Best of: General Investor Resources

The following links are part of an ongoing research project to identify the “Best of” online financial research tools†. But there was just too much stuff from which to choose. For compelling evidence on just how crowded the investment service provider space is, look no further.

Anyway, I hope something here eases the daunting task of just choosing a starting point.

Things tend to be in constant flux — new sites and services are always popping up — others fall out of favor, into disrepair, or disappear completely. I apologize if anything is out of date or otherwise irrelevant.

Professional Development

Investor Education
  • Free
    • endorsed Wikipedia – Academic types are known to besmirch Wikipedia because, I believe, that it stands against a core principle of the ivory tower: that academia possesses a monopoly on authoritative truth. But seriously, given its open architecture, the accuracy of content on Wikipedia is miraculous.
    • endorsed Khan Academy: Finance – It’s surprising that the most popular online learning portals are not affiliated with universities (i.e., CourseraUdemy, et cetera). I have endorsed Khan Academy because the courses are relevant and free, the instruction style is concise, and the user interface is very intuitive and innovative.
    • approved Investopedia – Investopedia is easily my second most referenced site for financial learning, right after Wikipedia.
    • Finance Reference – Investopedia can be a great resource, but as someone pointed out to me, the interface has numerous accessibility issues. FinanceReference.com is a great alternative designed around accessibility.
    • approved Morningstar’s Classroom – Special recognition belongs to Morningstar’s online learning portal due solely to the content. Morningstar has developed a unique way to value a company’s intangible assets based on its “competitive moat”. This approach gives concrete form to Warren Buffett’s “margin of safety” principle.
    • approved Boundless – I had not heard of Boundless when I first stumbled on it. I was looking up some esoteric accounting knowledge which was absent from the usual sources. At first, Boundless seemed like just another learning portal — designed for K-12, maybe. But I was surprised to learn that it contained a wealth of good information on natural resource accounting. The site contains information on a host of other topics. Additionally, the sources are well maintained by an active user base and are very meticulously cited — helpful for conducting follow on research.
    • Motley Fool Investing Guide
    • Yahoo!’s Education Center
    • Nasdaq’s Investing Basics
    • MIT OpenCourseWare
  • Premium

Career Development
  • Free
    • endorsed Wall Street Oasis – Wall Street Oasis’ brand is career placement and advancement within the buyside investing community (i.e., investment banking, hedge funds, private equity, etcetera). The educational resources appear to be very good, but the reason I keep coming back is for the forums.
    • approved Investopedia Exam Prep – How Investopedia offers such depth at no added cost is a little bit beyond me. Notably, the site offers study and preparatory guides from most FINRA Series exams, CFA, and more. I’ve personally found the CFA preparatory guide to a useful reference for doing my own financial analysis.
    • SumZero – SumZero is a community for buy-side investors and analysts. It primary offering include research sharing with other buy-side analysts, career placement, and tools for raising capital. Filtering out the cacophony that is sell-side research… it’s a good idea!
    • eFinancialCareers.com – A jobs aggregation platform served with a dose of good, original content.
    • Street of Walls – this used to be a jobs posting site, which has since migrated to Vettery. Still, what’s left seems to offer a structured and concise introduction to investment banking. On the internet nowadays, its rare to come upon anything that is both broad and concise.
  • Premium
    • endorsed Wall Street Prep – Wall Street Oasis’ premium affiliate site offers self-study courses on GMAT preparation, interview preparation, basic financial modeling, and industry-specific analysis. The site also offers resume and letter review services by industry professionals
    • endorsed Breaking Into Wall Street – Resources for those interested in furthering their financial modeling skills, such as analysts of hedge funds, private equity, and investment banking.
    • approved Mergers and Inquisitions – Mergers and Inquisitions is a blog for finance professionals backed by Breaking Into Wall Street. The site offers tools, courses, and tutorials for investment banking career seekers and professionals.
    • approved Bionic Turtle – David Gardner’s resource for the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) accreditation preparation. This site has fantastic information for those who are even just generally interested in quantitative finance.
    • QuantNet Courses – QuantNet is directed mostly at professional quants, especially those who have earned or who intend to earn a Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE). The site’s offerings include active forums, online courses, and MFE program rankings. The site currently offers two premium online courses for C++

