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Introduction to the Research Desktop

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Introduction to the Equity Research Desktop

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May 2001 eCommerce Training

Summer Orientation – 2001
An Introduction to the Research Desktop


Introduction to Merrill Lynch Research Desktop Processes and Applications Introductions to Merrill Lynch Web-based Applications

Global Securities Research & Economics Group Global Fundamental Equity Research Department © Copyright 2001 Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.

Summer Orientation – 2001

 Section Merrill Lynch Research Products Merlyn Template Merlyn Toolbar Style Buttons Table Formatter & Flexi-Table Formatter Smart Charts GRIS Outlook/MS Office SmartCatalog Research Training Website HelpDesk 1. Bulletins, Comments & In-Depth Reports Page 3

2. 3.

5 6

4. 5. 6. How to GRIS A Research Document 7. 8.

7 8 9 13 17 19 20


Summer Orientation – 2001

1. Merrill Lynch Research Products
Merrill Lynch has three main research products: bulletins, comments and indepth reports. Each has a function and timing criteria that determines how fast the information is released. All Merrill Lynch’s research is submitted through a system called GRIS (Global Research Information System) that manages where and how ML research is distributed electronically. Our products are time dependant, and GRIS handles the document storage while the information is being prepared for public distribution. Below is a brief outline of the product types and the processing through the GRIS system.

Bulletins A bulletin is a two-page report formatted in two-columns so analysts get information out quickly.
Bulletins are Merrill Lynch’s fastest research vehicles for getting information out to clients and the public. A bulletin is a two-page report formatted in two-columns. Information such as a company reporting its earnings or a rating change by the analyst are typically released as bulletins. Bulletins do not contain charts and are only allowed to have small tables. Bulletins are required to go through the GRIS Table Scan process to make sure that any table you do insert can be sent out on the wire to the text vendors that Merrill Lynch uses (eg Bloomberg and First Call). Bulletins do not get printed in hardcopy and can be done for companies or industries.

Comments A comment lets the analyst do a more thorough reporting on the events that inspired the bulletin.
Comments are four-page reports formatted in two-columns. Comments typically contain the same information as Bulletins; however, they include more information about the bulletin subject. Comments can have more descriptive text, charts and usually have earnings models for company related documents. Comments must also pass a GRIS Table Scan to be released to the public. Comments can also be written about companies or industries.

In-depth Reports An in-depth report is a full length document that fully covers a company or industry.
In-depth reports are the longest research products we produce. They run anywhere from 6 pages (4 pages for Fixed Income) to 124 for reports intended for GRIS. Reports larger than 124 pages can be printed, but they can’t be put through GRIS in the usual manner. In-depth reports cover the entire range of text, chart and table formatting, and they are the most complex of the three pieces to produce. In-depth reports commonly take a couple of days before being released because Compliance makes text changes and Research Publications makes any layout changes necessary. In-depth reports are in a one-column format that spans two-thirds of the page. Indepth reports do not need to pass a GRIS Table Scan, and they can be based on either a company or industry.


Summer Orientation – 2001

Merrill Lynch Research Products
GRIS Table Scan Yes Paneled Tables No Page Length 2 pages Hard copy No GRIS Submits to Whom Compliance Time From Submission to Other Release Notes Fast – Typically produced for fast a few hours announcements (eg, earnings releases, opinion changes). Fast – Can have large tables such as a few hours earnings models. Anywhere from hours to days depending on legal issues Covers whole range of text, chart and table layouts. A variant style called ―Glossy‖ can be used to put a picture on the cover.

Product Bulletins

Format 2 column

Charts No


2 column




4 pages Printed & Bound Daily 6-124 (GRIS) Yes



1 column




Research Publications

The Process – Quickly
When a bulletin is submitted through GRIS, it goes to Compliance where it is read and text edits are made. It is then released to the WPG (Word Processing Group) in Research Publications. Any required layout edits are made at this time by Research Publications, and then the file is released. At this point the file goes onto GRIS Browse and is distributed to the text vendors. It is also electronically emailed to Merrill Lynch clients who subscribe to research through a system called ―SmartCatalog‖ that we will cover later in this document. Comments are processed exactly the same way as bulletins. When in-depth reports are submitted, they are sent to Research Publications where it is logged so our outside printer knows it exists. It is then sent to Compliance, and layout changes are completed while waiting for Compliance’s text edits to come back. When those edits are incorporated into the document, the analyst is called to Research Publications for a final review of the document before its release to the public.


