Credit Suisse Restricts Analysts
NEW YORK (AP) _ Credit Suisse First Boston, reacting to growing concerns about stock market analyst bias, has become the second major brokerage to prohibit its analysts from buying stock in the companies they research.
Credit Suisse announced the policy change affecting its 520 analysts Tuesday, two weeks after Merrill Lynch & Co. became the first large brokerage to ban analysts from owning stocks in the firms they cover.
``We believe this new policy will further demonstrate our ongoing commitment to support the integrity and independence of our research to all investors,″ said Al Jackson, Credit Suisse’s global head of equity research.
Analysts who currently hold shares in companies they research must sell them by Sept. 30, unless an exemption is granted for special circumstances, including severe tax liabilities or pending retirement.
The policy, which is effective immediately, also applies to analysts’ spouses, children and members of the analysts’ research teams,
Critics say the move by Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch addresses one area of concern _ the potential for an analyst to have a direct, personal interest in touting a particular stock.
But they say it does not deal with the potentially larger problem of influence on analysts from their firms’ lucrative investment banking businesses.
For some time, the proliferation of financial talking heads touting stocks on the airwaves has prompted regulators to consider requiring analysts who make stock recommendations to disclose whether they or their investment firm could profit from such advice.
Shares of Credit Suisse Group, Credit Suisse First Boston’s parent company, fell $5.48 to $165.86 in Zurich on Tuesday.
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