By Rick Rothacker
(Reuters) - Autonomous Research LLP has hired a high-profile Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst to lead the London-based independent research firm's expansion into the United States.
Guy Moszkowski, who covered U.S. universal and capital markets banks for the second-largest U.S. bank, will serve as chief executive of Autonomous Research USA, the firm announced on Monday.
Autonomous, which covers banking and insurance companies, also said it hired Brian Foran, an analyst with Nomura Securities <8604.T>, as head of regional banks research. Autonomous Research USA will be based in New York and start operations in late 2012.
The hiring unites Moszkowski with Autonomous Chief Executive Stuart Graham, a former top-ranked European banks analyst with Merrill Lynch. Autonomous opened in 2009 and now has 31 employees and covers 75 companies.
The hires are the latest example of a smaller boutique firm luring away employees from Wall Street giants. The firm offers top analysts a focus on 100 large clients, a partnership model without outside investors and the opportunity to build something new, Graham said.
"It's a combination of clarity of our model, plus that entrepreneurial aspect that you simply can't get at a big bulge- bracket firm," he said.
The firm expects to launch with about 16 employees in the United States but could grow to 30 to 40, he said. Autonomous does not offer investment banking or do proprietary trading, avoiding potential conflicts of interest that have dogged Wall Street firms over the years.
Moszkowski, who has also worked at Citigroup Inc
Foran has been a runner-up for the past three years in the category of midcap banks, while working for Goldman Sachs
(Reporting By Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina; editing by John Wallace and M.D. Golan)