Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC recently became the latest investment research firm to receive the industry's equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval - the Investorside Research Association's certified provider seal.
Investorside, Washington, was established in July to help investors identify independent research firms and analysts that work for investors and are free of investment banking connections. Investment research continues to be dominated by investment banks, according to Investorside Chairman Scott Cleland.
Investorside reviews a candidate's research and financial disclosures, website information and all marketing materials, and requires a signed verification that its focus is on the investor and that it does not offer investment banking services, he said. There is also a $1,000 annual certification fee. Once the firm is certified, it is allowed to display the seal in its published materials.
"The seal helps these firms distinguish themselves from less reputable research models," said Mr. Cleland.
There are as many as 200 independent research firms that are "potential members" of Investorside, he said. "We are aware of about 100 firms, but there may be 100 more that we don't know about. There is no complete listing of them all."
Investors have been misled by some Wall Street firms that use the word "independent" in their marketing but remain associated with investment banking firms, he said.