Why Analysts Do Not Ask Challenging Questions on SAP’s Quarterly Calls

Executive Summary

  • The quarterly analyst calls held by SAP are known to have very easy or compliant questions.
  • We provide an explanation for why this is the case.


For years we have read the quarterly SAP calls with a furrowed brow at the questions asked by the Wall Street analysts. We think we now have a reason for these questions.

The Lack of Context Regarding Quarterly Calls

Quarterly call transcripts are published in various media outlets. However, there is normally little to no context surrounding the call. A subsegment of executives from SAP are introduced, and then the analysts are listed. After that point, the call commences. However, the question as to why these analysts and why these firms are included in the call is not documented or otherwise explained in the call. The distinct impression is given that SAP is releasing information and that the analysts are there to question SAP.

The following is a list of all of the analysts on a quarterly call, and whether the firm the analyst works for has a position in SAP stock, and how high each of these entities ranks in the list of SAP shareholders.

Financial Analysts Versus SAP Stock Holders

Financial Entity
In the Top 120 Institutional Stock Holders
Rank of Institutional Investor
1Platinum Asset Management
2Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
3Bank of America Merrill Lynch
4vercore ISI
5JP Morgan
6Royal Bank of Canada
7UBS Limited
8Citi Investment Research
9Exane BNP Paribhas
10Deutsche Bank
11Goldman Sachs Group Inc
12JMP Securities

Who Are Major SAP Shareholders?

We checked the entities against the top 120 institutional shareholders of SAP. And as you can see, most of the entities are major shareholders of SAP stock.

For example, Bank of America holds roughly $350 million of SAP stock. Lets us imagine that you owned $350 million in stock of SAP and were invited on the quarterly call. How likely would you be to ask challenging questions?

The rest of the entities are also probably shareholders, but we did not check that far down on the list.


As shareholders, it is unlikely that the analysts are authorized to ask any controversial questions. The firm already has a large position in the stock, and they want that stock to go up.

This miscommunicates the intent of the call.

If the analysts that ask questions are part of institutions that already have a large position in the stock, then the analyst call is rigged. And the nature of the call is miscommunicated to readers. These analysts on the call are not analysts — they are stock promoters.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

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