7 – Investment Publications – 1928 to 1932

7 – Investment Publications – 1928 to 1932

In the late 1920s, it is apparent that Bob Schaffner and his management associates were committed to developing an “investment and/or company analysis” capability of some then undefined form. The capability as a department entity was initially called the “statistical” or the “analytical” department. At the outset, there may have been a mixed mission for this entity.

One task, perhaps, was for the firm to become more “analytical” about the underwritings it was managing, which probably evolved into being increasingly “due diligent” as the 1930s rolled in and the new securities laws were being digested. Harold Wood, who joined the firm in the late 1920s, probably became the “father” of this “due diligence” responsibility, and he was very advanced in these procedures and their regular practice in the late 1950s when the author joined Becker. Early on, and even into the 1950s, this task was very much oriented to being assured that the financial condition of the securities issuer was sound.

The other task that Schaffner and associates were probably thinking about encompassed what became “investment research” - a function that, by the 1950s, became essential and departmentalized within any firm that was in the business of underwriting and selling securities.

For Becker, this latter task took on two aspects in the later 1920s and early 1930s: (1) a “macro” aspect – an analysis and report on developments in national and regional -and to some extent, global - economies, including the U.S., Germany, Europe, and South America; and (2) a “micro” aspect – analyses and evaluations of developments within specific companies in which Becker had an interest, and determining the attractiveness of the securities of such companies for investment (and, of course, for purchase through Becker).

As mentioned in the Chronicle, steps toward establishing a company and securities analysis capability were perhaps originated by A.G. Becker himself. But, certainly the path was then followed very purposefully by Bob Schaffner. As noted, Bob Schaffner himself had a strong interest in Germany – almost of an academic nature – he visited there regularly, he undoubtedly read materials authored by others as to economic and popular developments there, and specifically expressed his analysis and opinions in writing, in conjunction with David Friday and Jay Dunne. He was also apparently regularly interviewed by the media as to his views about Germany.

David Friday, a well trained and nationally recognized economist, would appear to have guided Becker's “research” efforts toward meeting clients' interests in “macro” information and opinion. On the other hand, for Bob Schaffner, the knowledge of specific company developments and the value of their securities, would have been of keen interest, and he would want the firm’s “research” to provide detailed company and securities level information. Thus, the published “investment research” of Becker in the late 1920s and early 1930s included both the larger framework of economics and markets, but at the same time, reported on the operations of specific companies and the availability and value of their securities, so that investors could act on this information flow, and presumably effect securities transactions through Becker.

These different instincts and interests of Friday and Schaffner came together in early 1928 with the authorship and publication of the A.G. Becker & Co. Investment Bulletin – a thoughtful, carefully crafted and authored, factually based, and nicely formatted quarterly economic and financial review. Also, the firm published five issues of Business Briefs. Given the effects of the 1929 crash, the quick decline in market activity, and possibly by reasonable expense reduction in the firm, the publications were discontinued in 1930 (Business Briefs) and 1932 (Investment Bulletins).

The Becker archives have a copy of each issue of the Investment Bulletin series except for the Fourth Quarter, 1928 (if published). The Investment Bulletins have been scanned and can be read on this site. A table of contents of each issue appears below. Just click on the issue which has content you desire to review and search through the issue for the content you seek.

Investment Bulletins

Second Quarter, 1928
Main article: The Trend Of Bond Yields
Other articles: Municipal Bonds, and current list
Investment Stocks
We Recommend and Offer

Third Quarter, 1928
Main article: Government Finances
Other articles: Economic Progress in Germany
Sound Stocks for Investment
We Recommend and Offer
Fourth Quarter, 1928 (issue is not in archives if published)

First Quarter, 1929
Main article: Prospects for Prosperity in 1929
Other articles: Interesting Investments
Recent Economic Developments in the US (David Friday)
Diversified Investments
Common Stocks for Investment

