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All-America Hall of Fame Welcomes Jeffrey deGraaf

The Renaissance Macro Research chairman celebrates his tenth straight year at No. 1 in Technical Analysis.

Technical analysis doesn’t often generate a lot of excitement, as macroeconomic disciplines go, but that doesn’t mean its practitioners are dull. Take Jeffrey deGraaf, for instance. “My dream job is being a pilot with the U.S. Forest Service in the air attack division, fighting forest fires,” he says. “I would round that off by being on the Telluride ski patrol during the winter months, walking my kids to school, then going to work on the slopes.”

How then did the founder and chairman of Renaissance Macro Research, who this year celebrates his tenth appearance at No. 1 on Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team and thus earns entry into its Hall of Fame, end up in a job that’s equal parts number cruncher and trend spotter?

“I knew from an early age that I needed a career that rewarded risk-taking and creative thought,” explains deGraaf, 46. “I studied finance because it was challenging and had a certain elegance about it — but unlike accounting, in my view, it wasn’t completely rules based. Creativity could be rewarded.”

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DeGraaf earned a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University in 1990, then joined Merrill Lynch as a technical analyst. There he met the first of two men who would have a role in shaping his career: Stephen Shobin. “Steve is one of the best people I’ve ever had the honor of working with — a true gentleman, a wonderful person with a great sense of humor and uncanny intuition regarding the markets and stocks,” he says. “He showed me how to convey ideas in research reports, how to put the personal element into the work — to keep it simple and easy to understand but not at the expense of being insightful.”

Shobin moved to Lehman Brothers in 1995 and deGraaf followed three years later. The former debuted on the All-America Research Team in 1996, as a runner­-up in Technical Analysis, and was No. 1 in the sector in 2000, the year he left to run money for Americap Advisers in New York. DeGraaf debuted on the team the following year, in second place, and rose to the top in 2005. He has held that spot ever since, even as he changed firms twice.

In 2007 the analyst moved to ISI Group, where he met a second mentor, Ed Hyman, a fellow member of the All-America Research Team Hall of Fame and the most honored economist in the survey’s history. “Ed’s magic, in my opinion, is his ability to write about economics and keep it interesting for the noneconomist,” deGraaf observes. “We try to instill that in our research.”

DeGraaf launched his own firm in 2011. “We started RenMac because we wanted to broaden our scope, create more proprietary business lines and take macro-based research in a new, fresh direction,” he explains. “It didn’t make any sense to create value without being independent because we’d just be creating value for someone else. Today, with technology and the proliferation of [commission­-sharing arrangements], it’s far easier to be an independent research boutique.”

What advice does deGraaf offer to those considering a career as an analyst? “First, know your history — not just of the companies, industries and markets, but also business cycles, global trade, economics and the like,” he advises. “In the end, this is a judgment business, and the more solid the foundation of broad knowledge, the better the judgment.”

The inclusion of deGraaf brings the Hall of Fame membership total to 55, 12 of whom appear at No. 1 in their sectors again this year: George Staphos (Paper & Packaging), Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Meredith Adler (Retailing/Food & Drug Chains) and Andrew Lazar (Food), both of Barclays; A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi (IT Hardware), Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.; Ed Hyman (Economics), David Raso (Machinery) and Mark Schoenebaum (Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals/Major), all of ISI Group; Andrew Steinerman (Business, Education & Professional Services) and Michael Weinstein (Medical Supplies & Devices), both of J.P. Morgan; David Adelman (Tobacco), Morgan Stanley; Jeffrey deGraaf (Technical Analysis), Renaissance Macro Research; and Steven Fleishman (Electric Utilities), Wolfe Research.

Three other Hall of Fame analysts earn positions this year, but not in first place: BofA Merrill’s Jessica Reif Cohen (Cable & Satellite, Media), Citi’s Ehud Gelblum (Telecom & Networking Equipment) and Zelman & Associates’ Ivy Zelman (Homebuilders & Building Products).

Three currently ranked analysts have amassed nine first-place appearances to date and thus could be inducted in the Hall of Fame next year, should they reign supreme in their sectors in 2015: Joseph Greff (Gaming & Lodging) and Brian Tunick (Retailing/Specialty Stores), both of J.P. Morgan, and UBS’s Robin Farley (Gaming & Lodging, Leisure).

The All-America Research Team Hall of Fame
Listed below are the members of the All-America Research Team Hall of Fame, ranked by the total number of times they finished in first place in their sector(s), and the firms where they worked at the time of their most recent top appearances.
Edward Hyman Jr.,
ISI Group
35Dennis Leibowitz,
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
25Stephen Girsky,
Morgan Stanley
23Jerome Gitt,
Merrill Lynch
22
Michael Armellino,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
21Joel Price
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
20Jack Salzman,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
20Joseph Ellis,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
19
Richard Sherlund,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
17William Young,
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
17Robert Farrell,
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
16Patricia McConnell,
Bear, Stearns & Co.
16
Kenneth Abramowitz,
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
15Robert Cornell,
Lehman Brothers
15Emanuel Goldman,
Paine Webber
15George Staphos,
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
15
Jessica Reif Cohen,
Merrill Lynch
14Ehud Gelblum,
Morgan Stanley
14Thomas Hanley,
UBS Securities
14Jerry Labowitz,
Merrill Lynch
14
David Raso,
ISI Group
14Lee Seidler,
Bear, Stearns & Co.
14Meredith Adler,
Barclays
13Barry Good,
Morgan Stanley
13
Jeffrey Klein,
Kidder, Peabody & Co.
13A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi,
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
13David Adelman,
Morgan Stanley
12Steven Fleishman,
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
12
Harvey Heinbach,
Merrill Lynch
12John Hindelong,
Credit Suisse First Boston
12Curt Launer,
Credit Suisse First Boston
12Andrew Lazar,
Barclays
12
Steven Milunovich,
Merrill Lynch
12Mark Schoenebaum,
ISI Group
12Andrew Steinerman,
J.P. Morgan
12John Tumazos,
Prudential Securities
12
Gary Yablon,
Credit Suisse First Boston
12Ivy Zelman,
Zelman & Associates
12Joseph Bellace,
Merrill Lynch
11Elaine Garzarelli,
Lehman Brothers
11
Jonathan Goldfarb,
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
11B. Alexander Henderson,
Citigroup/Salomon Smith Barney
11Jay Meltzer,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
11John Rohs,
Schroder Wertheim & Co.
11
Cai von Rumohr,
Cowen and Co.
11Jeffrey Sprague,
Citi
11Michael Weinstein,
J.P. Morgan
11Richard Bernstein,
Merrill Lynch
10
Jeffrey deGraaf,
Renaissance Macro Research
10Ernest Liu,
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
10John Mackin,
Morgan Stanley
10J. Kendrick Noble Jr.,
Paine Webber Mitchell Hutchins
10
Katharine Plourde,
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.
10William Siedenburg,
Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
10Harold Vogel,
Merrill Lynch
10

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