How Do Sell-Side Analysts Interact with Firms?
By Noah Edis
Sell-side analysts play an important role in firms making informed investment decisions. They are the intermediary between a company and potential investors, providing insights and analysis of a company’s stock. To be effective, analysts must have strong relationships with both the firm they work for and the companies they cover.
Nurturing these relationships is crucial because sell-side analysts need to gather information from companies in order to provide accurate recommendations to clients. They also need access to a company’s management to understand its business strategy and future prospects better.
While methods to strengthen these bonds vary from analyst to analyst, there are some key ways in which they interact with firms. Let us take a closer look at how these interactions are made and what investors can gain from them.
What Types of Interactions do Sell-Side Analysts Do?
The most important firm relationships for a sell-side analyst are usually with the companies they cover. These interactions take many different forms but can be generally grouped into four categories: information gathering, sales calls, roadshows, and conferences.
1. One-on-One Calls
Before sell-side analysts even contact a company, they gather information on their own. The process often starts with reading public filings (e.g. 10-Ks and 10-Qs), followed by earnings call transcripts and press releases.
After getting a general understanding of the company from these sources, analysts will usually reach out to the Investor Relations (IR) department at the company and set up calls with management. During these calls, analysts will ask questions about the business to better understand the underlying drivers of revenue and earnings.
Analysts also attend group investor days and non-deal roadshows (i.e. when management goes on a tour to meet with institutional investors). These events allow analysts to get more color on the business from management in a group setting.
2. Sales Calls
After gathering information and gauging the company, sell-side analysts will start to build their financial models and generate investment recommendations. This process usually culminates in the release of a research report, which includes the analyst’s rating (e.g. buy, hold, sell) and price target for the stock.
In addition to research reports, analysts also host regular sales calls with institutional investors. These calls provide an opportunity for the analyst to pitch their investment thesis and get feedback from potential investors. Sales calls are usually held after the release of a research report but can also be held on an ad-hoc basis.
When an analyst has already initiated coverage on a stock, the next step for them often is to go on roadshows with the company to meet with more institutional investors and further pitch their investment thesis. These roadshows usually take place over a week and involve travel to multiple cities.
Aside from meeting potential investors, analysts also engage with sell-side colleagues to get their stock insights.
Sell-side analysts also interact with firms by attending conferences. These conferences provide an opportunity for analysts to meet with management teams from various companies, as well as network with other sell-side analysts.
There are many different types of conferences, but the most popular ones for sell-side analysts are usually industry-specific (e.g. healthcare) or focused on a particular theme (e.g. activist investing).
With their access to the executives of the companies they cover. Analysts can use their connections to provide valuable insights into the operations, strategy, and financial health of companies to their clients, who are often institutional investors or high net worth individuals. This can include access to management teams for meetings and conference calls, visits to company facilities, and insights into industry trends and regulatory issues.
What Benefits Can Be Gained From Interactions Between Firms and Sell-Side Analysts?
Firm and sell-side analyst interactions can be beneficial for both parties. For firms, these analysts can provide a valuable outside perspective on their business. They can also act as a sounding board for management, offering insights and suggestions on strategic decisions.
These interactions also allow companies to share information with analysts they may not want to make public. It could be anything from financial results to upcoming product launches. In turn, analysts can use this information (with proper authorization) to help their clients make more informed investment decisions.
From the analyst’s perspective, these interactions provide an opportunity to get a clear picture of a company and its management. They can also use these interactions to gather information that is not readily available to the public.
While many positives can be gained from firm and sell-side analyst interactions, it is important to remember that these relationships must be managed carefully. Analysts should avoid becoming too close to a company or its management, as this could bias their research and recommendations.
It is also essential for companies to remember that analysts are not obligated to share information with them. If a company is reluctant to share information, it may find it difficult to build a strong relationship with analysts.
What Challenges Do Sell-Side Analysts Encounter When Interacting with Firms?
Building relationships with companies has its fair share of challenges. Here are the obstacles sell-side analysts often encounter when trying to form these bonds:
- Getting companies to provide timely and accurate information. This is essential for analysts to make well-informed recommendations, but it can be difficult to obtain. Companies are not always forthcoming with the data sell-side analysts need. Even when they are, it may not be in a format that’s useful.
- Scheduling regular calls and meetings. It can be tough to get on a company’s radar, let alone establish regular contact. Companies are busy and have many stakeholders to juggle, so analysts must be persistent in staying in touch.
- Ensuring companies understand the analyst’s coverage. This is important for both parties involved. The company should know what the analyst’s focus is and how their insights can help them make better decisions. Meanwhile, the analyst needs to understand the company’s business in order to give accurate recommendations.
- Dealing with management changes. This happens often and can be a challenge to keep up with the comings and goings of a company’s C-suite. Fortunately, most companies are good at communicating these changes to analysts so they can continue to provide valuable insights.
- Overcoming bias. Analysts need to remain objective in their coverage of a company. It is a difficult job, especially when there is pressure from the firm they work for to maintain a positive relationship with the company. However, analysts need to see past this bias and provide accurate insights regardless of its implications for their work.
How do Sell-Side Analysts Maintain Relationships Ethically?
