An individual responsible for evaluating financial investments. An analyst performs investment research and, on the basis of such research, makes recommendations to institutional and retail investors to buy, sell, or hold their investments.

Investment banks, brokers and dealers play an important part of the offering process of an issuer's securities. In addition to providing underwriting services for the offering, they also provide research coverage of an issuer's securities. In order for the security to have a healthy, liquid trading market, it is important that research analysts track the issuer's industry and the issuer's performance and make recommendations to the investing public regarding whether they should buy the securities, sell the securities or hold them in their portfolios.

For more information on the role of research analysts and the rules and regulations governing their activities, including the research reports that they release, see Practice Note, Research Reports: SEC Safe Harbors ( .

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