Wedbush Securities - Best North American Hedge Fund Research Provider

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Wedbush Securities was founded in 1955 and is one of the largest providers of small and midcap equity research in the US. 

Wedbush Securities has the largest Equity Research platform on the West Coast comprised of over 20 research analysts, coverage of more than 250 stocks and a dedicated retail channel checking team. The award-winning Wedbush Best Ideas List, is a dynamic, actively monitored compilation of the highest conviction stock ideas among its team of analysts with respect to outperformance over the forward 6 to 12-month period.

The research team sits within Wedbush Capital Markets group and has particular expertise in market sectors that include: retail and consumer; technology, internet and media; healthcare, and financial institutions. Three years ago, Sean Trager set up the prime brokerage division within Wedbush Securities to cater specifically to smaller money managers.

"Rather than focus on multi-billion institutions, we choose to focus on the multi-million institutions. We are building a name for ourselves with the emerging manager community. We essentially become an active extension of their trading desk and provide them with all the bells and whistles needed to be institutionalised, which includes research that managers can access on our portal," explains Trager. 

Wedbush is the only self-clearing broker currently supporting US emerging managers. This brings a lot of efficiencies to managers as Wedbush acts as their custodian, prime broker and research provider.

"We are able to grow the business organically because there's no-one else doing what we do," says Trager. "We customise everything on a client-by-client basis, from reporting to research to stock lending. Our easy to borrow list is more extensive than any of our competitors. I can put something on that list that my core client cannot short more than 50,000 shares. By contrast, if we were covering multi-billion dollar managers they could move the market if they shorted those names." 

The prime brokerage team that Trager heads up as Vice President is able to leverage the wider Wedbush infrastructure to help build out the business. It has a vast array of internal resources to draw upon – a large institutional research team, an institutional trading desk, compliance and legal experts, etc. 

"Our research is highly targeted for money managers and covers a wide range of names across US equities. We offer the simplicity of making research available on our portal, giving us the ability to engage in one-on-one discussions with our clients. Our reports come out on a daily basis, covering everything from healthcare to media research," comments Trager. 

These research reports are geared to help provide direction for traders as they develop ideas for their investment strategies. "You wouldn't find the names being covered in many other reports. Clients appreciate the value of the research we're providing," says Trager.

To broaden its capabilities beyond equities, Wedbush has acquired two futures firms (one being the KCG Group). 

"This has allowed us to expand into global macro strategies and traditional futures-oriented trading strategies. We want to get bigger in the debt space, the mortgage space, and certainly bigger in the futures space," says Trager, who, on winning this year's award, adds: "We've been working hard on growing the business offering and perhaps not enough talking about it in the media, but knowing that we are helping clients become better money managers, is highly rewarding and we appreciate winning this award.

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James Williams
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Editor-in-Chief