• 04 Jan

Why a speech from Barack Obama is worth $400,000

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Analysts at Frontline are mentored by city veterans, who add front-end knowledge and on-shore experience to their output. This raises our research quality by several notches. Our senior equity research adviser Daniel Davies writes in the FT on banking culture, explaining why firms pay excessively to invite ex-politicians to events. What are these guys getting for their money, though? I understand why so many people threw so much money at the Clintons for “speeches.” They thought Hillary was going to be the next president, and they wanted to buy influence while she was in a position to peddle it. But …

  • 04 Jan

Where are your Analysts?

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

As my friends of a certain age will understand, I often lose things. Do I lose things more than I did when I was a youth?  I’m not sure. But anyway, the solution is always the same – you need to know where things are. That’s not as easy as it used to be. Take for example “off-shore shore analysts.” Where are they? They are not sitting next to you, that is for sure. So, if you are in an office in New York, and you deal with an analyst in your firm’s London office, is that analyst off-shore?  No …

  • 04 Jan

What makes Frontline unique

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

I was recently asked this in a meeting with a senior team from a global bank. It’s a great question and to answer it I had to go right back to beginning when I founded Frontline Analysts in 2005. Quite simply, its because I believe that with the right training, smart grads anywhere can be grown into proper City analysts. You don’t need to be sitting in the most expensive real estate in the world or being trained on the job by peers who should be focused on making profit.  You could be in Birmingham, Baltimore, Bangalore and get the same quality …

  • 04 Jan

What it takes to be an elite Indian MBA

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The Indian Institutes of Management (“IIMs”) are the premier management education institutes in India. The IIM building program was initiated by India’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, so that India could have a cadre of global-level managers. The prospects of landing a job in an MNC, significantly higher salaries than post-graduates in other fields and an option to switch career track is what drives students to pursue an MBA from an IIM. Getting into an IIM is no cakewalk. Out of roughly 200,000 (yes, two hundred thousand) candidates who took the entry exams in 2014, the test for getting admission in …

  • 04 Jan

Training cross asset analysts

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

As we start expanding our service range to cover equity, derivatives and risk as well as credit research, we have needed to expand our training and development programs to dvelop the skills of our analysts. Within the next couple of weeks we will be launching equity research coverage of some financial and technology stocks, written by two of our credit analysts; we’ve also produced a Thematic Alert to clients on all the investment opportunities turned up by the recent upheaval in the European banking sector. So for the last few months, I’ve been learning a lot about how you train …

  • 04 Jan

Trade press carries leaked report on MiFID II – what this might mean

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The Financial Times and trade press are carrying a story about a leaked draft of the MiFID II research rules. We have not seen a copy of the leaked documents yet, but from media reports, it looks like the state of play is this: The compromise position appears to have a role for CSAs “under strict conditions”. In our view, this is likely to be the “enhanced CSA” option, under which the payment for research is fully divorced from trading turnover. In our view, the only significant difference between such a CSA and a Research Payment Account is the VAT …

  • 04 Jan

The FT on creating City jobs in lower-cost locations

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

The Financial Times wrote this week about a powerful new trend – locating jobs where they can be done most efficiently. Cost pressures are not new; nor are multiple locations. The new trend is that the distinctions between onshore and offshore are breaking down. The FT uses both Jacksonville (technically “near-shore”) and Warsaw (technically “offshore”) as examples of the same phenomenon – creating jobs in lower cost locations. https://next.ft.com/content/e1ece4fa-17ac-11e6-bb7d-ee563a5a1cc1   Global capital markets can only be strengthened by being efficient. In an industry which embodies efficient allocation of capital, there is no room for inefficient producers.   Once a bank becomes open-minded …

  • 04 Jan

Succession planning when out-sourcing analysts?!

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Analysts with experience in the markets are valuable to you. Some experienced analysts will be recruited externally, but you would hope that most of your experienced analysts will have been developed internally, from the graduate program onwards. Indeed, in due course some of these experienced analysts will become your executives. The cost advantages of growing your own are not nearly as important as having experienced analysts who understand your culture and organization. That understanding makes for better investments and trades. So where are you left if you work with out-sourced analysts? How are you going to capture that growth? Even …

  • 04 Jan

Should off-site locations use cutting-edge work practices?

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Cutting edge-work practices are non-standard ways of working which tend to increase productivity in higher value added roles. They include valets to make your staff’s lives easier, life coaching or mini sabbaticals for going wondering in the Himalayas.I read a story in a newspaper when I was little about a British military special forces unit, the SAS. A member of the unit recounted his first breakfast after joining. Up until then he had been in a normal unit, and breakfast rations were doled out according to formula – two sausages, one egg etc. On his first morning in the SAS, …

  • 04 Jan

Real research vs number crunching – the analyst’s view

Darren Sharma Thursday, January 4th, 2018

As a credit analyst in India, there are a number of research firms touting themselves to you as offering global work. I chose Frontline because it offered me the chance to do real research and not just number crunching, while giving me the training I needed to do it. In my mind, the most important aspect of a workplace’s value addition to an employee is the practical skills & expertise one picks up. This has traditionally been limited to classroom based training programs, especially in mass-market outsourcing firms (I used to work in one), where a good 30-40 people are …