I don’t know quite what to make of this story, except for an admonition to my readers: if you are a male securities analyst, do not superimpose your face on the body of a woman being carried over the threshold on the cover of a major research report.
Bank of America Corp.’s securities unit fired Andrew Susser, a top-ranked analyst and head of its high- yield bond research group, after his face appeared superimposed on a woman’s body in a report sent to clients.
The 56-page report includes a front-page photograph doctored to make it appear as though Susser, wearing a black dress and high heels, is getting swept over the threshold of a hotel suite by another man. Susser, who covered the lodging and gaming industries from New York, approved publishing the report about the lodging industry entitled “Checking In,” according to people familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified.
Customers who follow Susser’s work said his dismissal on Jan. 10 may hurt the firm’s efforts to win underwriting and trading business. Last year, Banc of America Securities LLC won high-yield underwriting deals from companies he covered, including part of a $1.3 billion sale for a unit of casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. and half of MGM Mirage Inc.’s $550 million offering.
“It’s a big loss,” said Thomas Parker, who manages $2.6 billion in high-yield debt, including gaming bonds, for Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco. “He’s definitely one of the top gaming analysts. Since we play gaming bonds, we want to know what he has to say.”
Susser, 39, declined to comment when reached by telephone at his home in New York. Banc of America Securities spokesman Jeff Hershberger declined to discuss the reasons for Susser’s firing.
Susser topped Institutional Investor magazine’s ranking of high-yield analysts for lodging and gaming for the past three years.
Banc of America Securities was the fourth-biggest U.S. underwriter of high-yield debt last year, up from sixth in 2003 and eighth in 2000, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The firm’s share of the $136 billion market for high-yield sales doubled to 11 percent last year from 5.4 percent in 2000.
“He’s a very good analyst and my casino analyst who gets his reports happens to think very highly of him,” said Harry Resis, who helps manage about $550 million in high-yield bonds at Henderson Global Investors Ltd. in Chicago. “He’s obviously one of the top guys in high-yield research.”
The guy may be an unabashed genius when it comes to bond analysis, but that computer-generated image seems a little creepy to me, and I don’t even know the guy. Still, it could have been worse–he could have superimposed his face on a stripper or porn actress hard at work.
I don’t know quite what to make of this one, but found it strangely newsworthy. If I were Susser, I would have a hard time trying to verbalize “why I left my last position” in my next job interview. As always, the truth is stupider than fiction.