New York—BNY Convergex Jaywalk laid off their institutional sales desk earlier this week, according to several sources. Seven sales professionals were affected by the move. The layoffs are aimed at consolidating sales resources across BNY Convergex units. Jaywalk sales will be primarily handled by Westminster Research.
Institutional sales has been a priority for Jaywalk over the last two years, partly as a return to the original concept behind Jaywalk. Jaywalk founders Christian Ward and Sean McMahon envisioned Jaywalk as an institutional research platform. The business morphed as a result of the Global Research Settlement to become more retail oriented, reflecting the requirement in the settlement to distribute third party research to retail clients. Jaywalk was successful with the settlement, being chosen by seven of the twelve independent consultants. With the end of the settlement looming in July 2009, Jaywalk decided to return to its roots.
BNY Convergex announced the hire of William Burke, former head of equity sales trading at Robertson Stephens, in February of this year. Prior to Burke’s arrival, Jaywalk had been staffing up its institutional sales, with the goal of selling the 150 research firms available on its platform to institutional investors. Part of the strategy included the launch of Jaywalk 360, an institutionally oriented version of its platform. Burke left a few months ago, and the decision to shut down Jaywalk’s institutional sales effort was announced to staff earlier this week.
The plan appears to be to leverage existing sales capabilities within BNY Convergex. If so, this is a logical move since Westminster Research has natural points of contact with clients and prospects for Jaywalk. BNY Convergex remains committed to independent research, but is looking to make its sales efforts more efficient and effective.