Tools

General Investor Tools
  • Free
    • endorsed EDGAR (SEC) – An essential resource for US reporting companies.
    • endorsed Sedar – An essential resource for Canadian reporting companies.
    • approved Morningstar – Another essential resource which offers great breadth and depth.
    • approved NASDAQ Stock Research Tools – NASDAQ’s website offers a complete and intuitive interface for conducting stock research. In addition to providing price and fundamentals (from Edgar Online), it offers tools for generating Guru Scores (in partnership with Validea), analysts estimates, peer ratio comparisons, technical analysis, and more. Additionally, its implementation of SEC Forms 4 (insider trading) and 13-F filing (changes in institutional holdings) queries is astoundingly good — on par, in fact, with premium offerings.
    • approved FinViz – FinViz offers visually stunning market analytics. In addition, it has recently expanded it offerings to include a broad array of tools such as screeners, model portfolios, insider transaction searches, and even strategy backtests. FinViz also aggregates from an impressive array of sources such as: GuruFocus.com; Morningstar; OilPrice.com; Zacks; Reuters; MarketWired; AP; RigZone; MarketRealist; MotleyFool; Bloomberg;  24/7 Wall St.; Investopedia; Yahoo! Finance; Barron’s; CNBC; Financial Times; TheStreet.com; Wall Street Journal; CNBC; Moody’s; and more.
    • Yahoo! Finance – Yahoo! Finance’s offerings are basically in the same vein as Nasdaq’s. The main advantage of using Yahoo Finance is that its fundamental data is derived from S&P Capital IQ, which I point out elsewhere, is of institutional quality. The downside is that formerly awesome tools, like its bond screener, are no longer maintained casting some doubt over the company’s commitment to quality content.
    • AdvFn.com – AdvFn has been a leading market and financial data aggregation for years. The breadth of its offerings are actually quite amazing when one consider how many are at no cost to the user. I’ve even read somewhere that some power-users have built APIs to pull its data for power analysis and back-testing.
  • Premium
    • approved YCharts – YCharts is very powerful and easy to use. However, I am not a paid user.

Research Platforms
  • Free
    • yeah, right….
  • Premium
    • endorsed Portfolio123 – My personal favorite — but for good reasons. “P123” is the premier research and algorithmic investment platform intended for retail investors. The core data set is derived from S&P Capital IQ’s CompuStat data which is fundamentally differentiated from other data sets due to rigorous data standardization and the availability of “point in time” (PIT) data for unbiased backtesting. The platform also offers numerous research and analytical tools. As a ratio of price to computing power, nothing in its class is cheaper.
    • S&P Capital IQ – Capital IQ offers several research platforms, but from what I’ve gathered, they’re all pretty much based on the same underlying data-sets. Notably, Research Insight can be accessed via a standard user interface or a command driven API, greatly augmenting the versatility of the underlying data. Moreover, the core of Capital IQ’s fundamental financial data is driven by Compustat (mentioned elsewhere with praise), which further distinguishes the platform. Note: the platform also offers vast industry specific items, but I cannot vouch for the quality or completeness of these items.
    • Bloomberg Professional Services (aka, “The Terminal”) – When I was at the Board of Trade, a limited number of Bloomberg Terminals were provided for members to utilize during the day. These machines are incredibly powerful, but also incredibly expensive.
    • FactSet
    • Robur Investment Research – Robur’s premise is that a family investment office curates fundamental financial data, and offers it through a research platform. The distinguishing feature, in my mind, is that the core offering for (rare) global fundamental data is accessible through the Quandl API. This format effectively replicates powerful capabilities offered by the Big 3 (i.e., Capital IQ, Bloomberg, and Factset) at a fraction of the overhead. A caveat: forcing global fundamentals into a single data schema is potentially hazardous; different countries often have fundamentally different underlying tax, accouting, and legal frameworks — “apples-to-apples” comparisons of cross-regional company financial data is not possible without an extensive amount of review and standardization.
    • IBIS Research Plaform (IBIS) – I’ve heard that Interactive Brokers’ fundamentals research platform, IBIS, rivals institutional level research platforms for a fraction of the cost.
    • Sentieo – Sentieo is an alternative research platform which capitalizes on advances in unstructured data, social media, and sentiment analytics in order to locate, deliver, and ultimately exploit unique sources of alpha.

