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Exane has a certain appeal to equity researchers looking to escape big banks.

A Goldman Sachs-groomed equity researcher left for Exane

Joshua Mills is clearly pretty smart. The Cambridge University graduate got a double first in history from the university before joining Goldman Sachs in 2012. At Goldman he rose seamlessly through the ranks to become an executive director in telecoms services in 2018. Eighteen months after his promotion, however, Mills is moving on.

Mills is joining Exane. His LinkedIn profile says he turned up this month as an executive director in European telecoms research, based in London. Mills' arrival at the French bank comes after Exane ranked third as best overall broker in this year's Extel Survey, and first for best developed Europe broker. Two of the three top Extel-ranked equity researchers in 2019 were at Exane. Goldman, meanwhile, ranked outside the top three in every category.

Exane has been consolidating its position in equities under MiFID II. The French bank has also been taking advantage of the pain at Deutsche Bank and has sucked in several of DB's equity research staff in the past year, including Paul Reynolds, Deutsche's former head of equity research for EMEA.

Goldman Sachs has also been trying to improve its equity research capabilities in the MiFID II landscape. Last year, for example, Goldman hired Graig Suvannavejh, a veteran biotech analyst from Chicago, for its London office. “Goldman traditionally had a lot of junior researchers who were given big responsibilities early," said one recruiter at the time - adding that the U.S. bank seemed to be focusing on bigger name researchers in order to attract trading clients under MiFID II.

Mills' exit may have left a hole at Goldman. The firm has been advertising for a New York-based equity researcher covering Mills' beat. However, that role was only at associate level.

In a sign that Goldman is trying hard to grow its own equity research talent, the firm has been offering six month 'fellowships' to medical doctors and PhDs in technology, science, medical and healthcare subjects who might want to move into equity research.

After grooming new researchers in London and New York, GS will need to hope that they don't join Exane too. The French firm also has a reputation for allowing its analysts to write the kind of deep thematic research that appeals to most people working in the industry.  

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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