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It's dark times for equity researchers, but one for is offering some sanctuary.

Top BNP Paribas economist re-emerges at independent firm that is HIRING research analysts

One of BNP Paribas’ top economists, who departed the bank when it laid off 233 people in London last year has re-emerged at independent research firm that is making an effort to woo top investment banking researchers.

Ken Wattret, a managing director and senior European economist at BNP Paribas, is now a managing director in macro research at TS Lombard. He joined the firm earlier this month, following a 16-year stint at BNP Paribas in various senior economics roles. He was latterly co-head of European and CEEMA market economics.

In these dark times for investment banking research teams, many top analysts and economists are looking for alternative options. For most, this means a move across to the buy-side, but there are also a select group of players who are putting research at the centre of their business models.

Think Berenberg, which has plans to add an additional 30-50 analysts in the U.S this year and is still hiring in London, Exane, which is still hiring in London, or TS Lombard, which is something of a sanctuary for investment banking analysts.

TS Lombard is the relatively new research house that resulted from the merger of Lombard Street Research and Trusted Sources in August last year. It plans to take advantage of the ‘unbundling’ of equity research under MiFID II regulations, which it believes offers opportunities to niche players free from the potential conflicts of interests at large banks.

It’s been actively trying to hire investment banking analysts. TS Lombard is offering analysts flexibility on compensation, hours and working style, according to Financial News. This includes a “broadly equal” share of the revenues their work generates and the ability to work part-time or on the road.

Wattret left BNP Paribas in August last year after the bank announced plans to cut 233 jobs in London. It targeted senior employees within its securitisation team – around 17 people – as well as back office and corporate banking roles. However, Wattret’s job was put at risk in May, according to sources close to the situation.

Economists, analysts and strategists at investment banks have been cut back in recent years as regulatory costs and falling revenues made it difficult to justify such large teams. According to figures from research firm Coalition, the number of analysts in the top investment banks fell to 5,981 last year – down from 6,282 in 2015.

However, there are still exceptions within the large banks. Nomura – which closed its equities business in Europe – hired Andrew Cates as European head of economics from Royal Bank of Scotland earlier this month. Goldman Sachs also hired Johnny Vo as a managing director in financial services research in February. He was previously a managing director in FIG investment banking at RBC Capital Markets.


Photo: Getty Images

AUTHORPaul Clarke

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