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Friday December 19, 2014
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The Corruption of Sid Gilman

 

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Making well over $200,000 a year at the U-M and busy with so many duties, Gilman reported almost no paid outside consulting work until the turn of the century. But since then, he's moonlighted for no fewer than eight pharmaceutical companies and several other medical research and technology firms.

In 2002, he connected for the first time with Wall Street when he signed on as a $1,000-an-hour consultant with Gerson Lehrman, the nation's top "expert network." Expert networks arose in response to a rule adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000 that made it explicitly illegal for corporate executives to give non-public information to outside parties.

Savvy investors immediately sought other ways to gain an edge in predicting a company's future prospects--and so whether its stock was likely to rise or fall. It's illegal to buy or sell stocks based on "inside" information that a company has not yet made public, but investors can do "aggressive market research."

Expert networks play matchmaker between hedge fund managers and knowledgeable parties in various fields. The networks pair up curious traders with reliable sources on the equivalent of blind dates and, with a wink and a nod, tell the parties to make sure to behave themselves.

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