Zacks Investment Research is a company based in Chicago which provides financial information, news, and analysis relevant to investors who subscribe to its services. For instance, Zacks Investment Research tracks earnings estimates, records earnings estimate revisions, and notes any changes that occur in broker recommendations on a weekly basis, such as the hold, buy, and sell recommendations made for more than 5,000 stocks at publicly traded companies. Also provided as part of Zacks service are stock quotes, stock screening, price charts, fundamentals tables, historical financials, and information on earnings surprises. Based on the information that is obtained, Zacks is able to compile reports about individual companies and reports about various industries that are of interest to institutional investors as well as individual investors of varying income levels.
This investment research firm was started in 1978 by Leonard Zacks, a Ph.D. who earned his doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As an entrepreneur, Leonard Zacks' goal was to provide investors with critical and necessary information needed to make investment decisions. At the beginning, Zacks focused on organizing, processing, and evaluating the information and research that was coming from brokerage firms in the United States. From that point, Zacks gradually grew in size and in reputation as an independent research company.
Eventually, subscription newsletters titled "Profit from the Pros" began to be sent to investors. In 1994, the firm created its own website, Zacks.com. This single website then, over time, grew into two additional websites called ZacksElite.com and PeopleandPicks.com. These websites have generated a significant amount of interest from investors. Also, Zacks started an online magazine called Zacks Financial Magazine.
Of note, Zacks Investment Research is not a large brokerage firm in its own right; rather, it is solely an independent research company. This is an important distinction. The difference between a brokerage firm and an independent research company has to do with the fact that, in sell-side brokerage firms, the research department usually functions as a service for the brokerage's investment banking and stock trading customers.
This type of model is often referred to as "soft dollar" because clients of the brokerage are not necessarily paying in a direct manner for the research. Rather, clients of brokerages are receiving the research as a sort of benefit relating to their dealings with the brokerages. Independent research firms such as Zacks Investment Research are paid solely for the research they provide. Zacks Investment Research is among the most highly respected investment research firms in the investment and finance industry.