Portfolio Backtesting (Fundamentals)
  • Free
    • Jamie Gritton’s MI Backtester – The mechanical investing backtester here is amazingly powerful for a free tool. I personally do not use it, but I would definitely recommend it for those who are interested in getting started. Keelix’ backtester used to also be on the list, but has ceased to be maintained.
  • Premium
    • endorsed Portfolio123 – My personal favorite — but for good reasons. “P123” is the premier research and algorithmic investment platform intended for retail investors. “P123” data is derived mainly from S&P Capital IQ’s CompuStat data which is differentiated from other fundamental data sets due to rigorous data standardization and the availability of “point in time” (PIT) data. The platform also offers numerous research and analytical tools.
    • Zacks Research Wizard – I enjoyed using Zack’s Research Wizard on a trial basis. I ultimately went with another system that utilized standardized fundamental data. S&P Capital IQ’s Compustat database is standardized to fit a specific data model whereas most of other institutional data sets (e.g., Zack’s and Thomson-Reuters) more closely mirror company statements “as presented”. If you’re building reports, “as presented” is a reasonable way to go. If you’re back-testing, then you’ve got to make sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples.

Portfolio Backtesting (Technicals)
  • Free
    • approved Quantopian – Quantopian is a very interesting concept. The premise is to provide traders access to a pre-built algorithmic trading library through a Python interface and build a community around the open exchange of ideas and strategies.
    • QuantConnect – I recently discovered QuantConnect through a search engine query. I was immediately impressed by the premise having an open interface, called LEAN, which supports C#, Python and F# programming languages. I was even more intruiged by its offering of curated fundamental and technical data for multiple types of asset class. This data-based offering plugs, what I feel is, a gap in similar offerings. Anyway, I have yet to play around so I can neither condone or condemn at this point.
  • Premium
    • PortfolioMaestro – Tradestation’s backtesting platform is focused on chart-based (i.e., technical indicators). It is useful for rapid prototyping, trend verification, and trading.
    • MultiCharts – This is popular tool amongst many traders, though I’ve never personally tried it. Interestingly, PowerLanguage, its command-driven backbone, is compatible with Tradestation’s Easylanguage.
    • Collective2 – Collective2 is mainly a web-based repository of technical-based trading strategies. There used to be more strategy exchanges, but Collective2 appears to have prevailed.

Stock/ETF Screeners
  • Free
    • approved FinViz – FinViz offers visually stunning market analytics. In addition, it has recently expanded it offerings to include a broad array of tools such as screeners, model portfolios, insider transaction searches, and even strategy backtests. FinViz also aggregates from an impressive array of sources such as: GuruFocus.com; Morningstar; OilPrice.com; Zacks; Reuters; MarketWired; AP; RigZone; MarketRealist; MotleyFool; Bloomberg;  24/7 Wall St.; Investopedia; Yahoo! Finance; Barron’s; CNBC; Financial Times; TheStreet.com; Wall Street Journal; CNBC; Moody’s; and more.
    • Zacks Stock Screener
    • AdvFn – AdvFn has been a leading market and financial data aggregation for years. The breadth of its offerings are actually quite amazing when one consider how many are at no cost to the user. I’ve even read somewhere that some power-users have built APIs to pull its data for power analysis and back-testing.
  • Premium
    • endorsed Portfolio123 – My personal favorite — but for good reasons. “P123” is the premier research and algorithmic investment platform intended for retail investors. “P123” data is derived mainly from S&P Capital IQ’s CompuStat data which is differentiated from other fundamental data sets due to rigorous data standardization and the availability of “point in time” (PIT) data. The platform also offers numerous research and analytical tools.
    • approved Guru Focus – GuruFocus is a popular platform among value investors for accessing analytical reports and performing your own.
    • Validea – Validea is a good resource for determining the investment criteria of great investors… or at least someone’s rules-based interpretation.
    • New Constructs Education – Algorithmic investment screens and stock picks based on value investing principles.

Bond Screener
  • Free
    • endorsed FINRA Bonds Center – An essential tools for retail traders and investors who cannot or do not want to pay for professional bond data.
    • approved Morningstar’s Bonds Center – Another essential tool for retail traders and investors.

Specialty Stock Screeners
Earnings Calendars
Brokers
  • endorsed TradeStation – TradeStation offers low fees and a solid trading platform. TradeStation is greatly augmented by EasyLanguage; a specialized, high-level scripting language. Additionally, TradeStation provides an API to Reuters fundamentals data.
  • endorsed Interactive Brokers – The discount broker of choice. I’ve also heard that that IB’s fundamentals research platform, IBIS, rivals institutional level research platforms (e.g., Capital IQ, Factset, Reuters) for a fraction of the cost.

