Product Review: Sentieo
Note: We were granted a complimentary subscription to Sentieo to enable us to review their service.
Sentieo is a web-based information service that combines data on companies worldwide along with a variety of software applications that allow financial professionals to analyze company fundamentals, build financial models, screen for investment ideas, and execute other financial research tasks.
Sentieo is a relatively new player in the game, have opened for business about 1.5 years ago. As the underdog in its competition with CapitalIQ and other rivals, Sentieo reminds me a bit of Avis in its old ad campaign. Avis acknowledged being #2 to Hertz but argued that its status as the scrappy underdog made them try harder and customers benefitted. Similarly, Sentieo, in its bid to take on the 900-pound gorilla of the industry is entrepreneurial, innovative and highly responsive.
The centerpiece of the service is the Equity Data Terminal. This is where I begin my fundamental research on a company. In one screen it provides most of the information you will need on a given company, including financial models,SEC documents, earnings call transcripts, significant holders and stock price information.
I usually start by exporting data to put together 10 years of Income Statements, Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Statements to Excel. I used to enter each number manually from the SEC filings on Edgar. Sentieo makes it easy to export 1-3 years of data at a time. This is an enormous timesaver. Sentieo also offers prepopulated historical financial models. Because of my own idiosyncrasies, while this would save even more time, I preferred the increased ability to manipulate data in Excel. The Sentieo model also combines some lines items while I prefer all of the details.
The “Time Series” function is another great timesaver. It allows me to export key metrics on a quarterly basis from SEC filings in an automated fashion rather than manual entering the numbers one at a time. For example, the data behind the net charge-off rate and percentage of loans re-aged data found here was pulled in seconds from 60 quarters of filings via the Time Series function.
If I am still interested in a company after looking at the numbers, I then dive into the SEC filings, earnings call transcripts and investor presentations. This is one of my favorite parts of the Sentieo service. Sentieo allows me to run a single search against all of these document types. So, for example, when I discovered that CONN was engaging in a questionable accounting practice they call “account combination,” I was able to quickly search to see each time they had disclosed engaging in this practice.
But, the document search is not limited to one company at a time. You can search across the entire universe of public companies. For example, when researching SYF, I was able to search earnings call transcripts of retail companies to find their views on loyalty credit cards and the impact on their business.
At this point, if I am still interested in the company, I turn to the “News & Social Info.” The collected tweets are particularly useful. Sentieo does a great job of separating the wheat from the chaff when curating tweets. I have a found a number of useful articles through the Twitter function.
The “Holders” function is also interesting. I can quickly see the main institutional holders of the company of interest. A nice feature is that Sentieo allows you to drill down and see what other stocks the investor holds. I have gotten several investment ideas by looking at other holdings of investors with whom I share an investing philosophy.
Beyond these considerations, Sentieo is very entrepreneurial and focused on customer service. For example, I am not the most computer savvy person out there. But, the service provided by the Sentieo help desk is nothing less than exemplary. They are extremely helpful and very responsive.
Further, Senteo is also always rolling out new improvements. Often when I log on, I am surprised to see another new tool. And they do a great job explaining how to use the new tools. Check out the Sentieo blog:
All in all, I found that Sentieo provides everything we need, none of the bells and whistles we don’t need and even surprised us with some features we didn’t know we needed. In any case, you don’t have to take my word for it. Sentieo makes it easy to sign up for a free trial. Try it when you get a chance.