In HK over the past 7 days and it is fair to say that MiFID2 regulations are surplus to requirements. ‘Tis the season to highlight one’s own relevance. Nailed to the front door of most brokers are appeals to pester clients to vote in the Institutional Investor (II) survey.
Stupidity is self regulating. In a world which enforces ‘know your client’ (KYC) rules, sell-side brokers use January to chase and destroy what little value added is left over. Sales people and research analysts pan handle them for II votes. Yes even the brokers ranked 13th plead with clients to rate them as more useful than they really are.
So in reality, instead of trying to help clients make informed judgements to grow funds under management to increase the likelihood of trading liquidity, the broking community wastes countless silver bullets trying to manipulate a survey that hopefully fools their upper management that the outlook is bright.
The ability to plunge new depths is growing. One analyst from Daiwa took a video of his dancing skills to put on YouTube as a way to gain attention to win votes. To his credit he came in 3rd ranked. Although one could argue his analytical acumen took a back seat to his moon walking.
However nothing beats my former sales colleague who entered the name of a mechanical monkey (named Monkey Marc) as M. Marc in an II type survey. Clients were only too happy to make him the #1 stock picker in Japan. It was only when they went to the award ceremony when the Survey host realized the joke was on them. It went a step further when it was discovered that M. Marc’s mechanical legs tapping on a numeric keyboard allowed him to actually be credited as the best stock picker.
While many in finance play themselves as the consummate professionals, perhaps it is now a given that the II survey now allows clients to consume entertainment without having to fill in lengthy compliance forms to justify it. As the title says – stupidity is self regulating!