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Berenberg has nabbed this top financials analyst from Goldman Sachs

Under MiFID II, the smaller the better.

Berenberg is busy hiring analysts from larger investment banks, taking advantage of their retreat from equity research as MiFID II looms. Its most recent recruit is Chris Turner, Goldman Sachs’ lead analyst for asset management and exchanges.

Sources say Turner, an executive director in equity research at Goldman who built out the coverage of its diversified financial stocks – mainly asset managers and stock exchanges – is set to join Berenberg in a similar role next week.

He spent over ten years at Goldman Sachs within its speciality finance research division, and was its only analyst covering the asset management and exchanges at the bank.

Smaller banks like Exane and Berenberg have been building their equity research units while larger firms cut back. MiFID II requires bank to break out the costs of research from other trading charges, and while most asset managers have said that they're willing to absorb these costs - rather than pass them on to clients - large investment banks have been low-balling their prices and cutting down their ranks of researchers. Analysts who have made the switch suggest that life is better at an independent firm committed to building out equity research.

“Big banks tend to suspend research coverage whenever there’s an M&A deal in which they’re involved, which is precisely when the buy-side needs it most. This will be a big problem under MiFID II when buy-side clients are paying for research directly,” says one bulge bracket analyst who switched to a smaller bank recently.

He contends that analysts are therefore better off working for independent firms without this M&A conflict. Meanwhile, big banks will need to chip away at their analyst ranks even more. “Under MiFID II, the buy-side will want one analyst who covers a sector globally, rather than patching together two or three regional analysts,” says the analyst.

Analysts at large investment banks have also increasingly been moving considering their career options. The buy-side has managed to capture an increasing number of top-ranked analysts. Chintan Joshi, co-head of the European banks research at Nomura, joined hedge fund Abaco Asset Management in July, for example. Or, they're switching out into roles related to the industry they cover - Goldman Sachs MD and lead Apple analyst, Simona Jankowski, quit for an investor relations role at tech hardware company NVIDIA.

Berenberg has certainly continued its push to hoover up analysts in London in a recruitment drive that’s been ongoing for 18 months. In May, it hired Charles Weston, who was CFO at biotech firm Genomics, as a senior analyst along with Ian Osburn from Cantor Fitzgerald and four other mid-market analysts, according to Reuters.

David Mortlock, Berenberg’s head of corporate and investment banking in the UK told us previously that it planned to add five-10 people for its UK corporate business this year, and that it had upped its graduate recruitment to 25-30 starting in October.


Image: Getty Images

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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