Crowd-sourcing Stock Tools
  • Free
  • Premium
    • approved Estimize – Estimize is hybrid social media and crowd-sourcing platform which sources user’s projections on comany earnings (and now macro-economic data). Estimize cites peer-reviewed research which shows that its consensus estimates are more accurate and possess greater alpha content than Wall Street’s estimates… we’ll see how long that lasts.
    • Trefis – Trefis provides discounted cash flow valuation models for many large publicly traded companies. The sophistication and depth of these models, and well as the accompanying analysis is what I would expect of premium institutional research. Casual users can inspect such models and calibrate them according to an intuitive user interface. User inputs and sentiment scores are recorded… thus users are the products. While I feel that Trefis’ innovative suite of tools have great potential, I am waiting for the team to iron out the kinks and bugs in the website before I raise my approval rating.
    • PredictWallStreet – PredictWallStreet is one of the original stock prediction apps. The company has implemented contests with cash prizes for the most accurate forecasters.
    • Vetr – Vetr is an investment research platform that delivers crowdsourced star ratings for stocks and provides access to investment insights from trusted sources for self-driven investors.
    • TipRanks – TipRanks evaluates public stock recommendations made by financial analysts and financial bloggers, then ranks those experts based on their accuracy and performance.
    • ForceRank – ForceRank is a smartphone application in which users can see how other users have ranked certain stocks.
    • SumZero – SumZero aggregates buy-side research and then ranks analysts on their previous success. The site also offers tools for career advancement as well as tools to help fund managers raise capital.

Model Portfolios
  • Free
  • Premium
    • endorsed Portfolio123– “Smart Alpha” (formerly “Ready-to-Go”) Portfolios offers retail investors access to algorithmic stock picks which have been derived from users’ P123 portfolios.
    • Motif Investing
    • Wealth Front – Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, is the chief economist behind Wealth Front. Wealth Front’s premise is similar to John Bogle’s premise for founding Vanguard, albeit tinged with a bit more automation. Burt assures us, however, that there are a cadre of very bright people behind the automated decision making.
    • Betterment
    • Hedgeable
    • FolioInvesting
    • Covestor
    • Hedge Covest

Economic Indicators
  • Free
  • Premium
    • iMarketSignals – Fellow Portfolio123 enthusiasts Georg and Anton Vrba are the architects of iMarketSignals. Their service offers several econometric market timing and stock rating systems which — the brothers claim — can lead to more efficient compounding of capital over time. The thesis for market timing is that certain macro-economic indicators contain information about future returns of various asset classes. The “correct” interpretation of these empirical signals may lead to more efficient capital allocation. Admittedly, I am not a strong believer in market timing, but if anyone can do it, Georg — who I personally attest as incredibly bright and data-driven — stands a good shot. Its fund ratings are based mainly on asset class momentum and expense-efficiency data for ETFs and mutual funds. Its stock rating systems typical pick the 8 or 9 most highly rated securities within one of several stock universes.
    • ShadowStats – John Williams has operated this site on “shadow government statistics” for several years. The premise is intriguing. Williams alleges that the US federal government, traditional economists, and the media choose to highlight certain economic statistics which are “self-normalizing” and based on “moving goal posts”. Self-normalizing models — i.e, those which tend to mean revert over time — may be not be out-and-out fraud, yet allegedly paint a rosier narrative than what the raw data actually suggests. This is not a controversial shortcoming of standard metrics. Williams also alleges that government officials purposefully manipulate the quality of the data by changing definitions of what is to be measured over time. The allegation of concerted and methodical manipulation is controversial — are government economists constantly tweaking their models in order to more closely reflect reality or obscure the truth? Whatever their intent might be, I believe it is in the interest of conservatism to abide by wisdom of yore: “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics”. In order to offset the shortcomings of conventional economic data points, Williams provides alternative econometric data points which intend to provide unique information not captured within BLS metrics as well as paint a more objective picture of underlying economic conditions.

Data

Fundamental Financial Data
  • Free
    • approved Damodoran Online – Aswath Damodoran hosts valuable tools, data, and research publications on his site. He teaches at the Stern School of Business at New York University from whence he is regarded as a leading authority on valuation.
  • Premium
    • endorsed CompuStat (S&P Capital IQ) – Compustat offers what I believe to be the highest value instutional-level fundamental financial data. The data standardization methodology is unique and robust (on the order of 1000 pages of business rules). Compustat’s long term competitive edge is cemented by the fact that universities, like UPenn’s Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), are heavily invested in utilizing the data for research. This, of course, means that finance students (i.e., future financial professionals) are heavily steeped in the pedigree and reliability of this data.
    • endorsed Quandl – Quandl has long offered stock market and fundamental equities data. Quandl’s move to premium (curated) data sets responds to concerns about data over-proliferation and quality control. In addition, Quandl has begun to offer premium commodities data, including robust and verbose methodologies for querying continuous futures data.
    • American Assocation of Individuals Investors (AAII) – Great bargains on fundamental data and a powerful stock screener.

