An analyst joined Gartner from an IT Services company but his “coverage area” was not at all related to IT Services. About a year later, his coverage area changed and he is now covering IT Services. He asked me if he had to sell his stock in his former employer’s company.
The answer is yes. Gartner has a policy against analysts owning stock in any companies within their coverage areas. Even if this stock was granted during years of service and has been owned for a long time, that analyst had to divest himself of the shares in a timely manner (if his spouse owns the same kind of stock, that has to be sold, too).
So what? Stock ownership could create an enormous conflict of interest. It’s important for clients to know that analysts don’t have any vested financial interest in the companies they analyze or those companies’ competitors.