Business Insider reports that the request from brokerage firm CLSA was made "almost certainly as a practical joke."
In the past, they've polled Asian fortune tellers for index targets, hired anime cartoonists to draw Japanese research, and generally love to push the boundaries between entertainment and analysis. They are a real research firm, it's just that they love to sprinkle in some hilarity every now and then as a smart marketing gimmick.
Sarah Palin is this year's big laugh for them.
"Our keynote speakers are notable luminaries who often address topics that go beyond traditional finance such as geopolitics," company spokeswoman Simone Wheeler said in a statement.
"We just felt it would be a fabulous opportunity for CLSA clients to hear from Mrs. Palin," Wheeler said, adding that CLSA approached Palin with the offer.
Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore said the story makes sense, given that Palin is hardly an investment expert: "If CLSA's purpose is comic relief in hiring her, they may get their money's worth... that's if she shows up."