Monday, June 05, 2006

Power Player

Not much has changed since the reformers went after stock analysts in the aftermath of the tech bust. Brokerage firm analysts are still, for the most part, bullish; it's hard to make a living telling people what not to buy. And their employers still make much of their revenue doing investment banking for companies the analysts are expected to evaluate. Still, the best of the breed certainly earn their keep by making accurate forecasts of earnings. Sanjay Shrestha is one of these.

Shrestha fits the sell-side archetype. He rates 15 of the 18 stocks he covers a "buy" or a "strong buy," and many of those are companies for which his employer, First Albany Capital, either makes a market or does investment banking. That hasn't stopped him from making extremely accurate predictions about earnings. For two years he has won a spot in our Best Analysts rankings, based on data maintained by StarMine about individual forecasts.

The 32-year-old Shrestha is quick with a laugh and holds forth freely on topics such as the implications of the polysilicon shortage, the history of 20th-century energy infrastructure or the political turmoil that has recently shaken Nepal, the land of his birth. He has hopes for a return to peace in Kathmandu and is grateful for the opportunities he's had in America. On an undergraduate scholarship to the College of St. Rose in Albany, he switched from his prior interest in science to finance and turned that background into a Wall Street career. In 2000 he took a job at First Albany covering companies that are developing new energy technologies. Two years later he added the engineering and construction services sector.

Full story at Forbes.com (reg. required)