Headhunters’ Hit List

How the Wall Street recruiting game changed forever with the release of the All-America Research Team.

Illustration by Kevin Van Aelst.

Illustration by Kevin Van Aelst.

A deeper dive into how II’s enduring ranking of Wall Street analysts changed recruiters’ games. For the full background story, see:

“The Plot to Overthrow the All-America Research Team”

It wasn’t just the teamers, their teams, their firms, their spouses, their children, and their favorite charities (and II) that reaped the riches of the AART. For executive recruiters, it was a gold mine — or, rather, a shopping list. For many years, search firm Hadley Lockwood placed gatefold spreads in the October issue, the double-length pages opening out as a reminder that it was open season on top-ranked analysts. One ad featured a Wall Streeter in red suspenders in a semi-fetal position, evoking Burt Reynolds’ infamous nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan. And like Cosmo in the ’70s, II was at the center of a revolution, both reporting on and instigating it. Or so believed Curtis Lockwood, founder and CEO of Hadley Lockwood.

II was the bible in my world, the benchmark. When it started, it was revolutionary for a publication to commit itself to financial services.” The list, he explains, established a market for analysts. “Until the AART, none of us really had any idea of the value of a research analyst.” Or, for that matter, the value-add of research. “It upped the ante on quality,” reflects David Wachtel, II’s publisher from 1987 to 1997. “Gil made the Street think about the service insights and responsiveness of the analysts, where these were previously incidental. And he did it first, fully realizing if he didn’t get out with it, someone else would.”