Buy-Side Research Slots Blossom in Europe

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U.S. sell-side research professionals eager to cross to the buy side will find more opportunities across the Atlantic.

"Demand for analysts is rising at buy-side firms in Europe, and so is the number of sell-side analysts contemplating a move," says Institutional Investor magazine. Moving to the Middle East also raises the odds of landing a buy-side research job, the story says.

The bad news is, competition among candidates is intense. Migration from sell-side to buy-side research, which picked up following the research scandals early this decade, is swelling further amid the recent market turmoil that's pummelling investment banks while leaving most asset managers and hedge funds unscathed. As a result, "There's a lot of good talent out there," recruiter Victoria True of Armstrong (International) in London told II. Candidates with previous buy-side experience have a real edge over those leaving the sell side.

Still, opportunities for would-be migrants abound. "There are still a number of U.S. hedge funds that do not have a European presence and are looking to establish one," True said. She also noted that many buy-side firms are rapidly expanding into the Middle East and are looking for analysts willing to relocate.

The magazine cites London-based hedge fund manager GLG Partners. "The buy side has become more open to absorbing and including people from the sell side - if they have strong, proven skill sets," GLG analyst Robert Donald said. One of just a "handful" of former sell-side analysts working in GLG when he moved from Citigroup in 2002, Donald said 35 - 40 percent of the firm's sector specialists today came from the sell side.

Compared with the sell side, buy-side research roles generally offer greater breadth and variety, fewer bureaucratic demands and fewer customer-service duties - but smaller paychecks. Compensation averages 30 percent lower for buy-side than sell-side analysts, according to II. (We presume those figures exclude hedge funds.)

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