SMALL FIRMS, BIG AMBITIONS: The research boutique business model entices top-notch talent from bulge-bracket firms.
Published Dec 2011 by II Magazine: Working at a smaller firm with a primary focus on research appeals to many top analysts … [and] Jeff deGraaf can relate to that. [He] launched his own New York-based firm, Renaissance Macro Research, in March. “In the big shops the reality is that the banking business and the trading business drive the direction of the firm and research is always considered a cost center,” says deGraaf, who captures the crown in Technical Analysis for a seventh straight year and has appeared on the All-America Research Team 11 times since 2001.”We think it’s important for our business to be run by research and research people, because that’s what we do and what we focus on.”
The 43-year-old likes the fact that the boutique approach allows him to provide an all-macro, all-the-time message. His firm holds a half-hour meeting every morning on macro-only issues, whereas “at the big banks you’re given a three-minute slot, maybe five minutes, Monday morning. That’s how you get your message out to the world, in the five-minute slot on a Monday morning.”
DeGraaf is thinking broadly too. In October RenMac announced that it is partnering with Scowcroft Group, an international business advisory firm managed by former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, and eventually plans to add an economist and a Hong Kong – or London-based global strategist. The Scowcroft collaboration reunites deGraaf with his former ISI colleague, Thomas Gallagher, who will provide political insights for the firm’s macroeconomic research; Gallagher led teams that ranked 18 times in Washington Research, with nine appearances in the No. 1 spot.