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2. Merlyn Template
Why a Template? The template automates many formatting and layout procedures for you.
Templates make things easier for you. The template automates many of the formatting and layout procedures for you to make your document look like a Merrill Lynch product. There is a definitive corporate branding that Merrill Lynch is trying to achieve by making all research products look similar. When clients see your document, they should automatically know it is a Merrill Lynch document. To achieve this, the template prompts you for all the information on the top of the cover of each document. All you have to do is type in the relevant text. Every heading in Merrill Lynch reports, such as the one at the top of this page, has a specific line and paragraph format that looks the same in every report.

The custom toolbar at the top of your document window is called the Merlyn toolbar

The heading at the top of this page is called a Heading 1. This style is always in 16 pt. Arial Bold and matches the color of the report. It also has a specific paragraph format that you probably have no interest in knowing. That last statement may be odd, but it’s also the very reason why we have a template and styles. Nobody expects analysts to know the exact measurements of every style, and yet we do want everything to match those styles. The easiest way to accommodate everyone is to automate the process as much as possible. When you use the Word Merlyn Template, there is a custom toolbar at the top of your document window that includes buttons for all major headings, margin options and regular paragraph text.  More reasons why the template is important The template is important for several additional reasons: 1. 2. When styled correctly, less time is needed to fix layout problems; this means the document will be ready for release quicker. The style formats allow the document to print double-spaced in Compliance. This is very important because it allows Compliance to write in their changes between the lines of text. Documents that can’t be double-spaced often get sent back to the analyst for styling. This adds to the time involved to get the piece released to the public. Submitting incorrectly formatted documents leaves style interpretation to the Research Publications staff. The staff is highly trained, however they can’t read your mind. If you meant to put a line as a Heading 2 and they put it as a Heading 3 or 4, the line’s meaning and importance may be lost on the reader. Making the necessary changes adds additional time to your document’s release. The styles and formats used were designed to be easy on the eye, and therefore make reports easier to read. People receive more and more research every day. They read the documents easiest to read before the more difficult ones—if they get to those at all. That’s why we use color, charts and tables; anything to break up the text to help the reader through the document.



 A Common Cause? Do you see the common thread in everything we’ve mentioned so far? TIMING IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! This can’t be stressed enough. Every obstacle in the path of your document that needs to be solved after you submit it adds time before your research is released. In the Information Age many people say the same thing, and what separates your research from others is getting it to your clients in a timely fashion.


Summer Orientation – 2001

3. Merlyn Toolbar Style Buttons (Heading 1)

Custom Toolbar
The toolbar pictured above is the Merlyn Toolbar. This toolbar consists of the most commonly used style buttons in the Merlyn Template. Below are examples of how the style looks after applying the styles. An important point to remember is that the headings are hierarchical in nature; which means they belong in a certain order. They are supposed to be used as sub-headings of each other. Heading 4 is always used after Heading 3. Similarly, Heading 3 is always used after Heading 2.

Main Topic
The Main Topic style is primarily used in comments and bulletins as the major heading of the section, just as Heading 1 is used exclusively in in-depth reports. Heading 1 – The Heading 1 style is always displayed at the top of a page, and if you attempt to style a line of text as a Heading 1 in the middle of a page, it would immediately jump to the top of the next page. Heading 1 is used exclusively in indepth reports.

Heading 2 Style
Two paragraphs marks make up Heading 2 style: the Heading 2 line and the Heading 2 text.

Each of these headings gets smaller in font size as you continue to sub-divide your topic.

 Heading 3 Style The Heading 3 style adds a colored square bullet at the beginning of the heading.

Heading 4 Style The Heading 4 style is bold-italics as opposed to just bold, and it has no other special markings.
Beneath each heading above is a line or two of text that is styled simply with the button labeled Text. The text style automatically adds space after the paragraph so hard returns are not needed to separate text anywhere in the report. If you receive a document that has hard returns between regular paragraph text, it is a good indicator that the document is not styled properly.


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4. Table Formatter & Flexi-table Formatter
We will demonstrate how to use the table formatter in an on-screen example. Below are some quick facts to remember about the table formatters.

Quick Facts
     Only copy the data and header rows of the table to be formatted. Use Paste Special as Formatted Text. Copy the title from the old table into the space provided by the formatter in the new table. Copy the source and other footnotes from the old table into the space provided by the table formatter in the new table. The Flexi-table Formatter is better applied to fixed income tables that have many columns of varied widths. The Table Formatter button is located on the extreme right of the custom toolbar.