Other Fundamental Data
  • Insiders
    • endorsed EDGAR (SEC) – Specifically, investors would search for SEC “Form-4” to search for insider trades which contain information about insider beliefs.
    • Insider Monkey
    • Canadian Insider – Insider transactions within non-US exchanges (even if shares are traded within United States) are reported to different authorities, if any.
  • Short Interest and Regulation “SHO” Threshold Securities
  • Institutional
    • endorsed EDGAR (SEC) – Specifically, investors would search for SEC Forms 13-F, and 13G/D.
    • approved Whale Wisdom – Whale Wisdom offers a modern and intuitive interface for navigating SEC Forms 4, 13-F, and Schedules 13G/D (statements of beneficial ownership). This has the potential to be a particularly powerful research tool for those wanting to conduct their “guru” research.

Macroeconomic Data
  • Free
    • endorsed Quandl – Quandl seeks to democratize (i.e., commoditize?) data. The web platform is pretty basic, but there’s a hidden amount of versatility which is unlocked through the web API — API scripts for querying are available for most quantitative languages. On the downside, Quandl has almost too much data. Founder, Tammer Kamel, has responded by introducing premium data sets.
    • approved Multpl.com – Multpl is a fantastic tool for assessing the market’s (i.e., S&P 500’s) relative valuation through the cycles. S&P 500 data-sets include: Shiller PE Ratio; price to sales ratio; price to book value; earnings yield; S&P 500 Earnings; and more.
    • Robert Shiller Data Repository – Includes links to: Yale School of Management’s Stock Market Confidence Indexes; Shiller Cyclically Adjusted Price-to-Earnings (CAPE-10) data; US housing price indices from 1890; long term inflationary and consumption data; and more.
    • St. Louis Fed – Essential resource for macro-economic data.
    • Federal Reserve Data – Essential data sets on numerous facets of interest.
    • Federal Reserve DDP – The same data sets as above with enhanced ability to perform bulk queries.
    • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data – Primary source for the often cited and misunderstood US unemployment and inflation indices. Also sources numerous other statistics.
  • Premium

Estimates & Earnings
  • Free
    • approved Estimize – Estimize is hybrid social media and crowd-sourcing platform which sources user’s projections on comany earnings (and now macro-economic data). Estimize cites peer-reviewed research which shows that its consensus estimates are more accurate and possess greater alpha content than Wall Street’s estimates… we’ll see how long that lasts.
    • TipRanks – TipRanks offers access to numerous analysts’ projections.
  • Premium

Market Sentiment
  • Free
    • approved Yale Confidence Index – “The Investor Behavior Project at Yale University, under the direction of Professor Robert Shiller since its beginning and now under the auspices of the Yale International Center for Finance, has been collecting questionnaire survey data on the behavior of US investors since 1984.”
    • AAII Sentiment Survery
    • CNN Fear & Greed Index
    • University of Michigan Survey of Consumers – The UofM Survey contains indices for consumer sentiment, current economic conditions, and consumer expectations. Noteworthy is the fact that two of these indices are forward looking indicators. The survey is best known, however, for its survey of expected inflation rates (which functions as an input parameter to many financial models).
  • Premium
    • approved SentimentTrader – SentimentTrader is a premium repository for sentiment research and indicators. When I had previously subscribed, my mind was blown as to how many indicators were available. Some of the indicators were probably good, but some were, in my mind, spurious. I am not doubtful of sentiment’s importance in setting asset prices, but it just seems like a reach to assume that deterministic indicators can reliably and quantitatively differentiate the wisdom of crowds from the madness of the mob.

