Sell-Side vs. Buy-Side Analysts: What’s the Difference?

Buy-Side vs Sell Side. The Buy Side refers to firms that purchase securities and includes investment managers, pension funds, and hedge funds. The Sell-Side refers to firms that issue, sell, or trade securities, and includes investment banks, advisory firms, and corporations.

Buy Side vs Sell Side | Capital Markets

What is a buy-side analyst?

A financial research analyst on the “buy side” is one who makes stock purchases for their companies using their knowledge of the current stock market. To determine which stocks offer the best investment opportunities, buy-side analysts conduct their own research as well as rely on the research of sell-side analysts.

There are times when buy-side analysts are in charge of a group working for a client company. These analysts provide guidance to the team in charge of stock purchases regarding which stocks to buy and the best price at which to do so.

What is a sell-side analyst?

A sell-side analyst is a financial research analyst who monitors the performance of specific businesses to learn more about their market value. Sell-side analysts typically work for companies with clients interested in buying stock. These analysts inform their clients about potentially valuable stocks and promote or suggest particular stocks they believe to be the best options for investors.

Although sell-side analysts can assist individual clients, they typically work with businesses to help them increase their capital through wise investment decisions. The performance of a company’s stock as well as any pertinent business plans or product launches that could have an impact on its stock in the future are among the useful information that these analysts include in their detailed reports for clients.

Differences between sell-side and buy-side analysts

Although the duties of buy-side and sell-side analysts are often similar, there are some differences. The following are some significant distinctions between sell-side and buy-side analysts:

Public vs. private information

Reports from sell-side analysts are often public. People who want to invest can access this information and use it to inform their decision-making. Typically, sell-side analysts are the ones who appear on television to discuss trends and offer advice to the general public.

Buy-side analyst reports are typically confidential and only meant to be used by the company that hired them. This is because some of their research techniques and prediction models are proprietary to that business.


Sell-side analysts are frequently employed by companies that clients hire when they need investment research and recommendations.

Buy-side analysts frequently work for investors themselves and are familiar with a company’s operations and financial situation. They can then customize their recommendations for how much and when a particular company should invest as a result.

Information provided

The information provided by sell-side analysts covers a wide range of investment opportunities across numerous industries. Buy-side analysts typically conduct industry research, making their findings pertinent to their employers’ particular investment interests.


Despite the fact that both analysts recommend particular investment strategies, it is more crucial for sell-side analysts to provide accurate information. Even when their clients decide to invest in something other than the suggested options, the information they gather is useful for making investment decisions.

Buy-side analysts offer similar information. However, because they frequently directly influence decisions, it is more crucial that their recommendations have a high return on investment for their employers.

Working hours

Sell-side analysts often work more hours than their buy-side counterparts. This is due to the fact that they frequently serve clients who are available to them whenever they need their services. While buy-side analysts may conduct research outside of regular business hours, they typically work the same hours as their employer.


Sell-side analysts are compensated for the information they provide, with some exceptions. By conducting additional research and generating new reports, they are able to increase their compensation. Buy-side analysts frequently get paid according to how well they recommend certain investments.

However, when their recommendations lead to profitable investments, both analysts may be compensated with commissions.

Similarities between sell-side and buy-side analysts

Sell-side and buy-side analysts often perform similar duties while working. Some of the similarities between sell-side and buy-side analysts include:


Both types of analysts dedicate a significant portion of their daily workdays to researching businesses, funds, and other investment opportunities on behalf of their employers. Reading and watching the news, networking with other investment professionals, and developing prediction models that predict how investments might perform are all part of this.


To carry out their duties successfully, both types of analysts need training and knowledge of the financial market and current trends, which also enables analysts to provide sound advice. With the right training and experience, they can recognize when to make changes and know how to do so right away, ensuring that their recommendations are updated with the most recent information.


Analysts, whether on the sell-side or the buy-side, compile research into reports that aid clients or employers in understanding their investment options. These reports include the analysts’ recommendations for particular investments, their projections for future results, and a return on investment (ROI) for employers or clients.


Employers expect the same performance from both sell-side and buy-side analysts despite the distinction in their roles. Employers desire precise research that yields recommendations for profitable investments with a high ROI.

Benefits of sell-side and buy-side analysts

Using both sell-side and buy-side analysts has advantages because they both assist corporations in making wise investment decisions.

The benefits of employing sell-side analysts include:

Some benefits of employing buy-side analysts include:

How to become a sell-side or buy-side analyst

Like becoming any other financial analyst, the road to becoming a sell-side or buy-side analyst is similar. Consider taking the following actions if you want to pursue one of these careers:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

Financial analysts typically need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance or a closely related field, according to employers. Other helpful degrees include economics, statistical analysis and mathematics.

2. Earn an advanced degree

Most entry-level positions do not require a master’s degree, but many employers prefer that analysts have one in finance or a closely related field. Additionally, this can assist sell-side and buy-side analysts in pursuing career opportunities.

3. Earn a certification

If you want to work as a financial analyst but don’t have a degree in finance, a certification can help. Although it typically requires sponsorship from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification is a well-known program. For this and the majority of certifications, you must pass an exam and complete some coursework.

4. Gain experience

Although you can start working as a financial analyst at the entry level, it’s beneficial to get experience in the field to strengthen your resume. To develop your skill set and create connections within the industry, you can work as a sell-side, buy-side, or other financial analyst’s assistant while still in school.

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.


Is Goldman Sachs buy-side or sell-side?

Bond Market Sell-Side Investment banks predominate in the sell-side, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley being the two biggest.

Does buy-side or sell-side make more?

Buy-side analysts at successful funds, particularly hedge funds, can do much better than sell-side analysts in terms of compensation, although there is a wide range.

Are hedge funds buy-side or sell-side?

A segment of the financial institutions in a free-market economy is referred to as the “buy-side”: companies that buy investment securities. These include financial institutions like insurance companies, mutual funds, hedge funds, and pension funds that purchase securities for their own accounts or those of investors in order to make a profit.

Is Morgan Stanley buy-side or sell-side?

Popular Names. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), and others are well-known sell-side companies. BlackRock, UBS, Allianz, Fidelity Investment, Berkshire, and others are notable buy-side companies.

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