Bear Stearns is reportedly barring its high-yield analysts from pitching new deals to investors. The firm is still considering whether to allow investment-grade analysts to pitch new deals. Bear Stearns analysts were conspicuously absent from a two-day high-yield conference the firm held last week in New York City.
Calls to Bear Stearns research officials were referred to Elizabeth Ventura, a spokeswoman for the investment bank. Ventura says the firm wants "to err on the side of caution," in light of the heightened regulatory scrutiny related to analyst communications. She declined to comment on whether analysts were allowed to pitch new deals, or whether the firm's policies were any different with regard to investment-grade or high-yield issues.
A number of rival research chiefs say that Bear Stearns appears excessively cautious. They note that fixed-income research activities were not part of the "global" equity settlement with U.S. regulators reached by 10 firms including Bear Stearns. Still, many of the same research directors who accuse Bear Stearns of going too far would not rule out the possibility that they might adopt similar policies.
UBS Warburg turned heads earlier this year when it divided its fixed-income research group into two units to guard against possible conflicts (BW, 4/14). Dave Shulman, global head of distribution at UBSW, declined to comment on whether the firm would allow analysts to pitch new deals. Rival analysts and investors, however, say UBSW analysts have been pitching deals in recent weeks.