Specialty Data
  • Free
    • ActiveShare – “Active Share is the percentage of fund holdings that is different from the benchmark holdings… Active Share is not a measure of skill but rather measures how different the fund’s holdings are relative to the holdings of the particular benchmark considered. Any difference in performance can only come from fund positions that are different from the benchmark positions, i.e., that are ‘active’, and for any given fund, higher Active Share could lead to either underperformance or outperformance. Research has shown that as a group and over fairly long periods of time… funds with high Active Shares have tended to outperform their benchmarks net of costs…”
  • Premium
    • Quandl Alternative Data – Mentioned elsewhere, Quandl ventured into the realm of premium data-sets in order to focus in on the high-value data sets (vice getting lost in oceans of data). Almost by natural extension, founder Tamer Kamel has begun to provide “alternative data sets” which promise to deliver unique insights.
    • Sentieo – Sentieo is an alternative research platform which capitalizes on advances in unstructured data, social media, and sentiment analytics in order to locate, deliver, and ultimately exploit unique sources of alpha.
    • Preqin – Preqin manages data and intelligence related to alternative asset management and sector allocation.
    • Mergerize – Mergerize crowdsources predictions on mergers and acquisitions; launched by Estimize in 2014.

Financial News and Analysis

Investment Research
  • Free
    • endorsed SeekingAlpha – There’s not much I can add to SeekingAlpha’s glowing reputation which allows professionals and enthusiasts to battle it out on an “editorially” level playing ground.
    • approved FinViz – FinViz offers visually stunning market analytics. In addition, it has recently expanded it offerings to include a broad array of tools such as screeners, model portfolios, insider transaction searches, and even strategy backtests. FinViz also aggregates from an impressive array of sources such as: GuruFocus.com; Morningstar; OilPrice.com; Zacks; Reuters; MarketWired; AP; RigZone; MarketRealist; MotleyFool; Bloomberg;  24/7 Wall St.; Investopedia; Yahoo! Finance; Barron’s; CNBC; Financial Times; TheStreet.com; Wall Street Journal; CNBC; Moody’s; and more.
    • Benzinga – Benzinga merits mentions as a news aggregator, a purveyor of original content, the sponsor of the Benzinga FinTech Awards, and a data provider. Benzinga’s financial and social data API offerings are perhaps the most interesting aspects of the company. In particular, the data “playground” data-sets showcase innovative data providers and aggregators.
  • Premium

Specialty Investing Resources and Analysis
General Financial News and Content

Forums and Social Media

Social Platforms
  • endorsed Seeking Alpha StockTalks – Not that StockTalks is significantly differentiated as a stand-alone social platform, but it is integrated within my favorite overall platform.
  • InvestorVillage – Investor Village provides both a bulletin board community and a social (tweet-based) platform. Reputable sources report that premium research from major buy and sell-side houses are passed around InvestorVillage channels.
  • StockTwits – StockTwits has become a popular social media outlet. As the name suggests, it is based around users providing short, tagged blurbs which usually link to outside articles and research.
  • Yahoo! Finance Conversations – Yahoo! Finace is leveraging its large legacy user-base to provide a modernized social investment platform. The current interface is inherently ticker specific… would be nice to add thematic queries.
  • Scutify – Scutify is a relative new-comer which differentiates itself by adding social analytics to a tweet-based platform. Scutify’s innovative analytic capabilities which allow users to generate and explore real-time social sentiment analytics should put Scutify in the acqusitive cross-hairs of larger outlets.

Investing Fora
  • endorsed Wall Street Oasis – Wall Street Oasis’ brand is career placement and advancement within the buyside investing community (i.e., investment banks, hedge funds, private equity, et cetera). I’ve found that the educational resources can be very good, but the reason I keep coming back is for the active forums.
  • endorsed Portfolio123 – Although paid subscription is required to access P123, just the forums themselves may be worth the price of admission. They are just so relevant, diverse, and active.
  • approved Motley Fool Caps and Discussion Boards – I am not an active member of Motley Fool’s communities, but I do have immense respect for the brand and the guiding philosophy.
  • Morningstar’s Socailize Platform – Threads on Morningstar’s discussion fora appear to be diverse and active. This is probably worth checking out.
  • AnalystForum – An active forum geared towards chartered financial analyst, particularly CFA and CAIA Charterholders.
  • Bogleheads – This forum is built around the ideas of Vanguard’s founder, Jack Bogle. Bogle espouses the idea that because the market is (largely) efficient, most (~99%) people are better suited by passively managed investments, and by making “smart” choices with regards to saving, tax efficiency, and financial lifestyles.
  • ADVFN Investor’s Hub – I was surprised to see how active and popular this community was ranked according to SimilarWeb and Alexa.
  • InvestorVillage – Investor’s Village provides both a bulletin board community and a social (tweet-based platform). Reputable sources report that premium research from major buy and sell-side houses are passed around InvestorVillage channels.

