Pay to Play Still Extends to Wall Street Analysts?

Interesting one-liner in the South Jersey Courier Post coverage of local darling of bank analysts, Commerce Bank (NYSE: CBH). Story about the shareholders’ meeting mentions how the executives tried to deflect questions about the recent convictions of two bank executives in the pay-to-play corruption trial of Philadelphia City Treasurer. The story then mentions that the company’s chairman, Vernon Hill, “also confirmed the bank sponsors seminars by Jim Cramer, a commentator on TheStreet.com who is a Commerce booster.”

OK, let me get this straight.

Jim Cramer, a guy who holds himself out as an independent expert on various stocks, and who tells his paying clients they should invest in Commerce because he thinks it’s a good investment, is on the company payroll, in the form of a sponsorship fee for seminars he conducts — seminars that he charges people to attend, and at which he probably also touts Commerce’s stock?

Nothing like independent financial advisors, is there?

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