In a move signaling the ever-closer integration between equity research and sales, JPMorgan has announced the promotion of three of its young guns to senior positions in its Asian equity team based in Hong Kong.
Xen Gladstone will move from his present position of head of Hong Kong research and marketing to become head of ex-Japan and ex-Australia cash equity sales. The move sees Gladstone's transformation from gamekeeper to poacher. He started his career on the buy side with GT and then LGT before moving into research with ING and then JPMorgan. His ascent through the ranks has been swift and has been attributed to a keen Oxford intellect married to peerless client skills.
Taking over his role as head of equity research marketing is Charlie Dutton, who will add the duties to his present position as head of regional consumer research. Dutton is another smooth character who is equally at home with models and figures (financial) as he is with clients and as such is eminently suited to his new role. Clients also like his research, voting him and his team the third best regional consumer researchers in the recent Institutional Investor poll.
Taking over Gladstone's position as head of Hong Kong research is Steven Li, a long term Hong Kong analyst, who adds these duties to his current roles as head of Hong Kong strategy and conglomerates.
Gladstone replaces Michael Bugel as head of equity sales, who is taking time off to be with his family.
However pleased Gladstone, Dutton and Li will be with their promotions, the news confirms that they will not get the nod for the top job as head of Asian equity research. That post is being vacated by Peter Redhead, who is moving to London to be JP Morgan's head of European equity research.
Sources in JP Morgan confirm that interviews are underway and they are looking "for the best person to carry on Peter's work."
That work has been very good, with JPMorgan's research team moving from sixth to third place in the recent Institutional Investor rankings. The core of this success has been the ever-closer union between research and sales. In some ways this is a natural move considering that research is no longer allowed to talk to investment banking, and as such really must make a compelling economic reason for its existence. However, the current moves look to be the beginnings of a wholesale reverse takeover of the sales functions at JPMorgan by the research department. Some might say that would be like the lunatics taking over the asylum, while others say that if analysts can do the sales function as well, then the bank can eliminate a large portion of its cost base.
"Our strategy is to increase the firm's overall ranking and market share with every one of our principal clients," wrote Redhead in a recent internal memo. "To this end we will work as a fully unified sales and research team focusing on account management and individual responsibilities."
The new promotions come shortly after JP Morgan also announced new hires in Korea and Thailand. In Korea, the firm nabbed SH Lee from UBS to become co-head of Korean equities. In Thailand, the firm hired the well-regarded Sriyan Pietersz, formerly of SG, who will run the Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines regional research strategy as well as being head of Thai research.