WASHINGTON A House Financial Services subcommittee is scheduled to discuss at a hearing set for Thursday whether financial analysts have enough independence from the companies they recommend.
Lawmakers and market observers have complained that when financial analysts make recommendations to investors on buying or selling a stock they could be motivated by their personal holdings in that company. Critics contend that ownership rules are vague and may need tightening up.
You have to ask the question whether some are providing financial analysis or financial cheerleading, said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael G. Oxley in a statement released Monday. Theres an old saying thats instructive: Consider the source. Investors should consider the source of market information, know that it may not be objective, and be aware of the conflicts that may be affecting the analyst.
Rep. Richard Baker, the capital markets subcommittee chairman, will hold the hearing. He said that he will look at whether steps need to be taken to rebuild both the barriers that shield analysts from conflicts and the trust of individual investors.
Those scheduled to testify include Thomas A. Bowman, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Investment Management and Research; Scott C. Cleland, CEO of the Precursor Group; Mark E. Lackritz, president of the Securities Industry Association; and James Glassman, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.