Value Investing Fora
  • approved The Investor’s Podcast Forums – The Investor’s Podcast is easily one of my favorite podcasts (I subscribe to a lot of podcasts). Preston Pysh and Stig Brodersen are on-point — the interviews are almost always relevant and can even be outright sublime. Their website’s forum has attracted a vibrant and active value investing community. I am not surprised.
  • Value Investor’s Club – The Value Investor’s Club (i.e., VIC) is sort of hybrid forum and a long standing favorite among the value community. The secret formula, I’ve decided, is its exclusivity which compels members to post investment research with meets certain editorial standards in order to maintain access to other members’ new investing ideas.
  • Corner of Berkshire and Fairfax
  • Reddit Security Analysis

Quantitative Finance Fora
  • endorsed Stack Exchange: Quantitative Finance – I’ve found that if the answers are not on Wikipedia, then someone else has probably asked the same question. The first stop is for technical questions is Stack Exchange — where the quant finance community is especially active.
  • QuantNet Forums – QuantNet is directed mostly at professional quants, especially those who have earned or who intend to earn a Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE). The site’s offerings include active forums, online courses, and MFE program rankings. The forums appear heavily oriented towards algorithm development and programming queries.
  • Wilmott Finance – Paul Wilmott, author of several well reputed books on quantitative finance, and progenitor of the Certificate of Quantitative Finance (CQF), also operates this site replete with frequently updated blog posts, forums, and jobs postings. The “Wilmott” brand carries significant weight within the quant finance community.
  • NuclearPhynance – NuclearPhynace is a straightforward and popular forum for quant finance, appealing most strongly to quant traders and modellers.

Value Investing Resources‡

  • Free
    • approved Damodoran Online – Aswath Damodoran hosts valuable tools, data, and research publications on his site. He teaches at the Stern School of Business at New York University from whence he is regarded as a leading authority on valuation.
    • Value Walk – This site hosts a lot of curated and sponsored content, but littered throughout are valuable — and sometimes original — resources. Of note, this site collects and maintains investor letters from quite a few hedge funds — perhaps a unique fount of ideas.
    • Graham and Doddsville — a repository for value investing resources. Some of resources are a bit dated, but there is still a bit value sprinkled throughout.
  • Premium
    • approved Guru Focus – GuruFocus is a popular platform among value investors for accessing analytical reports and performing your own.
    • Validea – Validea is a good resource for determining the investment criteria of great investors… or at least someone’s rules-based interpretation.
    • Real Vision TV – A service which provides video interviews with well known investors.
    • Value Investor’s Club – The Value Investor’s Club (i.e., VIC) is sort of hybrid forum and a long standing favorite among the value community. The secret formula, I’ve decided, is its exclusivity which compels members to post investment research with meets certain editorial standards in order to maintain access to other members’ new investing ideas.
    • New Constructs – Algorithmic investment screens and stock picks based on value investing principles.
    • Value Line – Valued Line was founded by Arnold Bernhard in 1931. Through its storied past, several great investors have relied upon Value Line for research and analysis.

Quant Finance Resources

  • Free
    • endorsed Stack Exchange: Quantitative Finance – I’ve found that if the answers are not on Wikipedia, then someone else has probably asked the same question. The first stop is for technical questions is Stack Exchange — where the quant finance community is especially active.
    • John Hull’s website – Uinversity of Toronto professor, John C. Hull is author of the quant finance “bible”, Options, Futures and Other Deirivatives, now in its 10th edition. The only negative criticism I’ve heard of John Hull’s work is that it is oriented towards “MBAs” vice mathematicians.
    • AQR Research Library – Cliff Asness’ firm, AQR Capital Management, is a well known for employing quantitative investment strategies. The research library contains data-sets of simulated returns from quantitative factors, journal articles, and more.
    • Kenneth French’s Data Library – Kenneth French host a data library containing many renditions of the Fama-French factors across all types of markets. This is a useful stop for those asking the question, “what drives equity returns in x or y market?”
  • Premium
    • endorsed QuantPedia – A tremendous resource which has compiled an exhaustive database of financial anomalies. Anomalies are methodically categorized and cited with academic research. For serious quantiative researchers, I strongly believe that the several hundred dollar price tag is very reasonable.
    • approved Quantopian – Quantopian is a very interesting concept. The premise is to provide traders access to a pre-built algorithmic trading library through a Python interface and build a community around the open exchange of ideas and strategies.
    • approved Bionic Turtle – David Gardner’s resource for the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) accreditation preparation. This site has fantastic information for those who are even just generally interested in quantitative finance.
    • Quantiacs – Quantiacs offers standarized trading libraries in both Python and Matlab and an online marketplace for exchanging and marketing various algorithms developed through its libraries. In addition, Quantiacs offers sizable investments into top algorithms.
    • QuantConnect – I recently discovered QuantConnect through a search engine query. I was immediately impressed by the premise having an open interface, called LEAN, which supports C#, Python and F# programming languages. I was even more intruiged by its offering of curated fundamental and technical data for multiple types of asset class. This data-based offering plugs, what I feel is, a gap in similar offerings. Anyway, I have yet to play around so I can neither condone or condemn at this point.
    • Wilmott Finance – Paul Wilmott, author of several well reputed books on quantitative finance, and progenitor of the Certificate of Quantitative Finance (CQF), also operates this site replete with frequently updated blog posts, forums, and jobs postings. The “Wilmott” brand carries significant weight within the quant finance community.
    • QuantNet – QuantNet is directed mostly at professional quants, especially those who have earned or who intend to earn a Master’s in Financial Engineering (MFE). The site’s offerings include active forums, online courses, and MFE program rankings. The site currently offers two premium online courses for C++

