Council of Advisors
March 23, 2005 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I know this is a longshot, but has anybody ever been contacted by a group calling itself the "Council of Advisors" from an investment firm called the Gerson Lehrman Group?

They want to pay me to provide them (or their clients) with non-confidential information about a former employer of mine who is probably about to go public. Google only provides limited info. Should I run in the opposite direction? Is this a scam?
posted by punkfloyd to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
They appear to be a legitamate (i.e., they really exist) firm. I have no advice as to whether you should accept their offer but provide this information so that you can learn more about them. You may email me if you would like additonal articles.

"The Doctor Is In And, Increasingly, Advising Investors," WSJ, December 3, 2004:

Reports on the use of advice from medical experts and physicians by hedge funds and investment companies to make informed decisions on healthcare related stocks. Resignation of Eric Topol, a chairman at Cleveland Clinic, from the hedge fund Great Point Partners LLC, which invested in Merck; Types of services given by doctors to investors; Use of the advice of doctors by Leerink Swan & Co. and Gerson Lehrman Group.

"40 Under 40: Mark Gerson, 30; CEO, Gerson Lehrman Group"
Crain's New York Business, Jan 27, 2003:

The Gerson Lehrman Group, which published industry reports for money managers, was a dud when it was founded in 1998. Rather than give up, Chief Executive Mark Gerson met with an average of 10 potential clients a week. The driven networker learned that Wall Streeters want access to industry experts, not more reading material.

He changed the company's strategy-and its fortunes. Gerson Lehrman has grown from Mr. Gerson and co-founder Thomas Lehrman to a staff of 43 serving 274 customers, who pay as much as $500,000 a year to be hooked up with the firm's roster of experts. Last year, sales hit $25 million, and the company was profitable.

Mr. Gerson's politics have won him attention from such leading conservative forces as George Will, who wrote a Newsweek column about him, and the Manhattan Institute. Last summer, Mr. Gerson became the youngest person ever to be elected to that think tank's board of directors.

He learned to be flexible early on. Growing up with left-leaning parents, the Short Hills, N.J., native always assumed he was a liberal. But working summers during high school at a day camp for the mentally handicapped changed his mind.

Many of the counselors were Republicans. Exposure to them made Mr. Gerson a passionate conservative. He has written one book and edited another on the neo-conservative political movement. He penned a third, In the Classroom, describing his experiences as a teacher in an inner-city school.

"Mark is one of those rare men, whether young or old, who combines a great passion for ideas with a tremendous propensity for entrepreneurship," says Roger Hertog, chairman of the Manhattan Institute.
posted by mlis at 5:52 PM on March 23, 2005

Thank you MLIS.

ikkyu2, WTF?
posted by punkfloyd at 7:05 PM on March 23, 2005

punkfloyd, I am not familiar with US libel law, but it might pay to get some advice on what liability you will have. Will these guys indemnify you for anything you say? It would also pay to review any contracts or agreements you signed with your former employer that might limit your freedom to talk about them.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:12 PM on March 23, 2005

FWIW, I have been a Council member for about a year. I've had no issue, other than the occasional analyst trying to get me to go beyond the bounds of confidentiality. A simple "I'll not answer that question" usually suffices.

As far as I'm concerned, they are legit (and the checks clear!)

I do agree with IAJS that you should check any agreements you signed with your former employer before you sign up.
posted by Expat at 11:52 PM on March 23, 2005

thanks i_am_joe's_spleen and Expat.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:15 AM on March 24, 2005

GLG is entirely legitimate. A piece of advice I'd give you is set your rate high. Their clients are used to paying $500-$1000 an hour for professional advice from their lawyers, bankers and strategy consultants; you won't land a single engagement because you price yourself cheap -- you'll simply leave money on the table.
posted by MattD at 5:24 AM on March 24, 2005

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