Peer Effects in Equity Research

Kenny Phua, Mandy Tham, and Chishen Wei

We study the importance of peer effects among sell-side analysts who work at the same brokerage house, but cover different firms. By mapping the information network within each brokerage, we identify analysts who occupy central positions in their network. Central analysts incorporate more information from their coworkers and produce better research. Using shocks to network structures around brokerage mergers, we identify the influence of peer effects and the importance of industry expertise on analysts’ performance. A portfolio strategy that exploits the forecast revisions of central analysts earns up to 24% per annum.