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Matt Levine

Deutsche Bank Analyst Kept Some Doubts to Himself

But he recorded his change of heart very thoroughly.

Modern capitalism does not, as a general matter, demand that workers believe in their work in their inmost souls. Teetotalers can be bartenders, doctors can smoke, Ford salesmen can drive Hondas, or bicycles, in their private lives. Mental reservations are allowed. There are a few careers that are exceptions to this general rule of laissez faire. A loss of faith is, I gather, disqualifying for the priesthood.

Sell-side equity research is like the priesthood. If you are a sell-side research analyst in the U.S., you are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to conform your work to your inmost beliefs. "When research analysts tell clients to buy or sell a particular security, the rules require them to actually mean what they say," says the SEC's head of enforcement.