Second Quarter, 1929
Main article: A Promising Field for American Investment (Latin America)
Other articles: Safety Plus Participation in Profits
Other Issues from a Broad List
Three Investment Stocks
German Issues Afford High Return

Third Quarter, 1929
Main article: Reserves and Federal Reserve Policy
Other Articles: Notes on Reparation Settlements
Comments of Specific Companies and Securities
Factors Favoring German Bonds
Investments in the Financial World
Conservative Railroad Bonds
Edith Rockefeller McCormick Trust
Additional Recommendations
When You Invest (advertisement)

Fourth Quarter, 1929
Main article: The Investment Company
Other Articles: Notes on the Federal Reserve Statements
Comments on Specific Companies and Securities
Sound Stocks for Investments Well Secured Foreign Bonds of High Yield
A Fixed Return of Over 6%
Additional Recommendations
The Underwriting Background of an Investment Security

First Quarter, 1930
Main article: The Business Outlook for 1930
Other articles: Interest Trends and the Bond Situation
Current View of Investment Companies
Group Banking in the Northwest
A Year of Notable Growth
Germany in 1929

Second Quarter, 1930
Main article: The Outlook for Foreign Financing: The German Situation
Other articles: Sweeping Back the Inland Sea
The Commodity Price Trend
On the Forefront of Its Industry
The Research Man in an Important Role
Getting Diversification into First Mortgages
An Attractive Railroad Bond
Growth of a Modern Type of Banking Service
Let's Look at the Investment Trust (advertisement)

Third Quarter, 1930
Main article: Greater Activity Ahead
Other articles: Sweeping Back the Inland Sea
The Bank for International Settlements
AutoStrop – A Record of Progress
A Group of Bond Recommendations
A Century-Old Packing Business
Fifty Years of Unbroken Profits
Metropolitan Industries Company
Kashgar or New York (advertisement)

Fourth Quarter, 1930
Main article: Bond Market Indicators
Other article: A Group of Sound Bonds for Investment
Some Considerations Regarding Common Stocks
Preferred Stocks Return to Favor
Partners in American Business (advertisement)

First Quarter, 1931
Main article: Major Business Movements Since 1893: The Factors of Decline and Recovery
Other articles: The Gillette-AutoStrop Merger
Bonds for Sound Investment
A Special Opportunity to Weigh Common Stocks
A Conservative Preferred Stock Investment
Notes on Foreign Bonds
Some Factors Affecting Foreign Trade
Business Briefs
Markets On The March (prize winning advertisement)

Second Quarter, 1931
Main article: Steps In The Business Recovery (by David Friday)
Other articles: Germany Today
Developments in Gillette Safety Razor
Attractive Bond Investments
Management Trust Preferred Stocks
Business Briefs
On Their Shoulders (advertisement)

Third Quarter, 1931
Main article: The Challenge of Over-Production
Other articles: The Current Bond Market
These Bonds Are Attractive
The Repatriation of Foreign Bonds
A Commons Stock of Promise
A World Wide Utility
Enter the Scientist (advertisement)

Fourth Quarter, 1931
Main article: Gold Becomes News
Other articles: The Curious Case of the Bond Market
Sound Investment Bonds
Good Income and a Wide Margin of Earnings
Behind Your Investments – A Plan
A Diversified List (advertisement)

First Quarter, 1932
Main article: This Business of Foreign Loans
Other articles: Bonds Recommended for Investment
A Common Stock of Investment Interest
Following the Averages
Opportunity in a Confused Market

Second Quarter, 1932
Main article: R.F.C.
Other articles: Interest in Commercial Paper Mounts
The Position of Municipal Bonds
Bond Indices vs. Bond Values
Sound Investment Bonds
A Summary of Foreign Government Debts
Third Quarter, 1932 (issue is not in archives if published)

Fourth Quarter, 1932
Main article: Is This Recovery?
Other articles: Position of the Utility Holding Companies
Utility System Debt Structures and
Fixed Charges and Earnings
The Problem of War Debts

Business Briefs

June, 1929
Main Article: Specializing in South America
Other Articles: More Than a Billion in Investment Trusts
Comments Re: Pneumatic Tool, Lazarus, Newport, Hammermill, Stinnes, Abbott, Acme Steel, Fashion Park, Parker Pen, Kimberly Clark, Construction Materials, National Bond & Investment, Commerz-und Privat-Bank, Morrell, AutoStrop, Wieboldt, Penick &Ford, Detroit Hotel.

