Practical analysis for investment professionals
13 May 2013

How Does Gender Affect the Performance and Career Outcomes of Sell-Side Analysts? (Podcast)

CFA Institute is excited to announce a new series of Financial Analysts Journal author interviews. We’ll interview authors from our flagship publication and chat with them for a few minutes about their research. To kick off the series, Mark Harrison, CFA, caught up with Rodney N. Sullivan, CFA, about his recent research on the effects of gender in the sell-side analyst field.



Sell-side analysts are important players in the investment industry. As Sullivan notes in the interview, their importance was highlighted by the $1.4 billion global analyst settlement in 2003. “In our discussions with investors around the world,” he says in the podcast, “we found a strong interest in gaining a better understanding of how women compare with men in their making of investment recommendations.” Sullivan and his coauthors — Xi Li, Danielle Xu, and Guodong Gao — also explored “how men and women compare in terms of career progression within the brokerage community.”

The authors examined a sample of investment recommendations from sell-side analysts, focusing on potential differences between male and female analysts in three areas: performance, risk-taking behavior, and career outcome. Sullivan says that they found no evidence of differences in promotion or tenure between male and female analysts, and that female analysts produce similar alpha compared with their male counterparts while generating slightly lower idiosyncratic risk. “Put another way,” Sullivan explains, “females have higher information ratios.”

To hear Sullivan’s full discussion of the findings, including insights on gender differences in upgrade and downgrade performance and the effect of gender on “star investor” status, listen to the complete interview above or download the MP3. CFA Institute members can access the full journal article on the CFA Publications website.


Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

About the Author(s)
Pat Light

Pat Light is an assistant editor at CFA Institute. Before joining the CFA Institute editorial staff, he worked as a teacher. Light has a bachelor's degree in English from Duke University.

1 thought on “How Does Gender Affect the Performance and Career Outcomes of Sell-Side Analysts? (Podcast)”

  1. Joseph Hutton says:

    Personally I think it comes down to the individual. If you want top performing employees then you should set up tests with fake money for performance and have them set up a sales presentation to analyze their risk behavior and how they come to those investment decisions. That is just my opinion.

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