StanChart pares, shuffles research heads

The British bank has laid off its head of global research and chief economist amid pressure on investors' research budgets. It has also replaced its global head of structuring.
StanChart pares, shuffles research heads

Standard Chartered has pared and shuffled its research team in a move the bank said will simplify the team structure and create greater efficiency, AsianInvestor has learned.

David Murray, head of global research based in Singapore, and Marios Maratheftis, chief economist based in Dubai, are leaving the bank. In addition, the British firm’s former global head of structuring, Raghavan Rajagopalan, has departed and been replaced in Singapore.

The moves come amid ongoing widespread cuts in the banking industry, with research functions shrinking ahead of Europe’s second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid II) coming into force next year.

The new rules will effectively ban free sell-side research, making asset manager and owners more choosy about how they spend their research budgets. Banks’ equity research teams are expected to be hardest hit, but fixed income research staff have also seen cuts.

StanChart does not have equity research personnel, having closed down its equities division at the start of 2015. 

David Mann: promoted

Singapore-based David Mann, previously chief economist for Asia, is now chief economist and head of economics research, replacing Maratheftis. Mann will work closely with Eric Robertsen, head of research and strategy for foreign exchange, rates and commodities.

Murray will not be directly replaced. He and Maratheftis are on garden leave.

Murray has been with StanChart for 11 years, including eight as head of equity research before his latest role. Prior to that he spent 12 years at Deutsche Bank. 

Maratheftis had been chief economist at StanChart since April 2012 and before that head of research for the western hemisphere.

A StanChart spokesman told AsianInvestor: “We have simplified the research team structure to create greater efficiency and align to client needs. Our economic coverage will have greater focus on key regions and markets where we have strong differentiation.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Donne is StanChart's new global head of structuring, having joined in Singapore in September as head of private-side financing. He previously worked at Osiris Group, a frontier-market investment firm, and before that spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs. 

Donne spent most of his career focused on large, strategic financing for emerging-market sovereigns, quasi-sovereigns and corporates, according to his LinkedIn page.

Mifid II is expected to reduce sell-side revenues as it will effectively ban free research and thus put pressure on fund houses’ spending budgets. A McKinsey & Co report in June estimated that banks would cut $1.2 billion of investment on research as clients become pickier about what they pay for.

Under the new rules, fund managers will have to either provide their clients with itemised bills, splitting research apart from dealing costs, or pay for research separately themselves.

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