Fix the Pitch

How to craft compelling, dazzling pitchbooks. Thoughts, ideas, and inspiration to help construct advanced financial analysis, build stunning data visualizations and tips for mastering client meetings.

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Explore helpful mathematical approaches and advanced financial analysis for clearer, more meaningful pitchbooks

Shareholder payout cannot directly plug TSR shortfalls

Why recommending a dividend hike to improve share price performance is a bad idea. A couple years ago I was asked to help in an assignment where the client was unhappy with the performance of its share pr…

Eric RattnerEric Rattner

The case against terminal multiples

When building a discounted cashflow model, both common modeling approaches are wrong. But one happens to be useful. “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful” George E. P. Box, British mathemati…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

When to exclude a subject company from an analysis. And when to not

When bankers should exclude the subject company's data from an analysis. From time to time, I disagree with some standard banking analytical practice or other. Ok, quite a few standard banking analytical prac…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

Why you should think twice about adding aggregates to stacked benchmarking charts

Why adding summary stat overlays to stacked benchmarking charts gets tricky. Bankers love to benchmark. Or at least this can be assumed based on the number of benchmarking charts in a pitchbook. Comparing a d…

Eric RattnerEric Rattner

Correlation matrices have to be what now?

Avoid explaining the mathematical theory of eigenvalues and positive definite matrices by giving a finance answer. Talking about eigenvalues in a client meeting is asking for trouble because the mathematical…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

Why bankers think they scrub numbers. And why they actually do

Scrubbing numbers isn't just for standardizing data or learning the ropes. Scrubbing numbers is an important and expensive activity, necessary to the work of an investment banker. First, there is the fee ban…

Adrian CrockettAdrian Crockett

When to use positive-negative in financial modeling

The pros and cons of positive-positive and positive-negative in financial modeling. In finance, it’s often meekly agreed upon that everyone is right. “Well yes, of course, circumstance dependent, both approac…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

Share repurchases: Don’t shoot the executioner

If the treasury team had the ability to predict future share prices, I'm pretty sure they would work somewhere else. A company’s decision to repurchase shares doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a strategic move t…

Adrian CrockettAdrian Crockett

Is your risk management strategy imaginary?

A lot of time is spent on risk modeling, but more time needs to be spent on the underlying correlation assumptions. If you’re a homeowner, and you want to be well-diversified against the risk of nowhere to li…

Adrian CrockettAdrian Crockett

Explaining diversification and hedging to clients

Talking about risk management in terms of home ownership, sprinkler systems, and alarms. Risk management is an area of finance that you’re probably familiar with. It’s about identifying threats and figuring o…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

Comps analysis: The missing harmony of summary statistics

Answering the question, “How is the company performing?” by using smarter summary stats. A comps analysis has two chief purposes. The first is to look at individual company performance and the second is to b…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

It’s election time. Will there be a spike in special dividends?

Presidential election season is in full swing. What could this mean for special dividend declarations? The re-emergence of Sarah Palin and her run-on sentences means presidential election season is in full sw…

Adrian CrockettAdrian Crockett

Dear P/E, it’s not me. It’s definitely you

As a comparison ratio, price/earnings is confusing, results in non-meaningful data, and is not intuitive. Here is something much better. I don’t know why, but there is a surprising lack of coverage on why pr…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

Stop confusing clients with weighted averages

When spreading comp ratios, use an aggregate instead of a weighted average to account for company size. Occasionally in client meetings, something happens that I like to call “Sudden Onset Confusion Syndrome”…

Jamie BallingallJamie Ballingall

Will the cost benefit of floating-rate funding continue if the Fed acts?

What would a tightening of credit mean for interest rate swap payouts? Bloomberg Business reports that futures traders think there is a 70% chance the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates this week.…

Adrian CrockettAdrian Crockett