Bank analysts have begun their annual game of musical chairs, with many choosing to plop down in money management seats.
While a flurry of movement typically follows bonus-check payments at this season of the year, this time the lure of buy-side jobs seems to be a strong factor in the job merry-go-round.
Among those opting for jobs advising portfolio managers or managing funds was bank analyst Hunter Hallowell, who left Dresdner Bank to start his own money management firm, Endurance Capital LLC.
John Heffern, formerly a subprime lending specialist at Natwest Securities, joined Delaware Capital Management, Philadelphia, as a portfolio manager.
Also this year, bank analyst and strategist Alison Deans of Smith Barney Inc. bolted to Zweig Hedge Fund Group, New York, after a seven-year stint doing things "the old-fashioned way," as the Smith Barney commercials put it.
A raft of opportunities has opened up in the rapidly growing mutual fund industry for sell-side analysts hoping to put their analytic experience to work managing money, and to gain a wider variety of coverage.
While an analyst at an investment bank might cover 20 companies, an analyst on the "buy" side could cover up to 100 companies, even a whole industry.
And as job opportunities have increased, so has pay. Wall Street headhunters say that reduces the traditional disparity in compensation between the buy and sell sides. Reducing the pay disincentive may also make other attractions of the buy side even more powerful.
Many analysts-bemoaning the pressures of marketing and travel required of a sell-side analyst-say they move for the sake of a lifestyle change.
Others get fed up with the conflict between doing "pure research" and preserving corporate finance relationships for their investment bank employers.
Among analysts switching from one sell-side job to another are Salomon Brothers' Thomas Facciola, who recently moved to Lehman Brothers Inc., and Lehman's Michael Mayo, who moved to CS First Boston early this year.
And this week, analyst Merrill Ross is joining Friedman Billings Ramsay, Arlington, Va., from Wheat First Butcher Singer, Richmond, Va., to cover subprime home lending companies.