Friday, March 11, 2005

Bank hopes its blog helps find next big thing

IHT: "Blogging has transformed political commentary, rattled the media business and inundated the Internet. Does it have a place on Wall Street?

ThinkEquity Partners, a boutique investment bank in San Francisco, was going to find out on Thursday by introducing a Web log. The firm, which specializes in technology and health care, is seeking to make its investment research department - an albatross at most Wall Street firms - relevant. ThinkEquity is betting that the blog will attract analysts, bankers, investors, venture capitalists and anyone else interested in talking about growth investing, helping the company generate ideas.

The firm's research is available to all and, once registered, anyone can post feedback on the site. The blog can be found at

Michael Moe, co-founder of ThinkEquity and former director of global growth-stock research at Merrill Lynch, compared the idea to the Zagat Surveys of restaurants.

Moe said he got the idea from Tony Perkins, a founder and former editor of the magazine Red Herring, who has started AlwaysOn, a media company that is using blogs to discuss business and technology issues. The blog format can transform research from a document into a discussion.

Regulation FD, or fair disclosure, requires companies in the United States to disclose material information to all investors at once rather than a select few. That rule stripped analysts of one of their chief assets: access to management and, ideally, information that management would give to them first. At the same time, regulators are working hard to find violations.

In mid-January, the NASD, formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers, fined an analyst at Fulcrum Partners, a boutique institutional research firm, $75,000 for perpetuating a rumor. Moe said his firm's compliance officer had vetted the blog and found that it did not present any regulatory obstacles.

An official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, who asked not to be identified, said the blog did not appear to violate any rules but would probably require more disclosures."

No comments: