An equity research managing director just left Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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A senior equity researcher has left Bank of America Merrill (BAML).

David Hayes, a London-based equity research managing director, who was heading the European team covering consumer staples such as food, tobacco, and household items, left the bank earlier this month according to his LinkedIn profile.

His departure comes at a time when the threat of cuts in equity research looms large over investment banks due to MiFID II, which came into effect this January.

With asset managers now being charged for research under the new regulations, and research spending allegedly down by $300m this year, it is presumed that the cuts in equity research would be inevitable. However, according to Zaki Ahmed, director of equity-focused headhunter Financial Search Limited, big banks unexpectedly have kept their equity research teams intact so far.

Instead, researchers themselves have been leaving in fright and finding jobs on the buy-side or in investor relations. In May, for example, three senior equity researchers, Simon Weeden, Andrew Benson and Mike Tyndall, left Citigroup in London.

Hayes did not respond to a request for comment and it's not clear what he plans to do next (although rumour has it he's off to SocGen). He joined BAML in mid-2016 from Nomura after the Japanese bank cut its equities business in Europe. Hayes began his career in 1995 as a management consultant and moved to British Telecommunications as a corporate finance manager three years later. He joined Lehman Brothers in 2000 as a senior vice president and equity analyst and remained there till the firm filed bankruptcy in September 2008. A month later, he joined Nomura, where he spent seven and a half years before moving to BAML.

Equities revenues at Bank of America increased by 3% year-on-year in the third quarter. At Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley they were up 8% and 7% respectively.

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