Jefferies Secures Brian Johnson from Rival Broker CLSA

Johnson is the 27th employee to be poached from CLSA in recent months.

Financial services firm Jefferies has tapped Brian Johnson, a well-known banking analyst in Australia, from CLSA – a rival broker, as the company continues to ramp up its operations in Australia.

Johnson’s move, which was reported by local media in Australia as well as Reuters, adds to the more than two dozen other employees that have left the Hong Kong-headquartered broker after being poached.

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According to The Australian, 27 people have left CLSA, including professionals from the broker’s equities, research, sales, and trading teams, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Reuters.

CLSA is the offshore platform of Chinese investment bank CITIC Securities Co Ltd. According to media reports, the high staff turnover in Australia, which includes top executives at the firm, is the result of differences over strategy with its state-backed Chinese parent.

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CLSA Loses CEO and Chairman

As Finance Magnates reported, Jonathan Slone departed the Asia-focused broker amid differences over strategy. He was replaced by Rick Gould in April as the group’s chief executive, who previously held the role of CEO of CLSA Americas.

CLSA Chairman Tang Zhenyi also resigned in early March amid CITIC’s efforts to revamp CLSA’s daily operations.

In 2017, CLSA closed a sizable portion of its business, including the research function in the US. Instead, the company has pushed aggressively into investment banking as earnings of its Chinese parent fell off a cliff for two years because trading turnover has shrunk sharply since the boom seen in 2015. Trading volumes both in Hong Kong and the mainland have since continued at low levels.

When contacted by Reuters, Johnson declined to comment as did CLSA. A spokesman for Jefferies located outside of Australia did not immediately return requests for comment, the news outlet said.

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