Richard Greenfield, managing director and lead entertainment analyst at investment research firm Fulcrum Global Partners in New York, has been covering entertainment-related companies since 1995 and has seen more than his fair share of industry trends, consolidation waves and cyclical downturns.
At the age of 31, Mr. Greenfield is a seasoned media analyst.
Even before he began his professional career, Mr. Greenfield had his fingers in the entertainment business. “I was always fascinated by the sector, and I always had an interest in entertainment,” he said.
Long a fan of radio, television and music, Mr. Greenfield got his first taste of the media business while studying at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and going to work for Brandeis station WBRS-FM. Mr. Greenfield wore several hats at the station, serving as a sports broadcaster, a business manager and ultimately a general manager.
The interest in media continued after he graduated magna cum laude in 1995 with a history degree. Within weeks he was working at investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he began his coverage of media stocks of such companies as News Corp., Time Warner and Viacom under the tutelage of Richard Simon, a veteran media analyst. Mr. Greenfield started out as a financial analyst before being named a VP in June 2000. He left Goldman in March 2003 for Fulcrum, where he became a managing director.
Despite his meteoric rise and the market-moving power he wields with his buy-and-sell ratings of stocks such as Comcast, Viacom and News Corp., Mr. Greenfield said his work as an analyst speaks to any suggestions that he’s too green for his job.
“I don’t think about [age],” he said. ” That I’m in my 10th year covering the sector … is an advantage when dealing with management. Very few analysts today have covered the media sector for 10 years or more.
“My priorities are getting the stock calls right, providing help to Fulcrum clients and having fun,” he said.
Indeed, having fun is something Mr. Greenfield sees as an essential ingredient for his job. So is the willingness to challenge market consensus, particularly when most analysts appear to be engaging in “group think.”
Mr. Greenfield stepped away from the crowd a while back to question the long-term growth prospects of The Walt Disney Co. at a time when few were so critical. He was also a lone voice more than a year ago when he raised questions about Viacom’s ability to meet its full-year estimates (he has since warmed to Viacom’s stock).
Now he admits he is “not a big fan” of Liberty Media at a time when other analysts have been more inclined to cut the John Malone-controlled company some slack. Yet even before heaping praise on News Corp. was in vogue, Mr. Greenfield was a major advocate of that stock.
His boss is happy with the results. Robert Hoehn, Fulcrum’s director of research, said that while Mr. Greenfield may be younger than some of his counterparts at other Wall Street firms, he can run with the best of them. In addition, Mr. Hoehn said, Mr. Greenfield’s age could be a benefit.
“In our business, it’s a young person’s game,” Mr. Hoehn said. “There are not a lot of 50-year-old analysts. Rich has a great deal of experience, and when you’re good, you’re good.”