10 things I learned from Mona Nazir

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10 things I learned from Mona Nazir

On November 22, 2017, Lady Investors Montreal co-hosted a talk by Mona Nazir, Canada’s best stock picker for the industrials sector.

She not only gave tons of practical advice, but was also incredibly inspiring.

About Mona:

Mona Nazir photo

Mona Nazir joined the Laurentian Bank Securities Equity Research team in July, 2013 as Equity Research Analyst for the “diversified industrials” sector. Since 2007, she has worked on the sell side of research, specializing in small and mid-capitalization stocks.

Prior to joining LBS she was with Clarus Securities and Fraser Mackenzie Ltd., where she was research associate and analyst, respectively. In her career she has also covered the pipeline and utility sector, disruptive technology space, potash and the energy service sector along with other diversified companies.

Mona was named Thomson Reuters’ Top Stock Picker in 2017 (Diversified Industrials space) and in 2016 she was named second in the Top Stock Picker Award Category.

Ms. Nazir completed her International MBA at Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain and University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management) while her Bachelor of Commerce degree is from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Here are 10 things I learned from her:

1. Be humble.

2. Treat everyone well, whether they’re a receptionist or the CEO.

3. Finding a good job can take 6-10 months.

  • Know your strengths. If you’re better in person than on paper, you need to get out and meet people (and conduct as many informational interviews as possible).

4. People are willing to help you – but you have to ask, and you have to put yourself out there.

  • Try helping other people out first. For instance, send the person you want to reach a quick email with something they’ll find interesting, and add “no response needed.”

5. Curiosity is an advantage.

  • It will lead you to fresh insights, which is valuable when the higher-ups in your industry may be too set in their ways.

6. Don’t sell yourself short.

  • You may not have much (or any) experience, but if you’re smart, curious, and willing to work hard, then you have valuable strengths.

7. Be resourceful.

  • For example, if you can’t afford a Bloomberg subscription, you can still put together an impressive investment thesis using what you can find on Google and companies’ websites.

8. Learn how to negotiate.

  • You can only negotiate well if you know what to expect, so gain as much information as you can. Ask people about starting salaries in their industry, and use services like your university’s careers department.

9. No one knows everything.

  • You have to start somewhere, so don’t let “it seems confusing” put you off! Follow your curiosity! You might bomb some informational interviews – you might be a nervous wreck before a meeting – but by doing it, and learning from it, you’ll gradually become a pro.

10. Lastly, some things to remember when picking stocks:

    – Be proactive, not reactive

    – Look for the following:

    • Leverage (net debt to EBITDA) <1
    • ROE > 15%
    • EBITDA margins relatively high compared to peers
    • High tangible book value (relative to intangible)
    • Bottom-line growth rate > top-line growth rate

    – Do your research:

    • Evaluate growth projections yourself (or as much as possible)
    • Visit industry conferences
    • Find out who the business’s customers are and how they feel
    • Talk to competitors
    • Talk to anyone who’ll get on the phone with you
    • Listen in on shareholder conferences
    • Read several newspapers a day (over time you’ll discern the potential impact of new events)
    • Monitor media mentions of a stock (using stockshare.com? Marketwatch.com? Can’t remember the name of the site you mentioned!)
    • Keep TV news playing in the background
    • Go to a bookstore or the library and read all the books they have on investing
    • Come up with questions, seek out answers, and stay curious

    Thanks Mona for a great presentation!

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