Oz equity researchers steer clear of Spitzer fallout

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Eliot Spitzer? Who? In Australia, there may never have been a better time to go into equity research.

"The market here is just hugely equities driven," says Edmund Gill, of recruiter Hays. "It hasn't dipped and as long as China keeps growing, so will we."

Morgan Stanley's Andrew Le Lievre agrees: "We recruit researchers from Australia into Asia, and we recruit Asian researchers into our Australian offices. If we find any good talent, we hire them."

"There are LOTS of jobs," confirms Hudson's Neil Phillips. The hottest sectors are reportedly agribusiness and pharmaceuticals, but Phillips says demand is robust across the board. "It's booming at all levels."

Although plenty of equity researchers in the US lost out financially when Eliot Spitzer forced the divorce between research departments and lucrative corporate finance deals in 2002, recruiters in Australia say equity research pay is on the up. Researchers with four to five years' experience can command AU$140k to AU$160k, and higher still at top banks. Bonuses are typically in the 100% zone.

"It's a very good career move for someone who likes slicing and dicing and excavating fundamentals," Gill says.

Most equity research jobs in Oz are still in the major banks - specialist equity research boutiques remain few and far between. But Gill for one predicts they'll become a strong source of employment in years to come.

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