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5. SmartCharts
SmartCharts allows you to create attractive charts from your Excel data, quickly and easily. SmartCharts automatically formats your charts using standardized colors and sizes, saving you valuable time. After you create a SmartChart in Excel, you can insert it into a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation. To access the SmartCharts toolbar in Excel, choose Toolbars from the View menu, and select SmartCharts. Create New Chart Change chart type Change chart color Labels points on a scatter chart Make a copy of a chart to paste into your report with a link to Excel

Convert an existing chart to a SmartChart

Change the chart size

Change the alignment of categories along axes

Make a copy of a chart to paste into your report


In Excel, prepare the data that you will use to create the chart:    Hide or delete any blank columns or rows in the data. Make sure column headings are consistent (eg, in the same row). If you are creating a scatter chart, data must be in columns, and labels must be immediately to the left of the data.


Select the data, excluding the chart title and any footnotes. If you are creating a scatter chart, do not highlight labels; highlight only the data for the chart. The labels will automatically be picked up by SmartChart, provided they are in the column immediately to the left of the data. On the SmartChart toolbar, click the Chart Wizard button. The SmartChart Wizard will appear. Select the application in which the chart will be used (Word or PowerPoint). Select the chart type from the drop-down list. Select the chart size from the drop-down list. If you use the chart in a Merrill Lynch report, choose the type of page that the chart will sit on. Select the color palette appropriate for your report, or select Highlight One Series. (You can’t select a color scheme if you will use the chart in PowerPoint.) Indicate whether or not you want a Legend and Gridlines. (You can’t select legends and gridlines if you create a pie or a scatter chart.) If you want data labels, check the Data Labels box and select Value or Label from the drop-down list to the right.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9.

10. Click OK. The wizard will create your chart and drop it onto your current Excel worksheet.


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After you complete the file layout, you send the file through GRIS.
The Global Research Information System (GRIS) is a proprietary Research application that gathers and distributes both Merrill Lynch (ML) proprietary statistical equity data (the Quality Rating Quotient (QRQ) and related figures) and ML text research (eg, bulletins, comments, models) created by ML analysts. The advantage that GRIS provides is to allows us to feed multiple electronic research delivery services from one document, delivering our research information in various formats (ASCII Text, PDF). GRIS securely registers analyst documents (composed in Word using approved Research Publication Merlyn templates) and routes them to Global Compliance for review.

The Beginning
When you intend to GRIS a Word document, make sure it is based on the latest version of the Merlyn template. If your file does not have this template attached, GRIS will not allow you to submit it. If your file is in an older version of the template, update the file by attaching the new Merlyn template. The Merlyn template styles should never be altered from their original style parameters. GRIS might not submit your file if the styles have been severely changed.

Analyst ID

 

Enter the proper ID in the Analyst ID box. At this point, it is a good idea to know exactly where the file you plan to GRIS is located on your hard drive.


Summer Orientation – 2001

Welcome to GRIS

GRIS Document Selection
After you click Analyst Panel, you will see the screen below.
Analyst ID

This screen lists all your jobs and their status. You are only offered two choices at this screen: Exit and New. Click New.


Summer Orientation – 2001

GRIS – Create a New Report Click the appropriate selections, then click OK
Analyst ID

In the example above, we are about to GRIS an Equity Security report. Because we chose an equity type, the Ticker button appears in the lower-left corner. If we choose Industry as the type, the Industry button would appear. Click the Ticker button to choose the ticker and simultaneously select the correct Exchange. Click the correct ticker, and then click OK.


Summer Orientation – 2001

Research Report: COMPANY – Author
Analyst ID

Attach the File on Your Hard Drive to GRIS If you encounter errors while attempting to GRIS a report, call your local GRIS administrator for help.
Follow these steps: 1. Type in the Sub-Title of the report. 2. Choose one of the Subject choices from the drop-down menu. 3. Type in the Current Price. 4. Be sure the Publish option is Yes. 5. Type in the tickers to be Symbol Referenced at the end of the report. On an industry or sector piece, be sure all the tickers that appear in your report are Symbol Referenced; it is very important. You are allowed to reference up to 60 tickers for a report. 6. Click Add Analysts. Analysts added to the report will be associated with the report through all types of external vendor searches. 7. Click Edit. You will be asked to attach the file on your hard drive. Locate the file and allow GRIS to bring the file into Word. 8. The file is renamed as an 8-digit number. If you are GRISing a bulletin or comment, run a GRIS Table Scan (found in the ML Custom drop-down menu) at this point. 9. Click COMP Submit (or WPG Submit for in-depth reports). When asked if you want to GRIS the file, click Yes and let GRIS finish submitting your file. You have successfully GRISed your Merlyn document.


