The value of financial intermediaries : an assessment of hedge fund activists and financial analysts
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation consists of three essays regarding the value of various financial intermediaries in capital markets. In the first essay, we examine the value of hedge fund activists, conditional on a firm's existing monitoring presence. Traditional corporate governance theory designates analysts and institutional investors as the primary external monitors of the firm, and therefore, hedge fund activists are more likely to add value when these forces are inadequate. Consistent with this hypothesis, in the two years following the arrival of a hedge fund activist, we find the greatest abnormal returns and changes in fundamentals to be taking place in low-monitored firms. In the second essay, we determine the impact that hedge fund activism has on the quality of analyst content and analyst ability. We find a preponderance of recommendations that move to or are reinstated at the Hold level following the arrival of a hedge fund activist. Furthermore, the predictive content of analyst recommendations and their ability to accurately forecast earnings is diminished in the presence of a hedge fund activist. Overall, the quality of the important functions of an analyst is reduced by the arrival of a hedge fund activist, questioning the degree of social good that Jensen and Meckling (1976) argue security analysts provide. In the third essay, I examine the profitability of analysts' consensus recommendation level, conditional on a firm's synchronicity. Roll (1988), and many others, conclude that low r-squared from standard factor models, sometimes called low synchronicity, coincides with a more efficient incorporation of firm-specific information into stock prices. Under this view, analyst recommendations issued to firms with low synchronicity should be more profitable, primarily because analysts disseminate firm-specific information. I find the consensus recommendation level of analysts to be more profitable for low synchronicity firms. Moreover, this enhanced profitability is present primarily in good economic times and only in the post Regulation Fair Disclosure time period.