August, 1929
Main Article: Little Essays in Finance: Organization of an Issue
Other Article: Capital Needs of South America/High Invest. Returns
Comments Re: Bancorporation, Morrell, Construction Materials, C.I.T., Lawbeck, Monsanto, Eastern Utilities, Acme Steel, Pneumatic Tools, Edgewater Apts, Parker Pen, Cuyamel.

September, 1929
Main Article: Modernism in Berlin Architecture
Other Articles: Monsanto Founds and Industrial City
Little Essay: The Distribution of an Issue
Comments Re: Wieboldt, Penick & Ford, Domestic & Foreign, Southern Natural Gas, CIT, Harmburg Port, Bancorporation, Newport, AutoStrop

November, 1929
Main Article: Low Bond and Stock Prices
Other Articles: Favorable Conditions in Foreign Paper
Little Essay: Listing and Marketability
Comments Re: Abbott, Chicago Tool, Monsanto, Southern Natural Gas, Manhattan-Dearborn, Auto-Strop, Penick & Ford, Parker Pen, Contruction Materials, Acme Steel, Cuyamel, Interstate Iron, Kimberly-Clark, Newport.

February, 1930
Main Article: Investment Companies Report for 1929
Other Article: German Developments Favor Certain Concerns
Little Essays: The Handling and Issue of Securities
Comments Re: Morrell, National Bond, Monsanto, Hart Schaffner & Marx, Decker & Cohn, Real Silk, Southern Natural Gas,  Acme Steel, Pneumatic Tool

March, 1930
Main Article: Growth of Monsanto Chemical
Other Artlcles: New Booklets on Bonds, Monsanto, Taxes
Little Essay: The Different Kinds of Bonds
Comments Re: North & South American, Interstate Iron, Abbott, AutoStrop, National Securities, Balaban & Katz, Bancorporation, Parker Pen, Greif

May, 1930
Main Article: Metropolitan Industries, Excellent Showing
Other Articles: Huge Structure Proposed, Beach Hotel Subdivision
Construction Materials Gets New Floating Equipment
AutoStrop Earnings Mount
Little Essay: Foreign Investments
Comments Re: Newport, Abbott, Louisiana & Arkansas RR Bonds, Hammermill, Rike-Kumler, AutoStrop, Penick & Ford, Wieboldt, Kleinert, Weil-McLain, Monsanto

June, 1930
Main Article: Little Essay: On Buying Common Stocks
Comments Re: AutoStrop, German Land Bank, Parker Pen, Lawbeck-Manhattan-Dearborn, Pneumatic Tool, Southern Natural Gas, Acme Steel, Central German Power of Magdeburg, United Founders, Harbor Plywood, Northwestern National Bank, Kleinert Rubber.

August, 1930
Main Article: Little Essay: On Paying for Un-needed Bond Qualities
Other Article: Views of Economist David Friday
Comments Re: National Securities, Monsanto, Unterelbe P&L, North and South American Corp., Koholyt Corp., Acme Steel, Abbott, AutoStrop, Edgewater Beach Hotel, Northwest Bancorporation.

September, 1930
Main Article: Little Essay: Four Main Categories of Investments
Other Articles: New German Note Issue
Stinnes Reduces Funded Debt
Comment Re: Lawbeck, National Republic, Louisiana & Arkansas, AutoStrop, Newport, Paramount Publix, Domestic & Foreign, CIT, Abbott