Insights from Equity Research Rising Stars Will Nance and Corinne Jenkins
Business Insider recently named Will Nance and Corinne Jenkins, vice presidents in Goldman Sachs’ Global Investment Research (GIR) Division, to their Rising Stars of Equity Research list. We caught up with Will and Corinne about their career experiences and discussed their work in evaluating the changing landscapes of transformational industries like digital payments and biotech.
How did you get your start in equity research?
Will: I’ve been in equity research my entire nine-year career. My first role in research was as an intern at another firm in 2012 on their oil and gas team. After almost two years I had the opportunity to come to Goldman as an analyst, where I have been ever since. I have been fortunate enough to cover several different sectors from banks, to brokers, to credit card issuers — until more recently when I had the opportunity to pick up coverage of the payments sector.
Corinne: I was introduced to equity research through my involvement with my campus investment group at the University of Alabama. I was able to learn more about equity research and navigate the interview process for a summer internship and joined full-time in 2016. I started on the Machinery team in GIR, learning about financial modeling, managing client relationships and how to be willing to take on a contrarian view. In 2018 I made the switch to biotech and have been working in this group ever since.
Can you describe your focus area and what fascinates you most about it?
Will: Payments sits at the convergence of financial services and technology. That intersection is what makes the space so dynamic. Payments is highly technical and full of idiosyncratic market structure; it requires full understanding of the entire ecosystem of merchants, consumers and banks to be able to see the big picture. There is so much innovation in payments and it’s growing much faster than traditional financial services. It’s the dynamism of the payments space that I find so exciting.
Corinne: I cover small to mid-size companies in the biotech sector, which includes companies with drugs in the clinical stage of development and those that are in commercial stage and approved for use. They can be drugs for narcolepsy to Alzheimer’s disease to certain types of cancer. My coverage universe is roughly 50% commercial-stage, where the investor debate is primarily on the size of the market opportunity for a drug. The other half of my coverage is clinical stage, where we care about the size of the market opportunity but are most focused on where the drug will work or not—as defined by better patient outcomes than currently available options. Biotech is an inherently interesting sector given the technical complexity of the products and businesses, as well as their impact on people’s lives. As someone who doesn’t have a science background, I am perpetually astounded by what scientists now know about the workings of the human body.
Will, what digital trends do you see impacting your coverage? Is your research influenced by a more digitally adept generation of consumers?
Will: In some ways the electronification of payments is one of the oldest digital trends in the world.
Globally less than 50% of consumer spending is moving over the credit and debit card rails, and that number has been steadily increasing for the last 30+ years. That trend really isn’t slowing down, and it is what allows payments companies to outgrow GDP over a long period of time. Software companies and self-serve models are replacing physical distribution in payments in the same way that Netflix replaced Blockbuster. Digitization has had a profound impact on the way that payments companies go to market and creates a challenge for incumbent companies.
There are numerous examples of the younger generation impacting the status quo. Digitally native consumers are much more likely to go to a fintech for financial services than older generations. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the incumbents will be able to improve their customer experience in time—before the newer entrants are able to obtain a critical mass of scale.
Corinne, what are some of the most interesting technologies or trends emerging in biotech?
Corinne: One that I find particularly interesting is targeted protein degradation—basically, drugs that break down proteins that are effectively misbehaving. We’re still in the early days of the technology, but it may expand the number of potentially targetable proteins and therefore diseases for treatment compared to existing modalities.
What is most rewarding about working in Global Investment Research at Goldman Sachs?
Will: When I came here, one of the biggest things that struck me was the level of collaboration. GIR does a good job sharing insights across teams, and it happens in different ways: sometimes it's cross-sector, cross-geographies or across asset class. It makes the research process here better and provides a more multifaceted product to our clients.
From a client-facing perspective, one of the most rewarding parts of the job is the exposure you get to some of the smartest investors in the world. Every day I have the opportunity to speak to some of the best connected, most well-informed people on the street.
Corinne: While I think the job of senior analyst is really cool — I joke that I get paid to have an opinion, and I have a lot — the number one reason I stay in GIR at Goldman Sachs is the people. There are a number of people within the division who I consider both mentors and friends, and this has proven true through challenges both personally and professionally. It has been wonderful to know that when I come to work I have a supportive network of people who are in my corner, who want me to be successful and who I can count on to advise me through challenges that come my way.