Star power: Feng shui brokerages draw ire of Chinese regulators

Star-crossed stock brokers in China have been told to stop using ‘feng shui’ to predict market trends after the market regulator issued a stern warning against the practice.

Star-crossed stock brokers in China have been told to stop using ‘feng shui’ to predict market trends after the market regulator issued a stern warning against the practice.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission cautioned it has “zero tolerance” for dodgy dealings, singling out some brokerages’ worrying habit of using feng shui in their professional work.

Though the regulator stopped short of naming names, it said some brokerages had been caught applying principles from the ancient practice to forecasts, research and even financial advice.

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art that practitioners use to determine how to arrange spaces in order to allow the flow of positive ‘qi’ – a life force or energy that flows through all things.

Although believers argue that designing their homes and lives around feng shui’s principles will bring them prosperity, the regulator is less convinced of its powers and has issued warning letters to at least two brokerages in the past over their use of the art in financial matters.

The warning comes amid a period of heightened volatility on the Chinese market.

The Zodiac Picker

While feng shui finance might not be recommended by regulators, there’s certainly an audience for it.

Hong Kong-based brokerage and investment firm CLSA – which operates across more than 21 locations in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US – publishes a jocular ‘Feng Shui Index’ each year.

The index uses Chinese astrology to predict movements on the Hang Seng index, using the market’s launch date as a ‘birthday’ and forecasting performance based on its star chart.

This year, CLSA expects the market to go through many “unforeseen changes” due to imbalances in elemental energies. 

Don’t expect those more familiar with the Western Zodiac to miss out on this cosmic trend, either. Just prior to the onset of the pandemic, US-based art collective MSCHF launched an app that provides users with a portfolio of six stocks picked based on their “stellar compatibility”.

“We posit that the same astrological influences that determine the predilections and compatibility of individuals should apply to companies, which are, after all, composed of people and legally considered person-like entities with their own discrete ‘birth’ dates and behavioural patterns,” the group said in a whitepaper for the app, Bull & Moon.

“Our research attempts to generalise the relationships and patterns observable between different astrological signs to a holistic picture of investment compatibility, and therefore the likelihood of financial return, between individual investors and a set of publicly traded stocks.”

MSCHF themselves are no stranger to controversy, having infamously released a set of 666 custom Nike shoes that each featured a small amount of blood donated by rapper Lil Nas X back in 2020.

The group sold every pair of the shoes in under a minute, before being promptly sued by Nike for copyright infringement – an outcome their horoscopes no doubt failed to mention.


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