Asset management giant BlackRock Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has agreed to stop surveying analysts to get an early gauge on their views, in a deal with New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman.
Under the deal, the New York-based firm has agreed to permanently discontinue the practice of systematically surveying Wall Street analysts for their opinions on firms they cover. The firm is ending this practice worldwide, not just in the U.S. It has also agreed to continue co-operating with the attorney general’s broader investigation into various forms of insider trading.
“Our agreement with BlackRock to end its global analyst survey program and co-operate with my office’s Wall Street-wide investigation into the early release of analyst sentiment is a major step forward in ensuring fairness to our financial markets and ensuring a level playing field for all investors,” said Schneiderman.
“The concept that there should be one set of rules for everyone is critical to protecting the integrity of our markets, which is why my office will continue to take action against those who provide unfair advantages to elite traders at the expense of the rest of us,” he added.
Last year, Schneiderman reached a deal with Thomson Reuters to stop selling an early release of consumer survey data to high-frequency traders. His office said today that its investigation determined that the design, timing, and structure of the surveys used by BlackRock allowed it to obtain information from analysts that could be used to “front-run” future analyst revisions.
The investigation into BlackRock’s analyst survey program was based in part on information provided by confidential whistleblowers, it notes.