Groaning under the weight of massive credit-related losses, many global banks spent the past year eliminating research positions and scaling back stock coverage. Not ISI Group. The New Yorkbased independent research firm has been expanding its equity research bench and has picked up some of the Streets most highly regarded analysts.
ISIs latest hire is Heather Bellini, who joined last month from UBS and has been No. 1 in the Software sector on the All-America Research Team, IIs annual ranking of the nations leading equity analysts, since 2006. The firm also nabbed two former Merrill Lynch & Co. analysts, Stephen Sakwa (leader of last years No. 1 team in REITs) and Edward Najarian (No. 2 last year in Banks/Large-Cap).
Despite numerous concerns that sectors like banks and REITs may remain under pressure for an extended period, we concluded that their business would ultimately rebound and felt our clients would be best served if we had the top analysts covering those areas, explains Vinayak Singh, ISIs institutional sales and trading head. ISI is used to having award-winning researchers within its ranks, but these recent hires have a long way to go to match the record set by firm co-founder Ed Hyman. He has held the top spot in Economics for a mind-boggling 29 straight years.