Sell Side vs. Buy Side – Wall Street Prep

You’ll often hear finance professionals describe their role as being either on the “sell side” or on the “buy side.” As is the case with a lot of finance jargon, what this exactly means depends on the context.

Sell side refers primarily to the investment banking industry. It refers to a key function of the investment bank — namely to help companies raise debt and equity capital and then sell those securities to investors such as mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, endowments and pension funds.

The buy side naturally refers to those institutional investors. They are the investors who buy the securities.

A related function by the sell side is to facilitate buying and selling between investors of securities already trading on the secondary market.

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By Patricia Collins
Patricia Collins Manager of Marketing, Operations, and External Relations Patricia Collins