Software

Analysis Tools / Scripting Software
  • Free
  • Premium
    • endorsed Excel
    • endorsed Wolfram Mathematica – Mathematica is Wolfram’s flagship offering for symbolic and numerical analysis. Having previously been a MatLab user, I recently tried out a trial of Mathematica. I was instantly converted — I was able to use it right out of the box without any training. While MatLab is much more robust in terms of discrete math, it is also far more expensive. Toolkits which expand Matlab’s capabilities are also quite pricy. What it might lack in brute force, Mathematica makes up for in elegance. Mathematica is much more powerful as a symbolic toolkit and its integration with Wolfram Cloud and Wolfram Alpha powerfully extends the program’s capabilities.
    • endorsed Matlab
    • endorsed Enthought Python

Financial Data APIs
  • Free
    • endorsed Quandl – Quandl seeks to democratize and commoditize data. The web platform is pretty basic, but there’s a hidden amount of versatility which is unlocked through the web API — API scripts for querying are available for most quantitative languages. On the downside, Quandl has almost too much data. Founder, Tammer Kamel, has responded by introducing premium data sets.
    • approved SMF Excel Add-in – SMF is an excel add-in which provides powerful tools and algorithms for pulling financial data from the web. These include prebuilt API functions as well as powerful web-scraping tool. The add-in has spawned an amazingly active online community. For a free tool, this is about as open and powerful as you can get.
    • Benzinga – Benzinga merits mentions as a news aggregator, a purveyor of original content, the sponsor of the Benzinga FinTech Awards, and a data provider. Benzinga’s financial and social data API offerings are perhaps the most interesting aspects of the company. In particular, the data “playground” data-sets showcase innovative data providers and aggregators.
    • StockPup – StockPup is actually a pretty amazing no-cost web service which standardizes key financial metrics for many large publicly traded companies. These metrics are additionally downloaded as spreadsheets.
  • Premium
    • endorsed Quandl Premium Data – Quandl also features many premium data sets such as continuous futures, equity fundamental data, and more.
    • approved XLQ – XLQ like the paid version of SMF. In return for money, you get professional support and code that is professionally debugged (vice debugged by an online community of users). A major selling point of XLQ is that it uses an RDBMS to cache the data — this saves a tremendous amount of bandwidth and system resources, especially if Excel models become large.
    • q (Kx Systems)
    • EDGR I-Metrix
    • FetchXL

RDBMS

Quantitative Source Code
  • Free
    • endorsed GNU Scientific Library and GNU Scientific Library for Excel
    • approved ALGLIB
    • QuantLib – QuantLib has been around for years as a “free/open-source library for quantitative finance”. Originally, it was written in C++ only, so I never used it (and therefore cannot endorse or recommend it). But since, it has been ported to a variety of other languages such as “C#, Objective Caml, Java, Perl, Python, GNU R, Ruby, and Scheme”. It also now has an Excel add-in. I will evaluate this further if/when I find some time.


If you feel that I’ve neglected an essential resource, or have somehow over or under-rated any of the aforesaid, please reach out with your feedback…


† I removed all personal blogs from this list and intend to post them elsewhere as feeds.

‡ See “Finance & Investing Forums” for information on value investing fora.