BarCap and Macquarie keep equity research hiring alive

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Barclays Capital and Macquarie are hiring equity researchers, which is probably more than can be said for anywhere else at the moment.

According to Macquarie's own website, the Australian bank appears to be pushing ahead with plans to grow its European cash equities franchise, and is interested in hearing from equity researchers of any ilk, but particularly those of a metals and mining or oil and gas background.

Barclays Capital is also recruiting equity researchers for a new European cash equities division, and is reputedly doing so 'hand over fist'. "They've taken four or five teams, including Lehman's top-ranked oils team," says one research-focused headhunter. "They've been paying some generous guarantees."

BarCap and Macquarie join boutiques like KBC Peel Hunt and Liberum Capital, which have been stocking up on equity research expertise in the past few months.

Predictably, the appetite for researchers is waning as the end of the year approaches, but headhunters appear optimistic that it will resume in the New Year. "It's not going to be as prolific as it has been, but there are still people who will be interested in recruiting," says Jonathan Evans, chairman of search firm Sammons Associates.

And now for the bad news...

Unfortunately, hiring at BarCap and Macquarie is unlikely to mop up all the equity researchers let go from rivals as equities revenues plummet in line with an anticipated 50% reduction in fees earned from hedge funds.

Goldman and Citigroup have already cut researchers, and the few redundancies announced at Cazenove are expected to affect researchers disproportionately. "People are right-sizing their business with the view that client revenues will be significantly reduced," says Simon Vaughan Edwards at search firm Correlate.

The most employable equity researchers of 2009 will probably be those who specialise in oil and gas stocks. The least employable may well be in the consolidating financial services sector.

As ever, luckless equity researchers who can't penetrate BarCap or Macquarie can always try the buyside. Last week, it emerged that Old Mutual had hired two UK equity analysts, one of whom had previously worked at Citigroup.

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