Pity the analysts at Haitong Securities, for they have had a horrible time. They arrived at the Chinese bank last May when it bought Espirito Santo's sinking investment bank. And now, many of them have been let go - just as analysts from Nomura also flooding out onto the market.
Headhunters in London say Haitong has made a big round of redundancies in which around 50% of its equity research team (around seven people) have been cut. Research exits are understood to include Shailesh Raikundlia, a European banks analyst who previously worked for Berenberg. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register suggests Haitong has also parted company with Vicki Miller in equities sales, Peter Crane in ECM and corporate broking, and Lorenzo Duarte in ECM and DCM advisory.
Haitong has no press office to comment on the layoffs, but they mark a big reversal to its strategy last May when the bank promised to do some heavy recruiting in the City.
"They were going to build this big team. Everyone thought they'd be paying big bucks, and now they seem to have changed their mind," says one headhunter. A Haitong employee says around one third of all London employees have gone: "It's just a mess. They don't seem to know what they're doing and seem to have bought more than they bargained for."
The good news for researchers is that there is some hiring taking place - although the banks concerned are unlikely to hire from Haitong.
Goldman Sachs is said to be beefing up its research team with senior hires ahead of MiFID II. The firm is understood to have picked up Alberto Gandolfi, an MD in utilities research from UBS, and Richard Edwards, a consumer researcher from Citi. Ajay Patel, an executive director in specialist sales at UBS, is also understood to be joining Goldman, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Credit Suisse, which has been cutting elsewhere in equities, is also understood to be beefing up its research team. Recruiters say the Swiss bank has hired Carlo Tommaselli, a senior banks researcher from SocGen, along with Claire Kane, a banking analyst from RBC. Meanwhile, Barclays hired Sebastian Satz, a director in chemicals research from HSBC, earlier this year.
Under MiFID II, investors will be compelled to pay separately research. This is expected to encourage banks to build teams of senior 'big name' researchers. One recruiter says the process of "de-juniorization" appears to be underway at Goldman Sachs: "Goldman traditionally had a lot of junior researchers who were given big responsibilities early. These big hires suggest things might be changing there."