Bidding war for research analysts reaches boiling point

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While the domestic shares market continues to bubble away, there are signs that those who analyse the stocks within the market have evaporated.

But with guaranteed bonuses and higher salaries back in fashion, Fiona Weeks, a consultant with Jon Michel Executive Search, says this candidate-tight market - from junior through to senior roles - has seen applicants being lured across from areas outside pure research.

"If we're looking for an infrastructure research analyst, then we might look for candidates with a banking and project finance background," Weeks says. "Similarly, for a property analyst, we might look for someone who is a valuer or who works for a direct property fund," she says.

Asset managers are also more than happy to hire offshore research analysts, but Weeks says that once again there is a shortage of suitable applicants, especially in sectors such as retail and media.

The current shortage of analysts also raises the question about whether there has been an increase in companies poaching staff from competitors. Weeks says that although company switching and team lift-outs have occurred, at some point you simply run out of people to headhunt.

Having said this, the most recent 'round robin' has resulted in the Citigroup property team move over to Goldman Sachs, a research analyst from Deutsche bank heading over to Credit Suisse and the Citigroup healthcare team finding a new home at UBS.

Aggressive bidding means higher salaries

When demand outstrips supply, pay invariably goes up. "I have six outstanding research roles at the moment - not only are the base salaries very good but bonuses are also guaranteed," Weeks adds.

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