ISI’s Najarian Ends 21-Year Research Career to Marry, Golf

Ed Najarian said he’s leaving International Strategy & Investment Group Inc. and ending a 21-year career analyzing banks to get married and play more golf.

“I always intended to take an extended break during the middle of my life, and now I’m finally going to do that,” Najarian wrote in an e-mail addressed to “friends and colleagues.” “Next year, when I turn 50, I’ll be happily focused on lowering my handicap, not grinding on banks.”

Before joining ISI in 2009, Najarian spent nine years at Merrill Lynch & Co., now owned by Bank of America Corp., and worked at Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS AG and First Union Securities Inc., now part of Wells Fargo & Co., according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records. In the note, he thanked colleagues, clients and bank executives.

“Without your insights, successes and occasional missteps there would be nothing to analyze,” Najarian wrote.

Najarian departs less than a year after Guy Moszkowski, another veteran banking analyst, left Merrill Lynch to join Autonomous Research LLP, a firm that follows U.S. and European financial companies.

Najarian said he’ll consider becoming a money manager after taking a break from the industry to marry Erika Penala, a bank analyst at Merrill Lynch, and spend more time with his kids.

“My son goes to college in 2016,” he wrote. “Maybe I’ll restart then.”

‘I’m Available’

Najarian said in a phone interview that his handicap was once as low as seven before his golf game deteriorated in recent years. In his e-mail, he added that he’s ready to start playing later this week.

“If anyone needs a fourth for Thursday morning at Shinny, Winged Foot, or The Country Club, I’m available,” he wrote, referring to renowned Northeast U.S. golf courses.

Najarian recommended buying shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., and Wells Fargo, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He had neutral ratings on Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., BB&T Corp. and U.S. Bancorp, and a cautious recommendation on SunTrust Banks Inc.

ISI founder Ed Hyman and President Vinayak Singh “have been working diligently to find my replacement,” Najarian wrote.

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