Morgan Stanley analyst quits for hot tech firm tackling huge real world problems

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MiFID II comes into force in January next year, and if you’re a not a star equity research analyst in the senior ranks, it’s likely to bring in a new era of precarious employment prospects.

Analysts have, of course, been looking for new pastures – whether that’s a comparatively safe home on the buy-side, or investor relations.

Laura Ashforth, an equity research associate focused on the software industry at Morgan Stanley, has taken a different route – joining a hot new technology company developing huge virtual simulations to solve massive real-world problems.

Ashforth joined Improbable, which creates virtual world using cloud computing of “unprecedented scale and complexity”, as a strategy analyst late last month after more than three years in equity research.

Improbable, which is based in the UK, received $502m in funding from Japan’s Softbank in May, which it will use for hiring and developing technology. The firm has big ambitions. SoftBank managing director Deep Nishar said at the time of the investment that Improbable's technology "will help us explore disease, improve cities, understand economies and solve complex problems on a previously unimaginable scale".

Improbable also has a history of hiring from investment banks. Its head of corporate, Aleksandra Laska, previously worked for Goldman Sachs’ markets business, while its chief operating officer, Peter Lipka, was formerly an analyst within its technology team and James East who works in Improbable’s enterprise division joined from the U.S. bank in August last year.

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Photo: Getty Images

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