Even if you're at the top, equity research remains a perilous place to be. The latest investment bank to hack away at its research function is CLSA, which has laid off 90 employees as it decided to "pivot" its U.S. equities business to only providing execution and trading services.
85 people remain, but Mike Mayo, one of the best known banking analysts out there, is not one of them. Mayo is known for being frank about the banks he covers, and this often results in some 'racy' exchanges with said banks' CEOs. In particular, Mayo has butted heads with J.P. Morgan, which held its investor day yesterday. As Bloomberg points out, he once asked Jamie Dimon whether clients might shift to a bank with higher capital ratios. When Dimon dismissed it, he said "That's why I'm richer than you."
Mayo turned up yesterday to J.P. Morgan's investor day, less than 24 hours after being laid off by CLSA, he announced himself as "Mike Mayo, free agent analyst" as he posed a question to CFO Marianne Lake. Mayo doesn't appear to have plans to switch to the buy-side, or accept the warm embrace of an investor relations role as everyone talks up the death of equity research.
"I’m at the top of my game, and I intend to stay in it,” he told the WSJ.
Separately, this time last week PwC partner Brian Cullinan was boasting about its long-held role as auditor of the Oscars votes, talking about how Samuel L.Jackson asked for a photo with him and the briefcase with the results. However, fresh from the scandal of mixing up the envelopes with the winner of best picture - leading to La La Land being announced when the winner was Moonlight - Cullinan has kind of been thrown under the bus by his employer. PwC said it takes "full responsibility" for the mix up...but also made it clear that Cullinan "mistakenly handed the back up envelope for actress in a leading role instead of the envelope for best picture" and that a correction wasn’t “followed through quickly enough by Mr Cullinan or his partner”.
Colleagues told the Telegraph that he "felt very, very terrible and horrible" about the error, which had left him "very upset".
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