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The specific types, direction, and scope of analyses performed by financial analysts are many and varied, depending on the industry, the employer or client, and the analyst's training and years of experience, but there are two main types of analysts: buy-side analysts and sell-side analysts. Buy-side analysts conduct research to track down desirable investments, usually for money management firms (e.g., mutual, hedge, or pension funds; insurance companies; and nonprofit organizations with large endowments). The research is used solely for the firm's purposes in the hopes of turning a profit after purchase. If the firm makes money from the buy-side analyst's investment recommendation, it's likely the analyst will be compensated. Sell-side analysts (also known as sales analysts or Wall Street analysts) similarly conduct research to track down desirable investments, but do so for brokerage firms. These investment recommendations ("buy," "sell," or "hold") are passed on to a firm's clients and also the public. The firm makes a commission based on customer orders rather than investment performance. The more orders that come in, the more money the firm is likely to pay the analyst.
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