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Financial Times/StarMine
Ranked #1 Global Broker,
#1 US Broker;
#2 Europe Broker and
#5 Pan-Asia Broker;
received 42 individual
analyst awards (May 2009)

Best Brokerage for stock
picking and estimate
accuracy;  captured more
than twice the awards
of the runner-up.
Seven out of 12
analysts named
to “Dazzling Dozen” 
Institutional Investor
Ranked #1 for
Pan European coverage
in the 2009 All-Europe
Research team survey

BofAML Equity Research Rating System

The BofA Merrill Lynch Equity Rating System is designed to improve investment returns and improve transparency in analysts' recommendations. Our rating system provides greater differentiation among the equity ratings within a sector and more closely aligns our rating distributions and historical stock performance. Our competitors provide clients with equity rating systems that are keyed to either: relative returns (in relation to an index such as the S&P500 or absolute expected investment returns. In contrast, our enhanced rating system is unique in that it provides clients with the best of both worlds. In essence, it is an absolute return system with a relative twist.

The BofA Merrill Lynch equity rating system combines 3 key features:

  • First, it provides enhanced transparency into analysts' views
  • Second, it provides greater differentiation among the equity ratings within a sector
  • Third, it more closely aligns rating distributions and historical stock performance

The inclusion of Price Objectives for all stocks, as well as rating distribution guidelines within coverage clusters, means that effectively, analysts rank one stock relative to another within a coverage cluster.

"Underperform" stocks are expected to have either a negative total return or have a positive total return but be the least attractive stocks in a coverage cluster - we define coverage clusters as a single analyst or two or more analysts sharing a common industry, sector, region or other classification.

This ratings system offers increased transparency and objectivity into our analyst convictions and recommendations - a unique system that fits the needs of all clients - long only, hedge funds, 130/30's and individual investors.

Equity Rating System












Details regarding BofA Merrill Lynch Equity Research Opinion key are available here.