More than a year and half since the Covid-19 pandemic plunged Europe into lockdown and ushered the equity research industry into a virtual environment, there are some changes on the near horizon. 

The region’s vaccine effort — sluggish at first — has now reached 70 percent of adults in Europe, according to European Union officials, and the end of the summer signals a return to the office for many employees, despite the looming Delta variant. 

This shift is poised to recalibrate the industry and its relationships once again — and finding the right balance for both research teams and their institutional investor clients will be key.  

“If you look at the situation with clients, they face all of their normal challenges,” said Nick Webb, COO at Exane BNP Paribas. “They’ve got to protect their clients’ money and deliver performance, but they’ve got lots of extra obligations that have grown exponentially in recent years, in terms of monitoring sustainability of these investments. And they now have to layer on top of that, all these operational challenges that come from Covid and I think that’s a difficult challenge for them.”

Addressing that challenge remains at the forefront for Theepan Jothilingam, head of research at Exane BNP Paribas. “We’re going to have to work with our people and our clients to find the right balance, to find a way that works without sacrificing quality of service,” he said.

It also illuminates why Exane BNP Paribas is once again the No. 1 provider in Institutional Investor’s 2020 All-Europe Research Team...

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