Sell Side vs Buy Side – If you are in the Investment Banking industry, it is essential to know the difference between Sell side and buy side. Yet the irony is that many of us are still unaware of these very important terms. Many a time I have seen that students are not only confused between these two terms but also about its usage in context of Investment Banking Roles in the industry.
Statistics say that the Sell side makes up one half of the Finance Market and the Buy side makes the other half. So let’s see the major highlights of Sell side vs Buy side. We will cover the following points:
- Sell Side vs Buy Side Infographics
- What is Sell Side & Buy Side
- Firms Involved
- What they do?
- Sell Side Analyst
- Buy Side Analyst
- Skillset Requirements
Sell Side vs Buy Side Infographics
Please go through the below infographics for a quick comparison between the Sell Side and the Buy Side.
Reading time: 90 seconds
What is a Sell Side & Buy Side?
- Sell side includes the entities which facilitates the decision making of the buy side.
- Buy side includes entities that are involved in making the Investment Decisions.
- Sell Side includes firms like Investment Banking, Commercial Banking, Stock Brokers, Market makers and other Corporates.
- Buy Side includes Asset Managers, Hedge Funds, Institutional Investors, Retail Investors.
- Buy side firms can be bigger in terms of the operations but the number of analysts may be lesser. These Analysts often interact with the Sell Side Analysts.
- On the other hand, the number of Analyst in the Sell Side Firms is higher as these analysts are dedicated to analysis of specific sectors or specific companies.
What they do?
- Sell side companies closely keep track of the Stocks, performance of various companies and also project their future financials based on various analysis & trends. They come up with their research recommendation (target price) in their equity research reports.
- Sell side companies (equity research) essentially “sell ideas” to the clients and in most cases these ideas are communicated for free.
- Their work revolves around Financials & Annual reports which includes detailed analysis of the Quarterly results, Balance sheet or any other published data.
- Buy side includes the entities that are involved in deploying their Capital. They may refer to the analysis or price given by the investment Banks (Sell Side) for taking their Investment decisions.
- Buy Side essentially have a pool of funds which is used for investing
- So we can say that Sell side entities provide services to the Buy side entities for taking Investment decisions.
- Goal of a Sell Side is advise on research and close the deal.
- Sell side analysts carry out research and based on the same they convince their investors to trade through their firms trading desk.
- Whereas, the goal of the Buy side firms is to beat the indices and generate Investment returns for their clients.
Sell side Analyst
- The Analysts of the Sell side provide greater insights into Trends, Analysis and projections of Financials
- They come up with recommendations & Research reports which are used to make investment decisions for their clients.
- One major point of difference is: Sell side analysts do their own research and analysis and create their reports. These reports are available in the public domain.
- The Job of the Sell Side Analyst is to recommend a Buy or a Sell recommendation for a particular security.
Buy side Analyst
- A very interesting point of difference you will find here is that the reports which are created by the Buy Side Analysts are not available publicly.
- These buy side analysts use the reports created by many Sell Side Analysts and carry out their own analysis further to come at an investment decision.
- Here, the job of the Buy Side Analyst is not just to give a Buy or Sell decision but to make an investment decision adhering to the company strategy.
It is generally seen that higher analytical skills & financial knowledge is required for the Buy Side Analysts than the Sell Side Analyst. The reason for this is that Buy Side Analysts are themselves responsible for taking the investment decisions.
So let’s see what are the skills required for the Sell Side and the Buy Side Analysts:
Sell Side Analyst Skills requirements
- Excellent Analytical & Quantitative skills
- Strong writing and communication skills
- Expertise in Excel, Power point & Word.
- Ability to quickly evaluate & analyze financial information & companies
- Ability to prioritize Task
- Ability to work on Multiple engagements
- Commitment to obtaining Outstanding results
- Ability to work for long hours
Buy Side Analyst Skills requirement
- Strong & Intellectual eye for investment opportunities
- Monitoring the Market developments
- Ability to create productive, timely & high quality reports for investment decisions.
- Ability to analyze Risks and Industry characteristics
- Ability to constantly monitor Portfolio performance
- Keep updated with economy & global markets
- Expertise in excel, word & power point
Requirement of higher skill-sets and knowledge for buy side analysts for the investment decisions make them fetch higher pay than the sell side analysts. But there may be always exceptions.
Your decision to make your career in Buy side or Sell side will depend on your Goals and where you see yourself. Hope this article has helped you to distinguish the Sell Side and Buy Side clearly. So, which analyst are you – Buy Side analyst or a Sell side analyst?