Johnson and Wood lead CLSA march to Jefferies


Chris Wright
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The exodus of staff from CLSA is gathering pace.

Following the departure of the CEO and chairman from CLSA in recent months, now a China research team has gone to Credit Suisse and as many as 27 staff to Jefferies.


Chris Wood

Among them is Brian Johnson, the scourge of Australian banks for many years now. A plain speaker even by Australian standards, Johnson had been CLSA’s star analyst in Australia for 11 years, and was highly rated at JPMorgan before that.

Another is Chris Wood, author of the much-loved weekly report Greed & Fear, which he launched in 1996. Jefferies has appointed Wood as global head of equity strategy. Greed & Fear is already under way again as a Jefferies report.

It will be interesting to see how the two, and many others, fit in at Jefferies. Both are known as people who tell it like it is even if it upsets the applecart to do so, something that CLSA, from its very earliest days, has always prided itself upon. Will Johnson and Wood’s new home let them do the same?

As for Citic Securities, CLSA’s owner, it is rapidly losing much of the intellectual capacity and brand it paid $1.3 billion for in 2013.

Update: as Euromoney went to press, Jefferies went one further and hired CLSA’s former CEO, Jonathan Slone. Considering some people thought the CLSA brokerage model somewhat dated, it’s interesting that Jefferies now appears to be trying to recreate it so exactly. Will they take the furniture from Pacific Place next?