The geographic organisation of sell-side equity research: a conceptual framework

Authors: William Bratton*, University of Oxford
Topics: Economic Geography, Business Geography
Keywords: Finance, equity research, public equity markets, knowledge-intensive business services
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Public equity markets are a core component of global finance and play a fundamental role in the economic development process. As an asset class, however, equities are information-rich with substantial spatial and temporal aspects, including distance-related asymmetries. In the equities ecosystem, sell-side equity research has an important role in addressing these asymmetries by acting as the information intermediary between issuers and investors, and ensuring efficient markets. But as a knowledge-intensive business service, it has received little attention to date by geographers. This paper addresses the gap by developing a conceptual framework for the organisational geography of equity research, focusing on the number and complexities of geographies it operates within, and the changing nature of the various inter-dependencies. These include the geographies of issuers and investors, especially given the high heterogeneity of both groups, the role of external agencies including regulators and stock exchanges, and external factors such the impact of new technologies and country/sector drivers of stock returns. The framework is then used to analyse data on equity research coverage between 2005 and 2020 and highlight how the interplay between the various factors has impacted the global organisation and spatial distribution of sell-side equity research.

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