Did small investors benefit from the Global Settlement?
Responding to the allegedly biased research reports issued by large investment banks, the Global Research Analyst Settlement and related regulations went to great lengths to weaken the conflicts of interest faced by investment bank analysts. In this paper, I investigate the effects of these changes on small and large investor confidence and on trading profitability. Specifically, I examine abnormal trading volumes generated by small and large investors in response to security analyst recommendations and the resulting abnormal market returns generated. I find an overall increase in investor confidence in the post-regulation period relative to the pre-regulation period consistent with a reduction in existing conflicts of interest. The change in confidence observed is particularly striking for small traders. I also find that small trader profitability has increased in the post-regulation period relative to the pre-regulation period whereas that for large traders has decreased. These results are consistent with the Securities and Exchange Commission's primary mission to protect small investors and maintain the integrity of the securities markets.