Goldman Sachs has hired back its former head of insurance equity research five years after he departed to reinvent himself in M&A at a smaller investment bank.
Johnny Vo left Goldman Sachs in 2011 to take a managing director role focused on insurance within the financial institutions investment banking group at RBC Capital Markets in September 2011. Over five years later, and he’s just returned to equity research at Goldman as a managing director
Vo left RBC Capital Markets in September 2015, along with Robin Mackie, who was head of the European FIG team at the bank. Since then, he’s been working as a strategy and M&A consultant at Old Mutual Group, but rejoined Goldman Sachs in January.
Vo’s move is unusual for a number of reasons. Firstly, he switched to working in IBD after 11 years in equity research roles at Merrill Lynch, ABN Amro, Fox Pitt, Kelton and Goldman Sachs. Research has been a perilous place to work since the financial crisis, since when investment banks halved the number of analysts in their ranks. Even now, banks continue to chip at the numbers of analysts, economists and strategists they employ. It's therefore an unusual decision to return to research at a time of contraction, even if the 'unbundling' of research under MiFID II regulations means some investment banks have been investing in senior analysts.
Secondly, senior recruits at Goldman have been a relative rarity in the past few months. Not only has the bank been rolling out layoffs, but its bi-annual promotion of partners took place in November last year, so many managing directors who didn’t make the cut have been moving on since.
Then there’s the fact that Vo has come back into the fold at Goldman Sachs. Not many people who leave tend to return, let alone succeed in moving into an entirely new business area.
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