Newsletter Issue #648: If They Only Gave Tests for Industry Analysts

April 30th, 2012

Do you want to cut someone’s hair? Well, there’s a license for that, and even a test to demonstrate that you have a flair for scissors and combs. Certainly a lawyer can’t put up a sign on an office and defend you in case you get a traffic ticket, or are arrested and charged with committing a crime, without passing a bar exam to demonstrate their basic competence.

But if you want to advise people about whether a particular high-profile company stands to rise or fall, or just hang on, there’s really no need to prove you know what you’re talking about. If people read what you have to say, you’re hired. If you predict that a company will fail, and they actually succeed beyond anyone’s imagination, it’s not as if you will suddenly be called on the carpet to explain your failure to deliver.

At least it doesn’t seem that way. You hear the same old analysts plying their trade year after year, making unfounded pronouncements about all sorts of matters, and getting things wrong over and over again. But so long as people believe them, or at least read what they have to say, they keep their jobs.

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