bad call.
Background on Argus Research
Argus Research was founded in 1934 by economist Harold Dorsey, and was one of the first firms to provide systematic, independent research and analysis on U.S. equities to the institutional investors market. Using a top-down methodology, the Argus staff of analysts has continued to offer forecasts and ratings on the U.S. economy, and objective investment research analyzing hundreds of leading blue chip companies.
Argus Research is a fundamental equity research provider that serves a wide range of client types including global banks, money center banks, leading discount brokers, mutual funds, hedge funds, state pension funds, bank trust departments, high net worth investors, and others. Access to Argus Research’s various services is generally available via subscription. Argus is currently managed by John Eade, President and 26 year veteran of the well-known research firm.
As you can see from the above chart of LinkedIn registrations above, Argus Research has approximately 54 employees, a total that has grown 8% in the past two years. The modest gains seen in LinkedIn registrations can be seen to be a proxy for the growth Argus has experienced post pandemic.
Over the years, Argus Research has expanded and diversified various other areas of the financial services industry.
Argus Investors’ Counsel, Inc. (AIC) is an SEC-registered Investment Advisor incorporated in 1960. Clients include a nationwide array of public and corporate pension plans, Taft-Hartley funds, endowments, foundations, hospitals, registered investment companies and high net worth individuals. Argus manages equity portfolios using fundamental research conducted by an experienced long tenured investment team supported by the deep resources of Argus Research. Argus’ flagship core equity strategy has produced substantial active returns for clients since 1979.
In 1976 Argus acquired Vickers Stock Research, which tracks stock holdings data including both Insider Holdings and Institutional Holdings. The Insider Holdings Database includes corporate officers, directors and shareholders of 5% or more of outstanding shares in a corporation. This data is derived from SEC filings. The Institutional Holdings Database includes large money managers, insurance companies, banks, U.S. and non-U.S. funds.
Argus Vickers American Equity Research (AVA), located in London, was incorporated in August of 1993. AVA produces The Owners service, a comprehensive and timely ownership data base of small to mid-cap U.K. stocks.
Argus’ fundamental equity research analysts cover more than 400 stocks, across more than 60 industries. Argus uses a traditional BUY, HOLD & SELL rating on the research reports they publish for each of these companies.
Argus also maintains a quant model, which follows a six-point system, rating more than 1,500 securities BUY, HOLD & SELL. Argus is developing a new report, the A6 report, to provide additional detail to the quant ratings and insights into each of the 1,500-plus companies under quant coverage.
Argus’ Investment Strategy Team runs a different iteration of the Argus quant model to rank more than 2,200 global companies on criteria ranging from earnings momentum to valuation to quality. These ratings are typically organized into portfolios.
Argus also offers Sponsored Research services. The service package offers companies listed on major US exchanges the opportunity to have their stock reviewed in a report published by Argus Research and distributed through Argus’ network.
The report service includes a launch report featuring an investment thesis, earnings and growth analysis, a review of management and risks, and a valuation analysis, along with financial and peer group tables. The report, which is updated quarterly, is designed to give potential investors a better understanding of the merits of a company.
The Argus distribution network reaches financial advisors, institutional money managers and retail investors through a variety of platforms. Institutional ownership data, analysis and reports are also available to corporations via Argus’ sister company, Vickers Stock Research.
Argus also provides investors the ability to leverage the relationships developed over the years by their team of experienced analysts, and meet the people who run the companies Argus covers. The presentations typically begin with a 10-15 minute presentation by management, followed by 45-60 minutes of Q&A.
For corporations, Argus identifies appropriate investors and then manages the Non-Deal Road show (NDR) process effectively to ensure maximum impact with the most efficient allocation of time. Many of Argus’ clients reside further down the roster of shareholders and often times don’t qualify for event access via the larger investment banks. Argus delivers the right investors together with company management, seamlessly managing the process and providing effective feedback.
Integrity Research wishes to congratulate the management and staff at Argus Research and their affiliates for achieving an amazing feat in the global investment research industry – providing a compelling and valuable research service for 90 years! We hope the firm can continue to bring value to a growing universe of retail and institutional investors for years to come!