Summer Orientation – 2001

7. Outlook
Outlook is a collaborative application that is one major application with several mini-applications such as:  Inbox—send and receive email  Calendar—schedule appointments, track recurring meetings, plan meetings with others, and receive reminders of events  Contacts—store names, addresses and phone numbers for business and personal use  Tasks—maintain To Do lists, assign tasks to others, and track progress on projects  Journal—record activity and keep a timeline for specified items  Notes—computerized sticky notes you can post in Outlook or on your desktop.

Menu Bar Tool Bar

Outlook Bar Folder List

Information Viewer

 

 

The Outlook Bar is the vertical bar on the left of the Outlook window. The Outlook Bar also includes shortcuts to three groups:  Outlook (six main Outlook features)  Mail (four mail related icons)  Other (shortcuts to your desktop) The Information Viewer is used to view and access specific items in Outlook. The Folder List is the vertical pane displayed between the Outlook bar and Information Viewer. The Folder List allows you to see all the folders in Outlook at any time.

 Open an Email To open an email, double-click the message title. A new window appears containing the message. NOTE: All unread messages appear in bold.

Open an Attached File
When you receive an email with an attachment, a small paperclip icon appears next to the email in the Inbox. When you open the email, you will see an icon with the file name. To open the attached file, double-click the icon. The file opens in the appropriate application.


Summer Orientation – 2001

Send an Email

New Mail Message icon:

Sending email is one of the most significant features of Outlook. All email related operations can be accessed through the Inbox. You can also compose and send email from the Inbox folder. Creating and sending e-mail consists of three basic steps: 1) address the message, 2) compose the message, 3) send the message. To compose a email, click the New Mail Message icon on the toolbar (CTRL+N). Type a message in the text box.

Type the recipient’s email address or search for address using the Address Book (see below). When entering multiple addresses, use a semicolon to separate each address.

Type a message in the text box.

Send icon:

When you are finished, click Send.

Attach a File Attach icon:
1. 2. To attach a file, click the Insert File icon in the toolbar. A dialog box, similar to the File Open dialog box, will appear Find and click the file you want. Click OK.


Summer Orientation – 2001

The Address Book
Click to access the Address Book and search for an email address. This pop-up box appears:

   

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. If necessary, switch address books by clicking the arrow button and selecting the name of the address book you want. Enter in part or all of the recipient’s last name in the text box. Select the name you want from the list. Click To in order to send the message to the selected individual, or click Cc to copy the message to the selected individual. When you are finished selecting the recipients, click OK.

Reply to Sender Reply icon:
1. 2. Open the email you want to reply to and click the Reply icon. A new message window opens containing the original message. Begin typing your message in the text box. When you are finished, click Send.

Send icon:


Forward an Email Forward icon:

1. 2. 3.

Use Forward for an email instead of Reply to ensure recipients receive a copy of all attachments. Open the email to be forwarded, and click the Forward icon. A new message window opens containing the original message. Enter in the email addresses of recipients. Type your message in the text box.


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Send icon:


When you are finished, click Send.

Other Useful Desktop Programs
 MS Excel Excel is an application used to create and maintain spreadsheets you can use as financial models, ledgers or simple databases. In addition, you can use Excel to make simple charts for research reports using a custom function called SmartCharts. In addition, an Excel template was created to allow analysts to submit models through the GRIS system.  MS PowerPoint PowerPoint is a presentation program, which gives you the ability to create customized professional presentations such as slideshows. PowerPoint is the standard application for all Merrill Lynch Research presentations.


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8. ML SmartCatalog
ML SmartCatalog is a global subscription system designed to control the targeting and distribution of Merrill Lynch Research publications. SmartCatalog was developed to distribute research more effectively and efficiently, and to allow Merrill Lynch to be more responsive to client needs. Specifically, SmartCatalog holds information on companies and the contacts at these companies, including the subscription profiles that indicate a contact’s research interests. SmartCatalog also holds a catalog of publications produced by Merrill Lynch Research. SmartCatalog compares contact subscription profiles with research publications and the compliance rules which dictate what a contact is allowed to receive to create distribution lists. The distribution lists are used by external vendors to send research to the appropriate contacts in the requested quantities.

Client Screen – a client is a company whose employees receive
Merrill Lynch research Add a Client 1. Use the search box to confirm if the client already exists in the SmartCatalog database. 2. Click File on the menu bar and select New. 3. Fill in the Client Information form. To avoid duplicate entries, please make sure you use the official company name. 4. When you are finished, click File again and select Save. Edit a Client 1. Use the search box to retrieve the client information you want to edit. 2. Make the necessary changes in the Client Information form. 3. When you are finished, click File and select Save. Delete a Client  Never delete a client. This function is performed by your regional Subscription Desk. Please contact that department.

