Just came out a client meeting on the dynamics of the Equity Research industry following the implementation of the industry killer aka MiFID II. Here are a few insights:
- Due to the changes in fee structure and the quarterly evaluation of research providers by the buyside, banks are genuinely reshaping focus from churning out cookie cutter research to maximizing the quality of insights.
- Independent brokers and middle-market firms who were already competing via quality had a head start and are taking a larger market share than pre-regulation
- Greater automation is being implemented into the execution part of the product rather than research - your job is safe (or should be)
- The industry as a whole has shrunk. This was well predicted before implementation. Client's are engaging fewer research providers.
- Research depts are typically becoming Loss Leaders for larger firms. However, this is part of the Investment Banking package and, at least from today's viewpoint, provision of research is expected to continue.
- Revenues (and therefore bonuses) are increasingly unpredictable due to the research provider evaluation process. This means, in 2019 you may be expecting a top-bucket bonus, however, if your client evaluates your firm's research as the bottom bucket and underpay, you may be pretty unhappy during bonus season.
I have a couple of questions which you guys may be able to help with:
- Have you noticed a headcount increase/decrease in research departments
- Do you perceive the regulation to have positively impacted the ER career (higher quality products) or negatively impacted (less lucrative)
- If you could start your career again, given the solid credentials required to break into ER, would you choose ER now that we know how MiFID II has shaped the industry?