Conflicts of Interest and Stock Recommendations: Evidence from the Global Settlement and Related Regulations



Review of Financial Studies, 10 ed., vol. 22, pp. 4189-4217, November 2009



We study the effect of the Global Analyst Research Settlement and related regulations on sell-side research. These regulations attempted to mitigate the interdependence between research and investment banking.We document that following the regulations many brokerage houses have migrated from the traditional five-tier rating system to a three-tier system. Optimistic recommendations have become less frequent and more informative, whereas neutral and pessimistic recommendations have become more frequent and less informative. Importantly, the overall informativeness of recommendations has declined. The likelihood of issuing optimistic recommendations no longer depends on affiliation with the covered firm, although affiliated analysts are still reluctant to issue pessimistic recommendations.

Leonardo Madureira