September 2014: Commentaries

This month’s Broker Monitor Report examines market commentary resources. Commentaries frequently offer interpretations of economic phenomena and market events, and most leading, global brokerage firms have research groups and divisions that publish a wealth of resources. Though market commentaries are often associated with asset management firms, we were curious to see what types of resources are offered by leading brokerage firms. We have often come across promotional content and regular publications. This is the first Broker Monitor Report that looks at commentary resources in a variety of formats, including both text and video.

More specifically, this report focuses on the following:

  • Are there published views of each brokerage firm regarding current economic and investing trends?
  • Are any third-party market commentaries offered by the firm?
  • How extensive is the range of media through which published views are communicated?

The majority of Broker Monitor firms (94%) offer market commentaries to prospective and existing brokerage clients. All eight full-service brokerages that we reviewed offer an extensive range of commentaries that span the U.S. and global markets, specific regions, sectors, and industries. All discount firms except one also offer commentaries that generally focus on the U.S. markets and economic conditions. Among this group, however, we found that several firms focus exclusively on specific products (e.g., options), trading strategies or technical research.

Additional key findings include:

  • All eight full-service firms that we reviewed promote their commentaries on their public site homepages in some respect.
  • Among discount firms, though most brokers publish commentaries that address general U.S. market conditions, we found that there was more of focus on trading conditions, analyst opinion, technical research, etc.
  • The majority of commentaries we found were text-based reports, provided in either HTML or (more likely) as PDFs. We did find, however, that some firms also use multi-media formats for delivering content. Five firms feature regular podcast commentary series that investors can subscribe to through a RSS reader. Videos are also utilized in some context by 47% of all firms that we reviewed.