Private phone calls with managers remain an essential source of analysts’ earnings forecasts and stock recommendations – even in light of regulations limiting businesses’ selective disclosure of financial information, according to a study of 365 sell-side financial analysts shows.

More than half of the analysts surveyed by a team of accounting researchers said they make direct contact with executives of companies they cover five or more times per year. The direct contact with management is so important that one analyst said his company hired an FBI profiler to train analysts “to read management teams, to tell when they’re lying, to tell when they were uncomfortable with a question. That’s how serious this whole issue has become.”

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