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Hall of Fame 1 - Edward Hyman Jr.

When Edward Hyman Jr. was studying for his MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the late ’60s, he did a research fellowship that involved econo­metric modeling using what was then one of the world’s first time-share computers. His professor introduced him to Otto Eckstein, a Harvard University economist who had recently started a company called Data Resources, which was also using time-share computers to generate economic forecasts — but for commercial purposes. After graduation, Hyman joined the company; two years later he left to work for one of its customers, Wall Street brokerage firm C.J. Lawrence. “I went to work there doing economic forecasting, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since,” says Hyman, 66, who has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Texas. “Basically, I’ve been doing the same thing, more or less, since I was in graduate school.” Today, Hyman is chairman of New York–based ISI Group, a full-­service research firm he founded in 1991 after a 20-year career at C.J. Lawrence. He is also the All-­America Research Team’s top-­ranked analyst in Economics, a title he has held for an incredible 32 consecutive years. Although Hyman was well ahead of the curve on Wall Street when it came to using computers, he has long been best known among investors for his far less technologically sophisticated way of communicating his analysis. Since the ’70s he has been publishing weekly (and now daily) economic reports that include copies of news headlines, stories and charts, circling the key information and data and adding comments in the margins. “It gets to you quickly and is easy to follow,” commented one happy fan in 1980, the year that Hyman began his record streak. Communications is critical, says Hyman. “You can be right all the time, but if no one understands what your viewpoint is, it doesn’t do any good,” he explains. “A great analyst has to be a great storyteller.” Hyman attributes much of his own success to the salespeople who have delivered his message, first at C.J. Lawrence and more recently at ISI. “Your most important clients are your salespeople,” he says. “You have to have an ability to inspire salespeople into believing in you and trusting you, and understanding what you’re trying to communicate to investors.” At ISI, Hyman has assembled a team of some 40 salespeople, more than double the number of macro and fundamental research products it offers. In total, the firm employs nearly 200 people, split among research, sales and trading, and has offices in Boston; Fairhope, ­Alabama; London; Los ­Angeles; New York; San Francisco; Shanghai; and ­Washington, giving it sufficient heft to compete with the big banks and brokerages. Doing well in the All-America Research Team is important. “We want to have the best analysts,” Hyman says. “Those are the people who we think can help our clients the most. If you have those analysts, they want to be No. 1.”

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