SALOMON SMITH BARNEY, the United States' investment bank, has poached a team of top City banking analysts from one of its rivals, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson (DKB).
Salomon is preparing to announce today that DKB's United Kingdom banks team, which is headed by Simon Samuels, will join its existing banking analysts.
The DKB team, which also includes Nick Lord and Stuart Young, is one of the most highly-regarded group of analysts in the Square Mile.
Mr Samuels' team topped the 1998 Reuters Survey of Larger Companies, and it also came third in the Extel Survey of Investment Analysts, the City's most respected poll of analysts.
In addition, Jeremy Sigee will join Salomon from DKB's European banks team, the American bank will also be annoucing today.
These departures leave DKB severely weakened in one of the most important sectors in Europe.
Albert Richards, who is Salomon Smith Barney's head of European research, said: "With roughly $1.3bn in market capitalisation, banking is the largest sector in Europe.
"The addition of Simon and his team further reinforces one of the best UK and Pan-European bank research teams, and it underscores Salomon Smith Barney's commitment to becoming a leading equities player in Europe".
The new arrivals will trigger a shake-up in Salomon's existing United Kingdom banks team. The American investment bank will announce that John Leonard, who is currently covering the UK and Europe, will become its full-time European analyst. Matthew Czepliewicz and Inigo Lecubarri, the other two UK analysts, are both expected to retain their places.
Mr Samuels joined Dresdner Kleinwort Benson in 1996 after a two-year spell working with Merrill Lynch, and an earlier career in fund management with Prudential Portfolio Management.
Mr Lord joined DKB in 1994, while Mr Young joined the bank in January last year after working with the broker, Charterhouse Tilney, as a banking analyst.
City experts said yesterday that DKB is expected to hit back, and it would be in the acquisition market for other banks' analysts.
Top analysts teams include the Merril Lynch banking group, led by Richard Coleman, which came out on top in the Extel Survey; and HSBC Securities' analysts, led by Michael Lever, which came second.
BTALex, Brown's team, led by Mark Eady, was fourth behind DKB in this year's poll.
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