Jefferies managing director quits to start independent research boutique

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A managing director at Jefferies has left to start his own research boutique targeting hedge funds and institutional investors.

Rod Manalo, a former managing director at Jefferies in London, has started Manalo LLP, which offers research and advice to the buy-side on announced M&A deals.

Manalo’s decision to launch a research boutique comes at a time when other senior analysts have decided to go it alone in anticipation of increased demand for in-depth research following the ‘unbundling’ of equity research through MiFID II regulations.

These firms have been increasing over the two years, but have had mixed success. While some, such as CM Research run by former Nomura analyst Cyrus Mewawalla, are well established, senior analysts who dipped their toes into going independent have returned to roles in large firms.

Andy Howard, who left Goldman Sachs to start his own research boutique Didas Research in 2013, joined Schroders to head up its sustainable research division in February.

Manalo was a managing director at Jefferies who headed up its European and Asian event-driven strategy division. He was previously a senior merger arbitrate and special situations strategist at Deutsche Bank.

Ongoing delays to the implementation of MiFID II – now scheduled for January 2018 – together with a lack of clarity on how to price research, has made life difficult for independent research houses.

A middle ground appears to be working for a small, focused boutique equity house. Berenberg has continued to hire equity researchers, while Autonomous, Redburn and Arete have done well.

The buy-side, of course, has long been an alternative for researchers fearful of fewer opportunities in investment banking. However, Nomura’s highly-ranked equity research team – which was disbanded when it quit European equity research – have often found opportunities in large banks including Jefferies, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Natixis.

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