Fox Business News commentator Tobin Smith is out of a job after it was revealed his company, NBT Equities Research, was paid $50,000 to tout stock as a celebrity endorsement.
The investment strategist, a contributing market analyst for Fox News Channel, had his contract terminated by the cable network after it determined he appeared in a 20-page mailer and email ad campaign for Petrosonic Energy, calling it "the investment opportunity of a lifetime," MarketWatch.com reports
The network has not yet commented on Smith's dismissal. But Smith, in a text message with MarketWatch.com, said his contract was signed before Fox had instituted its current policy for its contributors.
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According to Business Insider
, which cited a company spokesperson, the Fox policy reads: “No Contributor to FBN, nor his/her firm, and/or family members are allowed to accept financial consideration of any kind whatsoever to issue research, advertisements, or to otherwise promote individual stocks or securities."
Smith has his own investment newsletter called the "Next Big Thing Investor."
The concern was over a conflict of interest with an investment broadcaster using his powerful image and influence to enhance stock buys.
MarketWatch's Chuck Jaffe, in writing about Tobin's dismissal, said investors considered a stock purchase "entirely based on Smith’s say-so, and the credibility he exudes in his Fox appearances."
Smith's influence seemed significant. After the ad campaign, Petrosonic Energy stock rose about 20 percent, MarketWatch reported. Smith had been a regular on the Fox Business segment "Bulls & Bears."
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