Contact Screen – a contact is an employee of a client
company who receives Merrill Lynch research Add a New Contact 1. Click File on the menu bar and select New. 2. Click the Client Name button. A Find box appears; type in part of the client’s name, and click Find. 3. Highlight the client name from the resulting list and click OK. 4. If more than one address exists for the selected client, a list of addresses for that client will appear. Click the address for the contact, and click OK. 5. Fill in the Contact Information form. (You don’t need to enter a Job Function or Delivery Preference.) 6. When finished, click File and select Save. Edit a Contact 1. Use the search box to retrieve the contact you want to edit. 2. Make the changes in the Contact Information form. (You don’t need to enter a Job Function or Delivery Preference.) 3. When finished, click File and select Save.


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Subscription Screen –to amend subscription profiles that
determine what research reports a contact receives
Add a Subscription Profile 1. Use the search box to find the contact whose subscription you want to edit. If the contact is already on the screen, go to Options on the menu bar and select Subscriptions. 2. Choose a Business Area for your profile (eg, Equity or Fixed Income) by clicking the radio button to the left of the business area. 3. If there are no profiles in the business area you selected, a profile row labeled ―1‖ appears. Add criteria in this profile row. If a profile already exists in the business area you selected, click Options and select Add Profile. A new profile row is created for you. 4. Click the Sponsor button and a Find box appears. Type all or part of the sponsor’s last name, and click Find. Click on a sponsor from the list of results, and click OK. a d c b

(a) Business Areas (b) Profile Row (c) Sponsor Box (d) Section Headings


Click anywhere in the profile row you are working in, and click on a section heading (country, region, industry, etc.) area, a pop-up box appears asking you to choose a filter or means of identifying an equity (eg, company name, ticker). Currently only the Company Name filter works consistently; click the radio button next to Company Name and click OK.

 If you click the Company selection heading in a profile with equity business


A find box for that selection heading appears. Type in all or part of a value, and click Find. From the list of values, find the one you want. If you want to receive research that includes this particular value, click the value, and then click Add--> to the left of the Include List box. If you want to use this value to exclude research containing this value, click Add--> to the left of the Exclude List box. To remove a value from either the include or exclude list box, select the value, and click <-- Remove directly to the left.

7. 8. 9.

When finished selecting values, click OK. Click Options from the menu bar, and choose Publication Details to check what existing reports match the profile. When you finish editing the profile, click File and select Save.

Edit a Subscription Profile 1. Click anywhere in the profile row you are working in and click on a section heading (country, region, industry, etc.) 2. Change the values in the profile (see Add a Subscription Profile). 3. After you have finished editing your profile, click File in the menu bar and select Save.


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Delete a Profile 1. Click within the row of the profile you want to delete. 2. Click Options, and select Delete Profile. Confirm that you want to delete the profile, click OK. 3. Click File and select Save.

Research Training Website
The Research Training Website provides information for each region. Trainers from around the world worked on this site collaboratively to provide Research personnel with a single resource for all their technology training needs. This site is updated as programs change and new products are implemented. The Website offers users a class schedule, a course catalog, documentation on various topics and applications, application tips, and selected online seminars aimed at equity analysts. For general questions or training, contact Research Training at: Phone: (1) 212 236-8763 email: For class descriptions, schedules and more, please visit our Training Website:


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Research Hotlines Reference Sheet
Hotline Numbers
Hotline Desktop Support Hotline Phone Numbers (1) 212 449-6218 After Hours Support: Paging Service at (1)-888-MERRIL0 (637-7450) / (1)-619 279-8495 Int’l Give the operator the name RSCHTECHNIGHT Compliance GRIS Hotline SmartCatalog Subscription Desk (1) 212 449-4252 (1) 212 449-1081 Americas: (1) 888 734-1391 or (1) 212 449-9765 e-mail: Rest of World: (44) 171 772-2531 Research Website/SmartCatalog Hotline US: (1) 888 300 RSCH (7724) International: (1) 212 647-4777 Equity & Strategy Screen Hotline Merrill Lynch Help Desk US: (1) 800-255-9107 International (1) 212 449-1714 Merrill Lynch OnLineSM : 1-888-ML-ONLINE (656-6546) Merrill Lynch DirectSM : 1-877-ML-DIRECT (653-4732). For user training or training material please contact: US: 212-236-8763 Website: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Monday—Friday, 7:30am to 5:00pm From Monday 12:00am –Friday 6:30pm Sunday 2:30 to 10:00pm When Available/Comments Monday—Friday, 7:00am to 7:00pm

Research Training Hotline

Monday—Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm


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