Comparing the Stock Recommendation Performance of Investment Banks and Independent Research Firms
43 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2004
Date Written: September 2005
This study compares the profitability of security recommendations issued by investment banks and independent research firms. During the 1996 through mid-2003 time period, the average daily abnormal return to independent research firm buy recommendations exceeds that of the investment banks by 3.1 basis points, or almost 8 percentage points annualized. In contrast, investment bank hold and sell recommendations outperform those of independent research firms by -1.8 basis points daily, or -4½ percentage points annualized. Investment bank buy recommendation underperformance is concentrated in the subperiod subsequent to the NASDAQ market peak (March 10, 2000), where it averages 6.9 basis points per day, or slightly more than 17 percent annualized. More strikingly, during this period those investment bank buy recommendations outstanding subsequent to equity offerings underperform those of independent research firms by 8.7 basis points (almost 22 percent annualized). Taken as a whole, these results suggest that at least part of the underperformance of investment bank buy recommendations is due to a reluctance to downgrade stocks whose prospects dimmed during the early 2000's bear market, as claimed in the SEC's Global Research Analyst Settlement. Additional analyses find that the underperformance of investment bank buy recommendations extends not only to the ten investment banks sanctioned in the research settlement but to the non-sanctioned investment banks as well.
Keywords: Analyst, recommendation, investment bank, broker, independent research, Global Analyst Research Settlement, accounting, stock recommendation performance, independent research firms
JEL Classification: G12, G14, G29, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation