The Asian Nikkei Review posted an interesting piece suggesting that good looking female analysts tend to get better access to information from Chinese listed corporates. The study took a “sample of 89,056 earnings forecasts made in 2005-2014 by 2,328 Chinese analysts to consider how their physical attractiveness might relate to their success in acquiring accurate information and making better financial forecasts. The analysts came from 102 brokerages, including the largest ones in China…raters from different educational backgrounds, occupations, income levels and social experience scored the analysts, using headshots from the website of the Securities Association of China, on a five-point scale, with 5 reserved for the most attractive. The raters were asked to use the average person in the Chinese population, rather than the sample group of analysts, as the benchmark in grading attractiveness…The evidence gathered clearly suggest that attractive financial analysts are better able to acquire sensitive information from Chinese company management teams. Compared with their less attractive counterparts, they are more likely to gain advance access to information on pending significant corporate events, and they are more likely to issue a stock recommendation in the quarter before the public announcement of a restructuring, signing of a major contract or an earnings warning. Consequently, they are able to produce more informative stock recommendations.”
While this study is somewhat superficial (no pun intended) to suggest good looks somehow override the intelligence of the analysts in question at least I have an excuse to see why my career as a financial analyst went the way it did. It won’t be a lie if I believe it!