There are ethical rules and regulations that sell-side analysts must follow when interacting with companies. Here are the most common ones below:
Sell-side analysts cannot have any conflicts of interest with the companies they cover. This means they cannot own stock in the companies they provide analysis on and must disclose any personal relationships they have with management.
Similarly, they should not receive any gifts, benefits, or any form of special treatment from companies.
No Selective Disclosure
In order to prevent insider trading, analysts are not allowed to share material non-public information with anyone except for their clients. If an analyst learns something about a company that could potentially move its stock price, they cannot share this information with anyone else until it is made public.
If an analyst is aware of a material event that could impact a company’s stock price, they are obligated to disclose this information to their clients. A material event could be anything from a major product launch to an impending merger or acquisition.
All sell-side analysts must certify that their reports and recommendations accurately reflect their personal opinion and are not influenced by any other parties.
What Information Can Sell-Side Analysts Disclose and What Can They Not?
For sell-side analysts to do their jobs effectively, they need to gain access to a treasure trove of information. This includes both public and non-public information.
Public information is anything available to the general public through channels, such as news outlets and the company’s website.
On the other hand, non-public information is only accessible through certain channels and people, such as industry insiders or those with high-level positions in a company.
Sell-side analysts typically have both types of information, but they have to be careful about what they disclose. When it comes to public information, analysts can share their thoughts and opinions freely without any legal repercussions.
However, when it comes to non-public information, things get a bit more complicated. If an analyst shares this type of information without authorization, they could be violating insider trading laws.
This is why most interactions between analysts and firms are carefully regulated. The key here is that analysts must always adhere to the rules and regulations set by the firm they work for.
These guidelines will dictate what information can and cannot be shared. For example, some banks have strict policies about what their analysts can say to clients, while others are more lenient.
What Happens to the Relationship When Analysts “Go Short” on the Stock?
There are times when analysts may need to go against the company they cover and recommend that investors sell the stock, or “go short.” This can be a difficult decision to make, as it can damage the analyst’s relationship with the company.
However, analysts to be objective in their recommendations. If an analyst only recommends stocks that they like, investors will not trust their judgment. Going short on a stock shows that the analyst is willing to make tough calls, even if it means going against the company.
In some cases, analysts may be able to work with the company they are recommending investors sell. For example, an analyst may recommend that investors sell a stock before a big announcement is made public. This gives the company time to adjust its strategy and hopefully avoid any negative publicity.
While this type of interaction can be beneficial for both the analyst and the company, it is important to remember that the analyst’s first loyalty is to his or her clients. The analyst’s job is to give the best possible advice, regardless of how it may impact relations with the firm.
Having said that, it is possible for companies to completely cut off relations with analysts who go against them. This is more likely to happen with small firms that are not well-known. The company may feel that it does not need the analyst’s coverage and will no longer provide access to information or management.
Can Sell-Side Analysts Cover Different Industries at the Same Time?
While there are a few analysts who cover multiple industries, it is not a recommended practice. Analysts need to focus on a specific industry to develop in-depth knowledge about the companies and trends within that sector. This allows them to provide more accurate and actionable recommendations to clients.
Some investors may think that sell-side analysts who cover multiple industries have an edge because they can give insights into different sectors. However, this is not the case. Analysts who try to cover too many industries end up spreading themselves thin and cannot provide the same level of analysis as those who focus on one sector.
How to Choose the Right Sell-Side Analyst
Choosing the right sell-side analyst depends on:
- The type of information you are looking for
- What your investment objectives are
- Your level of risk tolerance
Sell-side analysts usually specialize in specific sectors or industries, so it is important to find one that covers the companies you are interested in. You can ask your broker for recommendations or look up analyst performance on credible sites.
Another factor to consider is whether the sell-side analyst has a good relationship with the company. This can be difficult to ascertain, but you can look for clues in the analyst’s reports.
If an analyst seems to have inside information or is always one of the first to make positive or negative recommendations on a stock, they likely have a good relationship with management.
How to Tell if a Sell-Side Analyst’s Recommendations are Accurate
The most important thing to remember is that relationships between analysts and companies are symbiotic; each needs the other to succeed. Because of this, it is in both parties’ best interests for the analyst to provide accurate information.
Here are three ways to tell if a sell-side analyst’s recommendations are accurate:
- Check their track record: A good way to gauge an analyst’s accuracy is by looking at their previous recommendations. If they have a history of being accurate, there’s a good chance their current recommendations are also accurate.
- See if their rating changes often: Another red flag is when an analyst’s rating on a stock changes frequently. This could be a sign that they are not well-informed about the company or that they base their recommendation on short-term factors.
- Compare their rating to other analysts: Finally, it is always a good idea to see what other analysts say about the same stock. If there is a large discrepancy between their rating and the consensus, it could indicate that the analyst in question is not as reliable.
The Final Word
To summarize, sell-side analysts will interact with the firms they cover to gain as much accurate information as possible. They face plenty of challenges along the way, but the results benefit both their clients and the companies they study.
For them to do their jobs effectively, however, sell-side analysts need to adhere to strict rules and regulations as well as a code of ethics. Understanding how these analysts work can help investors choose which analyst to hire or follow.
If you want to get ratings, price targets, and information on analysts and their performance in one place, you can check out AnaChart. We offer a one-stop portal on stock trends based on analysts’ reports.