SMU no longer employs assistant finance professor who allegedly made false claims about academic work

It was not revealed if she resigned or was fired.

Belmont Lay | May 07, 2022, 03:23 AM

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An assistant professor of finance from the Singapore Management University (SMU) was discovered to have provided false academic claims resulting in her employment with the university to be ceased with effect from May 1, 2022.

However, it is not clear if Margaret Zhu was fired or had resigned.

The Business Times broke the news of Zhu's departure.

An SMU spokesperson said on May 6 in response to media queries that it is reviewing its vetting procedures on academic writing.

The spokesperson said: "The university had sought to validate some concerns we had in this particular case and we concluded that some of the individual’s academic claims were not accurate."

Zhu's profile on the SMU website was no longer up as of May 6.

SMU added: "SMU will review our vetting procedures on academic writing and address any gaps to prevent such incidents from recurring."

What were the falsified claims?

Zhu had allegedly lied about receiving conditional acceptances for two papers from the Journal of Finance and Review of Financial Studies.

The two papers are respectively titled, "Real Effects of Corporate Hedging", and "Corporate Derivatives Hedging in the Past Two Decades".

A blogger, Christopher Brunet, dug into issue and sent emails to the two journals to check if Zhu's papers had indeed received conditional acceptances.

He was prompted to send his queries after a tip-off about Zhu's alleged falsified claims surfaced in a thread on Economics Job Market Rumours, according to BT.

Papers not accepted: Journals

Brunet revealed both the statements he received from the journals in response to his queries, as well as receiving confirmation from the two publications that Zhu's papers had not been accepted at all.

He wrote on his own Substack platform:

“She does not [have a conditional acceptance]. In more detail: This paper is not, and was never, conditionally accepted at the JF.”

— Statement from Journal of Finance

“She does not have a conditional acceptance at RFS. In more detail: This paper is not, and was never, conditionally accepted at the RFS.”

— Statement from Review of Financial Studies

Zhu's former employer, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has also removed mentions of the two publications she previously claimed to have been conditionally accepted.

Zhu's credentials

Zhu's LinkedIn page stated that she joined SMU in July 2021.

She was listed as an assistant professor of finance for The Chinese University of Hong Kong from September 2019 to July 2021.

Prior to that, she was listed as an assistant professor for City University of Hong Kong from August 2011 to August 2019.

An archived version of her CV is available for viewing here.

Top photos via Margaret Zhu's LinkedIn